Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Guardian Corps liberated the population of planet Kerguelen from a fifty-year reign of tyrannical oppression. In the years since, the corps has selflessly protected the rights of the people against enemies and helped the planet rise to the pinnacles of social and technological achievement. Disease and poverty were eliminated; the fight for natural resources was ended; and the diverse races and ideologies of the twenty-five provinces were governed by one political structure and united under one god. But as the population of Kerguelen prepares to celebrate its greatest scientific discovery, the unthinkable occurs: a Guardian is accused of treason and inciting sedition. Thrust into the duty of apprehending her fellow Guardian, Commander Prior discovers the truth behind the growing unrest. To save Kerguelen’s people, Prior must join a secret fraternal order in a battle against an ancient religious sect bent on controlling their world—a sect once thought to be extinct, but now apparently in full operation. Despite her reluctance, Prior knows the only way to prevent Kerguelen from falling into a dark age of despair is to defeat the Argent, the legendary entity conjured by the religious sect.
Midnight, Hanover Bay, Southwestern Province, Planet Kerguelen Commander Jordan panted heavily in the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity of the equatorial region. She wiped away the blood and perspiration that had built up on her face and snorted loudly. As she cleared the mixture of droplets trickling from cuts and scrapes on her cheeks, nostrils and corners of her mouth, she thought of how she had been bested in one-on-one combat. Jordan had never lost such a contest before and had never even contemplated losing one, and even if it did happen, she would not have believed that she would have been so thoroughly devastated. She had been seriously injured and outnumbered before in battle but had managed to overcome her adversaries and treacherous situations in stellar fashion. Her abilities and exploits were legendary in the Guardian Corps and well chronicled in the news media of every province on the planet of Kerguelen. Her adventures made Jordan a celebrity amongst the citizens and reporters and journalists had dubbed her ‘The Invincible Commander Jordan’, adding that with her prowess and skill she was without a doubt the greatest warrior of the past hundred years. Her successes as a Guardian officer made Jordan a mainstay in popular culture and her every move was followed by the paparazzi. The clothes she wore and the men she dated were the most important and vital entertainment news. Women of all ages from every province wanted to be like her. The cult-like phenomena stemmed from her flawless complexion, classic features and flowing golden hair. Young women and teens used the same makeup she did and copied her hairstyling. Called the ‘CJ’, it was the most requested makeover asked for at beauty salons around the planet. Whether her opponent was lucky or she had begun to believe her own press or he was just better than she was, the result was the same: The ambush he set for her had worked. She had fought valiantly but was quickly beaten into submission. Her opponent’s strength and speed was tremendous and none of the combat skills Jordan had developed and honed to a fine edge over the past eighteen years did anything to stem the tide of his murderous assault. She was now on her hands and knees facing the dark behemoth before her. Her limbs quivered as they struggled to keep her off of the soft ground beneath her. Unarmed, battered and defenseless she waited for the giant to apply the coup-de-grace. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid,’ Jordan thought to herself. ‘How could I have fallen for such an obvious trap?’ She raised her head and painfully looked at the giant that loomed menacingly over her through tearing eyes. “I don’t know what you’re up to or what your plans are, but you won’t get away with it. I am one of many,” Jordan hissed through swollen lips. She spat a small bit of blood in front of her and smiled at the sight of it as she continued. “Killing a Guardian is not taken lightly. The Corps will avenge my death and when they catch up with you, there won’t be a hole deep enough for you to hide in.” “Your faith in your comrades is noble, but unfounded,” the giant said in a deep bestial baritone. His voice seemed to reverberate through her. “And I welcome them to try and defeat me. The opportunity to kill more of them will be a pleasure. If you could be taken so easily by such a simple ruse, the rest of your Guardians will fall like a house of cards.” “Don’t be so sure. We’ve faced greater odds and more powerful foes and were still victorious. This will be no different,” Jordan replied defiantly as she strained her exhausted muscles to their limit and struggled to her feet. She gently brushed sweat and blood soaked locks away from her face adding, “We’ve done so for two and a half millennia. This is far from over.” “All things end, woman,” the giant said condescendingly and shook his head as he stepped towards her. “Your run is over. With their so-called greatest warrior defeated, the spirit of the Guardians will be broken.” He reached out with one of his powerful arms and grabbed Jordan by the throat, jerking her into the air. Her feet dangled above the ground and she kicked in futility as the sound of her windpipe being crushed filled the eerie silence of the night. The giant felt a rush of warmth flow over him as a flock of night birds flew skyward sensing death and the evil presence near them. The huge man continued to hold Jordan aloft after she stopped kicking and examined her closely for the first time. He brought her lifeless form up to his face and inhaled her scent. He let out a dissatisfied grunt and frowned. “You may be right, woman. This is not over. This will take longer than I expected,” he said aloud. “You are not the one I search for. You are but the first of many who will fall.” He effortlessly tossed her body aside as a child would discard a broken toy and stomped off into the darkness. By the time Jordan’s body had stopped rolling over the soft earth, the giant was gone.
Daryl Edwards is a retired marine engineer. He has visited sixty-eight countries and currently resides in Tacoma, Washington, in the shadow of Mount Rainier. When he’s not writing, Edwards enjoys scuba diving and fencing.
Fantasy or Sci Fi books are not ones that I normally would read. But when this book was recommended to me, I decided to take a chance. I am glad I took the time to read the book! I enjoyed the story and especially the strong female characters. If this book is any indication, the author appreciates a smart woman that can hold her own and that is very refreshing.