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The Blighted Stars
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Library Journal Review
The Mercator family is a universal business empire, not only controlling much of humanity's exploration and settling, but collecting vital resources for their own enrichment. Heir apparent Tarquin Mercator is not a businessman: he would rather focus on books and geology than financial domination. However, the habitable planets are collapsing, and Tarquin is tasked with overseeing the settlement of the next cradle world. Many feel that the Mercators and other powerful corporate families are at fault, and revolution is simmering below the surface. Naira Sharp has intimate knowledge of the Mercators, and she plans to take out the settlement ship before it destroys humanity's next hope. But a series of events leads to the ship survivors being stranded on the planet's surface, and what Tarquin and Naira discover will not only shake their own understandings of the truth but lead them to a plot that is devastating. Emotional arcs and action sequences, vivid worldbuilding, and interesting explorations of body printing and corporate servitude provide an immersive story. VERDICT O'Keefe's (Catalyst Gate) latest has the intrigue, surprises, and high stakes of her previous novels.--Kristi Chadwick
Booklist Review
The author of the Protectorate and Scorched Continent trilogies launches a new series with this exciting and thought-provoking sf novel. In the distant future, humanity is becoming increasingly desperate to find new worlds to settle. Unfortunately, worlds that would be ideal for human settlement are being systematically rendered uninhabitable. Naira, a woman who has devoted her life to the preservation of humanity, thinks she knows why this is happening: the powerful Mercator family, under the guise of space exploration, is using the natural resources on other worlds for its own purposes, destroying those worlds in the process. When Naira finds herself stranded on one of these dead worlds, along with a scion of the Mercator clan, she is forced to forge an uneasy peace. But she does not expect to discover a secret so monstrous that it threatens to unbalance the universe itself. The story's environmental themes are handled very well (O'Keefe gives the reader much to think about without sounding didactic); the characters are lively; and the writing is full of energy. A very promising series launch.

Stranded on a dead planet with her mortal enemy, a spy must survive and uncover a conspiracy in the first book of an epic space opera trilogy by an award‑winning author.

She's a revolutionary . Humanity is running out of options. Habitable planets are being destroyed as quickly as they're found and Naira Sharp thinks she knows the reason why. The all-powerful Mercator family has been controlling the exploration of the universe for decades, and exploiting any materials they find along the way under the guise of helping humanity's expansion. But Naira knows the truth, and she plans to bring the whole family down from the inside.

He's the heir to the dynasty. Tarquin Mercator never wanted to run a galaxy-spanning business empire. He just wanted to study rocks and read books. But Tarquin's father has tasked him with monitoring the settlement of a new planet, and he doesn't really have a choice in the matter.

Disguised as Tarquin's new bodyguard, Naira plans to destroy the settlement ship before they make land. But neither of them expects to end up stranded on a dead planet. To survive and keep her secret, Naira will have to join forces with the man she's sworn to hate. And together they will uncover a plot that's bigger than both of them.

For more from Megan E. O'Keefe, check out:

The Protectorate
Velocity Weapon
Chaos Vector
Catalyst Gate

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