Ghosts of Innocence
In Ghosts of Innocence, Ian S. Bott brings us aboard Imperial starhopper Chantry Bay, inbound to the Imperial seat of government, moments before its unscheduled, flaming entry into planetary atmosphere draws all eyes away from the covert insertion through the defenses of Shayla Carver, an assassin aimed at the best-protected target of all: Emperor Julian Flavio Skamensis. Sent off-course with a damaged suit, Shayla has an unenviable slog through jungle, under the watchful eyes of a security force on full alert, to reach her rendezvous with the local Insurrection and hit the fast-closing time-window that offers her only hope of infiltrating the Emperor’s heavily fortressed compound.
Ghosts of Innocence opens with a deadly starship crash, and the heavy menace of Imperial security hemming the storyline on all sides. The world-building is detailed and intricate, with fascinating threads drawn from many cultures to draw you in. The tension is a constant through the book, expertly evoked by small touches in every scene, and spiked by Shayla’s flashbacks and gut-wrenching nightmares. Ian S. Bott has done a great job of creating a character who is impossible not to relate to, and whose self-doubt will strike resonances in everyone. Shayla makes a strong protagonist, and even if her streak of luck seems incredible at times, you’ll forget it at the next page and the next challenge.