A Throne for an Alien — The Beta Earth Chronicles: Book Four
The Blind Alien (Book 1) followed Malcolm Renbourn, a man from our world, unwittingly transferred to a parallel Earth and forced to adapt to new cultures and a new language while coming to grips with the loss of his sight. In The Blood of Balnakin (Book 2), Tribe Renbourn traveled to a new continent, where even stranger adventures awaited. The story continued in When War Returns (Book 3), where Renbourn and his wives clashed with a throne, a church, assassins, and scientist-spies.
Everything changes in A Throne for an Alien (Book 4). Once again, Tribe Renbourn is on the run, but this time they’re not alone. Fleeing the outbreak of war in the country of Alma, a fleet of ships follows them, as hundreds of exiles seek sanctuary.
Landing at the country of Hitalec, the Renbourns learn prophecy has foretold that this island will be their new home, but once again, a throne complicates everything. A dying Queen insists that Malcolm bond with one of her daughters to connect her people with the new settlers. After her death, a new Queen and her lover seek to make the Renbourns pawns in their militaristic power grabs that boil into an ultimate confrontation.
Can one Renbourn wife team with the head of the Collective to give Beta-Earth the cure to the ancient Plague-With-No-Name before their lives upturn in a final showdown?
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Joline: One day looking over the horizon-deck of our Barbara Blue, I thought of my lost sister, Bar. For one moment, I wondered what she might think if she looked down from the skies over Tribe Renbourn. From the quiet clouds feeding occasional gentle rains onto the foaming, rocking blue waters of the Philosea, she’d see one of the strangest, most magnificent sights in Betan history. As our fleet, our “rag-tag” fleet as Husband described it, sailed east across the Philosea, 60, 70, 90 ships would sometimes be a swelling entity all together, sometimes be streams of smaller fleets seemingly independent but parallel, and sometimes scattered armadas when boat-Captains decided to linger in ports or at island landings at their will.
That day, I thought, the view from where I stood on our ship was just as dramatic as any overhead eyes. After all, my vision was combined with the smells and feels of ocean winds and waters. Some days, we all saw and smelled smoke rising like gentle ladders to the clouds from ships of burning engines. Sometimes, we heard sky booms and saw vapor trails from fast-moving wingers racing above us, no doubt looking down to see what they could see. Many days, wide-sails with proud Alliance signs were filled with the winds and we looked through our glass scopes to see who was nearby.
Some decorated sails we knew well, many our friends from Biol, Oyne, and Persis. We smiled seeing their new flags bearing the Half-Moon sign Husband had made the emblem of the first peaceful resistance to a government gone mad. We waved at friendly sailors climbing up rigging or waving at us from watch-nests atop sturdy masts, especially the cargo-ship Alnenia’s father, Sikas Ricipa, had loaned our tribe to carry many of our support-hands. Other ships in the distance we saw rare. We knew their leaders only by Two-Way or EV-com contacts. We knew every ship in the fleet was filled with fearful refugees, many wondering if Alman submersibles would rise to the surface to demand some ships be turned around.
Others worried the powerful Alman Navy might make attempts to capture individuals the new Alman government might have reason to want. Men especially feared their homeland might insist on reclaiming them. But, in the main, the Alman Navy was conspicuous by its absence.
“Perhaps,” Alnenia mused, “they prefer to leave us at the mercy of the elements and possible raiders.”
Only as time passed did this unease seem to slowly vanish like the flocks of seabirds winging overhead. Of course, many of these ships were small and designed not for long voyages. Many such had been provisioned in quick time and lacked for food, water, and long-distance navigation equipment. Cargo ships had been hastily converted into passenger vessels. Sometimes we lingered to allow these stragglers to keep close to their protective neighbors. Some days, we all paused as if we were one body to allow ships heading other directions to cross or cut through our path.