Publisher: Blue Feather Books
Cybil Reynard is a mercenary who can be hired for just about any job if the sum is right. Her latest assignment is to track down two agents of the Valori race and retrieve information they have stolen from Midas Pharmaceuticals. The Valori are humanoids that many already distrust, so Cybil has no hesitation about killing the agents if that is necessary; however, she begins to have doubts when she encounters Leara Sorani and her bodyguard Kitani. They defy practically everything Cybil has been told about the Valori and their mission turns out to be noble. Midas is developing a vaccine that will eliminate all races except those originating on Earth. Instead of being enemies, Cybil, Leara and Kitani find themselves in an uneasy alliance to save the universe, an alliance where neither side really trusts each other. Things don’t get any easier when they find themselves involved with Cipher, a type of intergalactic peace keeping group of fearsome warriors, and its mysterious leader Enigma.
This is an outstanding first novel for Jennifer McCormick. The story is very reminiscent of what appears on television or in the movies, but she handles the genre of science fiction with great ability creating races, planets and technology that seem realistic. The characters are appealing and lead the reader to care about what happens to them, even when they don’t behave very well. The one true villain comes with a wicked twist to the story that is totally unexpected. It keeps the story fresh when it might have become routine. The only “weakness” is in the Valoir. McCormick mentions several times that they don’t have an assigned gender. It’s a race that can be male or female and they alter the roles during their lifetimes. The characters she presents come on strongly as “female” though. A few more “male” traits needed to be included to sell the description. The story moves at a good pace though and provides enough drama to keep the interest high.
The Midas Conspiracy begs for a sequel. It isn’t necessary for the story, but the reader will probably want to find out what happens to Cybil and Leara. Even readers who don’t normally enjoy science fiction will probably find this book very enjoyable. It’s worth giving a try.