Author Karl K. Gallagher, a frequent Prometheus Awards nominee and Best Novel finalist, is keeping busy and catching up with an ambitious writing schedule – including a new novel just published: Captain Trader Helmsman Spy.
This is the fourth novel in the Fall of the Censor series for the Texas-based writer, currently a 2022 Best Novel finalist for two different novels (the second and third) in that series.
Captain Trader Helmsman Spy, published May 9, 2022 by Kelt Haven Press, focuses on an exploratory mission to gather more information about the authoritarian Censorate in the ongoing series about a complex interstellar conflict between two long-separated but newly connected sets of human-colonized solar systems – one relatively free and peaceful, blending diverse cultures through mutual trade, and the other near-totalitarian in its murderous control of many planets and Orwellian cancellation of history and culture.
Although it has a very different narrative focus than the two previous books in the series, Captain Trader Helmsman Spy follows the ongoing war and related events of Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear, respectively Book 2 and Book 3 of the series.
Gallagher launched his epic series with Storm Between the Stars, a 2021 Prometheus Best Novel finalist.
Here’s a description of the first volume, which sets the stage for the subsequent novels:
“Storm Between the Stars explores a vast interstellar polity’s use of narrative control and memory-holing to cement power.
Merchants in a ship from an isolated group of solar systems discover a new hyperspatial route to regain long-lost contact with the rest of humanity. They must deal with a centralized human empire founded on a fictitious history while establishing trade relations with businesses that operate through family ties and underground barter.
Gallagher offers a timely cautionary tale about official truth, censorship, and the denial of history, while exploring strategies for economic survival and the pursuit of knowledge under a repressive government.”
While Books 2 and 3 of the series focus on and largely introduce a large set of new central characters, Captain Trader Helmsman Spy returns to the central characters of Storm Between the Stars: starship captain Niko Landry and his crew, who found an interstellar empire far more dangerous than they could have imagined when the barrier separating their Fieran homeworld from the rest of the human race reopens after centuries.
In Book 4, Gallagher said, Landry and his crew risk their lives to go undercover on a starship mission to penetrate and infiltrate Censorate space with hopes of learing more about the authoritarian culture that has become an adversary and serious threat to his free and independent colonized worlds.
Here is Gallagher’s teaser description of the new novel, now available on Amazon:
“Niko Landry needs to infiltrate the Censorate to find a weakness before it launches its next assault. The Censor bans maps of hyperspace, forcing freighters to find their way by word of mouth.
“Landry knows Fiera needs better data than that to fight off the Censorate. He’s going to take his ship and crew into enemy space in an undercover mission as simple traders to explore what’s really there. Any mistake could leave them bankrupt . . . or executed.”
By the way, if you find the title of his latest novel somewhat familiar or evocative, Gallagher confirms that’s not an accident. He borrowed the template for his title from British-Irish author John le Carre’, the spy-thriller writer who wrote Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a best-selling 1974 Cold War spy novel.
Gallagher’s ongoing fiction-writing was delayed somewhat this year when a routine colonoscopy in January revealed a malignant tumor, one completely removed by surgery three days later.
“Consider me a poster child for getting tests your doctor recommends,” he said in a recent email.
Happily, Gallagher reports that he’s fully recovered – confirmed by follow-up tests – and is back writing more fiction.
His ambitious outline for his Fall of the Censor series projects a grand total of nine novels, to be completed over the next several years.
Taking breaks from editing and proofing Book 4 and from his day job, Gallagher has recently resumed writing Book 5, now titled Swim Among the People.
Gallagher’s love of science-fiction and fantasy, appreciation for space exploration and familiarity with the military is closely related to his career. After earning engineering degrees from MIT and USC, he designed weather satellites for TRW, controlled weather satellites for the Air Force, designed a rocket-ship for a start-up and done systems engineering for a fighter plane. He is husband to Laura and father to Maggie, James and “dearly missed” Alanna.
For more information about Gallagher’s published and upcoming works, visit Kelt Haven Press at www.kelthavenpress.com
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