This is Nick Caesar’s second excursion into the literary world with Princess Shlilah and the crew of the Gold Rush. This book very much picks up where his first novel Zephir ended.
Princess Shlilah finds herself back on the Earth, a very different Earth from the one she remembers before being kidnapped by the Zephirians many, many years before. What she does not realize is that she has become a trophy in a war that was waged many light years from Earth between the Zephirians and the Caprikats.
These two war loving civilizations have, at least temporarily, reached an uneasy peace, one that is unlikely to be long lasting. Although the Zephirians came out on top, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Caprikats have given their consent for the Caprikats to claim Princess Shlilah as a trophy. More specifically she is to become the bride of King Kudah’s son Emil. Princess Shlilah is thought by many to be the most beautiful woman in the universe. The ideal person to sire another generation of Caprikat rulers.
Not knowing what kind of resistance the Earth can muster against his forces King Kudah dispatches a small group tasked with capturing the princess. Although the Princess is well protected by Captain Kicef and his crew, the Caprikats do have the edge of surprise. At least that is what they hope.
Technologically advanced and superior in strength and speed to humans the task should be relatively simple and fast, locate and abduct the princess. The Caprikats also have the advantage of being able to cloak themselves, invisibility is a fine weapon. Unfortunately they do have an Achilles heel. While away from Caprikat the cells in their bodies are unable to regenerate naturally. they require an external source, and that comes in the form of killing humans. This is hardly the way to go about a stealthy operation.
The princess having spent many years on Zephir has developed senses that no human has, and she is quick to notice the presence of the Caprikats. Captain Kicef is unwilling to go to the government, and has a deep distrust of the Earth authorities, heÂ decides to take on the task of finding the Capricats with his small band of followers.
Of priority is to locate the Caprikat space ship, however even that is elusive, there seems to be no fixed base, and the ship itself may either have a cloaking device or some other method of disguising its true identity. It is a game of cat and mouse. Bringing his technological might to the table the search is on.
To share more of the plot would spoil the story. Princess Shlilah moves faster than the speed of light.
Nick Caesar has been writing since age 15, and clearly has found his niche in the realm of Science Fiction. As a reviewer one of the qualities that I look for in a book is the authors voice. I use that term loosely and in a non traditional fashion, not first or third person. But the overall tone of writing. Nick has that classic young adult Sci-Fi voice. The vocabulary for the most part is kept at a relatively simple level and unlike many Sci-Fi writers his ‘invented’ words are actually pronounceable. Although this book is a continuation of Zephir, Nick has written it in such a way that it does stand on its own, and while the reader might better understand the background by having read the first book I would not say that it is a requirement, and it certainly would not cause a problem in understandability.
It will be interesting to see how Nick Caesar matures as a writer, and also how he further develops his core characters. It is interesting to compare Zephir to Princess Shlilah, although they are clearly written by the same hand, they are quite different in key concepts. Zephir was about greed, whereas Princess Shlilah is focused on honor in its various forms. Honor comes in many forms, from the good guys, and also honor in the opposition.
I think Nick Caesar will go far as a writer, he has the formula for success. I also suspect that as he continues to write we are going to see an increasing depth to his characters and plots.