“excellent in every regard” – review of The Wages of Sin on Risingshadow

Cover: Alex StorerOn Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has recently reviewed The Wages of Sin by Zoë Sumra – the second book in her Underside series. Having enjoyed the first book Sailor to a Siren, Seregil was pleased that this book was “just as entertaining and epic”. In fact Seregil writes: “I’m glad to say that, in this novel, the author fulfills the promise that she showed in her debut novel and delivers a rewarding, satisfyingly complex and action-packed story that feels wonderfully fresh and exciting. I was positively surprised by it, because it exceeded all of my expectations.” Seregeil expands on this later: “Just like Sailor to a Siren, The Wages of Sin is a prime example of how to write compelling, fast-paced and gritty space opera for adult readers who want to be entertained by a good story. There aren’t any boring or stale moments in this novel, because the author makes sure that there’s always something going on to satisfy the needs of readers who enjoy action scenes.”

You can read the whole of Seregil’s review on Risingshadow here.

 

The Wages of Sin, the second book in Zoë Sumra’s Underside series, published today

Following on from the success of her debut novel, this latest instalment introduces an interplanetary murder mystery into the ‘space opera meets gangland thriller’ series

DARTFORD, KENT – 09 June 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of The Wages of Sin by exciting young science fiction author Zoë Sumra. Her impressive debut Sailor to a Siren was the first in the Underside series, which introduced science fiction fans to a credible universe of incredible depth and detail. Bringing an element of gangland thriller to the space opera genre was an inspired innovation, delivering some amazing characters as well as an exciting adventure. With The Wages of Sin, Zoë has brilliantly brought another thread into the mix with a murder mystery that starts off apparently very parochial but soon encompasses some of the most significant players in the galaxy.

Cover: Alex Storer
Cover: Alex Storer

The stunning cover was designed by artist Alex Storer.

In The Wages of Sin, one young woman dies and another vanishes on the same chilly spring night. Connor Cardwain sees no reason to link his cleaner Merissa’s murder to a mystery anchored within a high- end warship sales team, but reconsiders his position when he realises both women were connected to a foreign runaway.

Armed with an enterprising widow, an imperial spy and his own wits, Connor sets out to find the missing woman, in a city streaked with vice and a planet upturned by other ganglanders’ ambition. If he fails to beat arms dealers, aristocrats, pirates and human traffickers at their own game, he and all his team will pay the price – and the wages of sin are death.

We were introduced to Zoë’s universe, not to mention Connor Cardwain et al, in her acclaimed debut novel Sailor to a Siren, the first book in the Underside series:

“If you like your space opera fast and violent, [Sailor to a Siren] is for you” – Jaine Fenn

“[Sailor to a Siren is] a perfect example of how to write entertaining and fast-paced space opera for adults with compelling characters and gritty scenes … she is a talented author who has managed to pack a lot of story into a single novel and she has done it well. (More, please!)” – RisingShadow

“Zoë Sumra’s world-building is the best I have seen in a very very long time … an outstanding debut novel” – Marion L. Thorpe

The Wages of Sin is available from today on popular eBook platforms. It will be available in paperback from July 31st.

Notes for Editors

About Zoë Sumra

Zoë SumraZoë Sumra was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband, their daughter and a collection of swords. Zoë writes when she’s not fencing, looking after her daughter, or working as a print controller for an advertising company. Sailor to a Siren, her first novel, was published by Elsewhen Press in July 2015.

About Alex Storer

asavatarAlex Storer is a graphic designer, artist/illustrator and musician from Sheffield, UK. The advent of pixel art and the vibrant graphics of the Commodore Amiga in the early 1990s was a turning point for Alex, giving him his first taste of digital artwork, leading to a career in graphic design. However, a lifelong interest in science fiction came full circle in 2010 when Alex began producing his own brand of science fiction artwork. Taking influence from classic science fiction and the space art greats of the 1970s and 80s, his work pays homage to yesterday’s visions of tomorrow yet remains contemporary and distinctive in style. In 2012, Alex was invited to join the Initiative for Interstellar Studies as an honorary musician and artist. Alex first produced cover art for Elsewhen Press in 2015.

