Exile’s World is the latest addition to author Katz’ acclaimed sci-fi epic, The Chronicles of the Second Interstellar Empire of Mankind and, although it is book 6 in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. The novel begins with a dark and ominous scene: 10,000 men, women, and children abandoned on a cold planet with only scarce rations. A man, identity unknown, wonders if any of these poor people will survive until morning. The scene then shifts to present day. Brothers Rann and Gerald McGaran, heirs to the prosperous Garan Corporation, are on a collision course set in place by their late grandfather. Rann is about to come of age and, when he does, he must either fight his older brother for control of the corporation in a barbaric gladiator-type event or meekly give up his inheritance and fade away into the night. Complicating matters is the fact that the brothers live on Carnelian, a system aligned with the Empire for purposes of trade, but not yet part of it. The uniqueness of Carnelian is that the planet is inhabited by telepaths, a fact that both intrigues and frightens the Empire’s ruling class. Will Carnelian become a part of their vast enterprise or will the Empire decide to destroy the system and all of its inhabitants? That is the crux of the matter. Throw into the mix a war with the insect-like beings, the Klith, and you have a plot that is a science fiction fan’s dream.
Political machinations, romantic entanglements, and the struggle for survival are just some of the many threads woven throughout Exile’s World. Author Katz keeps the reader on his/her toes trying to unveil the meaning of each and how they intertwine with the plot. The novel is a fast-paced page-turner with a host of complex and interesting characters. Exile’s World is highly recommended by this reader for lovers of science fiction epic dramas. Great world-building!