Baen, Dec 2 2014, $15.00
Book One: “City of Cries.” On Raylicon, Bhaajan was a “dust rat” barely surviving in the Undercity ghetto beneath Cries until as a teen she did the unthinkable and left to join the Skolian Empire’s military. After a stint as an officer with the Imperial Space Command Bhaajan, she became a private investigator; recently hired by the royal House of Majda rulers to search and rescue missing Prince Dayjarind Majda lost in the Undercity aqueducts.
Book Two: “Beneath The Vanished Sea.” Bhaajan’s efforts to bring the prince safely back to Cries leads her to learning of an illegal operation to sell weapons to the enemy Eubian Concord Space Command who killed two billion innocent without blinking. However, when the smuggled cargo vanished, Colonel Lavinda Majda gives Bhaajan three days to retrieve it or else the military will invade the Undercity.
Book Three: “The Phorine War.” Bhaajan learns from her friend Jak, owner of the Black Mark, that Commander Braze is selling arms to local gangs and giving away node-bliss known as phorine above ground to Undercity residents. The former major informs Lavinda of the illegal sales and that a gang war is imminent. She asks Colonel Majda to protect the innocent, but not intercede in the battle; while she also learns why the distribution of free Phorine.
These three Skolian Empire early historical science fictions are fascinating novellas as Catherine Asaro provides her fans with a discerning glimpse into the pride of those residing in a squalid slum out of sight (so out of mind) from the affluent mainstream. Although resolutions seem too easy, saga fans will relish these entertaining early twenty-third century AD thrillers that focus on Bhaajan’s rise to a position of influence.