 

“Outstanding” – review of Sailor to a Siren on Marian L Thorpe’s Words and Birds blog

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On her blog Words & Birds, Marian L Thorpe (writer, birder, reviewer, artist) has just posted a review of Sailor to a Siren by Zoë Sumra.

Marian starts by describing Sailor to a Siren as “classic science fiction, belonging to the genre that gave us Dune and The Sardonyx Net”, then compliments Zoë by saying her “world-building is the best I have seen in a very very long time” while the characters are “fully-realized people”. She goes on to describe the complexity of the universe that the characters inhabit, yet the ease and subtlety with which Zoë conveys it. Punctuated, she says, “with descriptions of stunning precision and beauty”.

She adds “This is one of the rare books where I have no ‘niggle’ to report” and concludes by awarding 5 stars “five stars plus, if I could” for an “outstanding debut novel”. Thanks Marian.

You should read Marian’s full review on her blog here.

 

“addictive, fast-paced and highly entertaining” – review of Sailor to a Siren on Risingshadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Zoë Sumra’s debut novel Sailor to a Siren. He describes it as a novel “filled with entertaining action, intriguing characters and good worldbuilding” and adds that Zoë’s successful blending of space opera with elements that are often found in crime and thriller fiction is a “welcome and exciting addition” to the genre that sets it apart from other space opera and gives readers “an adrenaline rush through plot twists and surprises”. He goes on to say that there are a few science fiction novels in which the authors combine different genres but “this novel feels refreshingly different”.

Seregil is impressed by Zoë’s “skillful storytelling with an emphasis on fast-paced action and entertainment”, enjoying the way the story gradually unfolds. He says “To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve read anything as good and entertaining as this novel when it comes to fast-paced space opera novels”. He commends the depth of the characterisation, as fast-paced space operas tend to emphasis action over character development. Zoë’s main characters are compelling, he says; the Cardwain brothers are “strangely likeable” despite being criminals, and Éloise is fascinating.

He is also very complimentary about Zoë’s worldbuilding which is “excellent”, and goes on to say that he has “a feeling that the author has a lot more in store for her readers and she will continue to write more stories about the same universe, because this novel gives readers a tiny yet fascinating glimpse into the universe she has created. I look forward to reading more novels by her, because she is a talented author who has managed to pack a lot of story into a single novel and she has done it well. (More, please!)”

One of the best things, he says, is that Zoë “has created a satisfyingly complex story” that becomes “increasingly interesting” as it unfolds, adding that “it’s pure entertainment from start to finish”. The story moves forward fast “which is great” and the action scenes are “well written”. But, he says, “there’s much more to this novel than meets the eye”. Although, at first, it may seem to be merely an action-filled novel, it has a “lot of hidden depth” that is revealed through dialogue and how the characters react to events.

Seregil finishes by saying that Sailor to a Siren is “excellent entertainment”. He highly recommends it to fans of space opera and action filled sci-fi. In conclusion he writes: “It offers you action, complex situations and plenty of entertainment in a marvellous all-in-one package. It’s a perfect example of how to write entertaining and fast-paced space opera for adults with compelling characters and gritty scenes.”

You can (and should) read Seregil’s full review here.

 

Sailor to a Siren, highly anticipated space opera by Zoë Sumra, published today

With the dedication that comes from attention to detail, Zoë Sumra has developed a rich universe in which to set her stories. Now it is fully realised as the first of those stories is revealed in the enthralling thriller Sailor to a Siren.

DARTFORD, KENT – 17 July 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of the highly anticipated Sailor to a Siren by the exciting new science fiction author, Zoë Sumra. A space opera novel with significant nods to the gangland thriller genre, it is the first entrée into a universe created by Zoë that has a level of detail and depth far beyond that normally found in a debut novel. The work she has invested, in developing, finessing and peopling this very credible universe, is revealed with a refreshing lightness of touch in the first of what promises to be a highly popular series ranging across generations and throughout many sectors of space.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

When Connor and Logan Cardwain, a gangster’s lieutenants, steal a shipment of high-grade narcotics for their boss, Connor dreams of diverting the profits and setting up in business for himself. His plans encounter a hurdle in the form of Éloise Falavière, Logan’s former girlfriend, who has been hired by an interplanetary police force’s vice squad to stop the drugs shipment from being sent to her home planet. All of their plans are derailed, though, when they discover that the shipment was hiding a much deadlier secret – the prototype of a tiny superweapon powerful enough to destabilise galactic peace.

Soon, crime lords, corrupt officials and interstellar magicians are pursuing them, and Connor, Logan and Éloise realise they have to identify and confront the superweapon’s smuggler in order to survive. But, when one by one their friends begin to betray them, their self-imposed mission transforms from difficult to near-impossible.

Pete Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, said, “This great debut from Zoë Sumra establishes her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all make this a first step in what will be a fascinating and enthralling universe. These are stories that deserve to be told, from a story-teller who deserves to be heard.”

Sailor to a Siren is published today by Elsewhen Press in digital format on all popular eBook platforms and will be published in paperback in November.

Notes for Editors

About Zoë Sumra

Zoë SumraZoë was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband and a collection of swords. When she’s not writing or fencing, Zoë works as a print controller for an advertising company.

 

FIRST LOOK: Cover art for Sailor to a Siren

Sailor to a Siren is a great debut from Zoë Sumra and establishes her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all make this a first step in what is likely to be a fascinating and enthralling universe.

In advance of the release of the eBook, we can now reveal the cover art, created by artist Alison Buck to reflect the action of the story. The Pellites, an Avian race, hold a week-long festival every year that attracts humans and aliens alike, from a thousand light-year radius, to cavort on their planet; not even the underside lords – drug barons, slavers, pimps, racketeers, mob kings and queens – can resist. But the fireworks, music, street-food, beer-tents and ever-increasing piles of litter, can only partially mask the sounds and scents of the inevitable fights. The whine of hydrobike engines, the crack of gunshots, the thud of wingtip plasma bursters, and the smell of electrokinesis, are all indications of gangsters moving in on each other’s deals in the bars, alleys and warehouses. This is where we meet brothers Connor and Logan Cardwain as they steal a shipment of high-grade narcotics on the orders of their gangster boss…

 

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Sailor to a Siren will be published in July in eBook editions and in November in paperback.

 

Richly detailed, subtly revealed and fully realised new universe unveiled by debut novelist

Zoë Sumra devoted years to developing, finessing and peopling her enthralling yet thoroughly credible universe. Now she is bringing its first story to print by signing with independent SF publisher Elsewhen Press for the thriller Sailor to a Siren.

DARTFORD, KENT – 02 March 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce a deal signed with Zoë Sumra, to publish her first speculative fiction novel Sailor to a Siren, a space opera novel with significant nods to the gangland thriller genre. The book will be readers’ first entrée into a universe that is very different from the usual setting of mass-market science fiction.

When Connor and Logan Cardwain, a gangster’s lieutenants, steal a shipment of high-grade narcotics on the orders of their boss, Connor dreams of diverting the profits and setting up in business for himself. His plans encounter a hurdle in the form of Éloise Falavière, Logan’s former girlfriend, who has been hired by an interplanetary police force’s vice squad.

Logan wants a family; Éloise wants to stop the drugs shipment from being sent to her home planet; Connor wants to gain independence without angering his boss. All of their plans are derailed, though, when they discover that the shipment was hiding a much deadlier secret – the prototype of a tiny superweapon powerful enough to destabilise galactic peace.

Crime lords, corrupt officials and interstellar magicians are soon pursuing them, and Connor, Logan and Éloise realise they have to identify and confront the superweapon’s smuggler in order to survive. But when, one by one, their friends begin to betray them, their self-imposed mission transforms from being difficult to near-impossible.
Pete Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, said, “Sailor to a Siren is a great debut from Zoë and establishes her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all make this a first step in what is likely to be a fascinating and enthralling universe. This is a universe that has more in common with The Galactic Milieu, Firefly or Babylon 5 than with the likes of Star Trek or even Star Wars. These are stories that Zoë has been thinking about, preparing and crafting for many years; stories that deserve to be told, from a story-teller that deserves to be heard.”

Sailor to a Siren will be published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 in both a digital and paperback edition.

Notes for Editors

About Zoë Sumra

Zoë SumraZoë was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband and a collection of swords. When she’s not writing or fencing, Zoë works as a print controller for an advertising company.