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The Prisoner of Valathia - Guest Blog

The Prisoner of Valathia takes place after their escape from Tamerlane’s hi-tech prison, and the defeat of Darius Drake's apocalyptic plans for the humanoid home-worlds, Titanya the Pirate Queen joins Sylvan Silla Low in becoming an agent of the Alliance. Now partners, the brash, beautiful pirate queen, and the cowardly, chain-smoking elf, take on their first official mission together…investigate the hijack of a prototype military stealth craft and its connection to the mysterious owner of a small mining operation. What begins as a simple undercover mission soon becomes something far more sinister as they find themselves caught up in one man’s obsession with ancient forces powerful enough to destroy them all.

There’s an added depth to this fourth instalment.

Although still light-hearted, action-based science fiction, the Prisoner of Valathia explores Sillow’s character in a way never done before. His personal demons, self-questioning, and also his existential angst provide major elements in the story. Previous instalments all portrayed this restless misfit from a clownish, external perspective. This novel looks at the tortured character behind it. Sillow is an orphan who realises he must learn about his own background if he is to ever fill the void inside him.

There is also a character development that wasn’t possible before. Love, duty and an obsessive desire for belonging all pull Sillow in different directions and it is up to him alone to navigate his way along this tortuous maturational path.


Tall, raven haired, with her femininely muscular frame squeezed into a red cocktail dress, Titanya turned every male head as she made her way through the swarm of elite guests. Many tried to think of ways they might meet this amazon and find out just who she was. Even the artificial ruby eye and the silver strip across the cheek just below merely added to her allure. These admirers, however, would have been more than a little surprised to learn the object of their interest was once a “pirate queen,” and the scourge of big corporation haulers everywhere. They would have been equally shocked to discover she was also a fearsome hand-to-hand fighter and one of the long gloves she wore covered a cybernetic arm powerful enough to punch through solid steel.

Few noticed her companion. Like most of the Sylvan race, Sillow was of smallish stature with elfin features making him appear somewhat childlike compared to other humanoid races. In contrast to Titanya’s easy grace, he looked awkward and faintly ridiculous wearing a tuxedo a couple of sizes too big for him.

There was a scowl on his light green features.

“This was really the best you could do?” he complained, rolling his jacket cuffs up as he hurried to keep up with the woman’s swaying strides.

Titanya smiled. “It was the smallest they had.”

Sillow’s emerald eyes swept the area. “This place makes me nervous.”

“Lots of things make you nervous,” the woman told him.

The Sylvan snatched up a couple of champagne glasses from a passing waiter and drank each one down before replacing them.

“Listen,” he protested, “these events are packed with high price assassins. It’s the perfect chance for the elite psychopaths who come to these events to settle scores with each other.”

“So, why do you care?” the woman asked.

“Why? Because sometimes things get out of hand and all hell breaks loose.”

Titanya stopped, hands on her shapely hips. “Really, that could happen, could it? High class parties can just end up as shooting galleries?”

Sillow nodded. “Yep.”

“Give me one example, date, and place.”

Sillow pulled at one of his pointed ears.

“You can’t, can you?” Titanya challenged.

“I heard stories.”

The woman gave a derisive snort. “Yeah, in a low-life bar or casino.”

“Well, actually, it was in the pleasure quarters on Salem Tae when—”

“I don’t want to know,” his companion stopped him. “Why are you even an agent anyway? I never met anyone as easily spooked as you.”

The Sylvan threw her an irritated look. “Hey, I don’t ask for these missions.”

“So why do they send you?”

“Because I’m the best pilot in known space, and I do sneaky well.” He gave a shrug. “What can I say? It’s a gift.” He snatched up another couple of drinks from a tray. This time he held one out to his companion. “Here, it helps the nerves.”

Titanya took the glass. “My nerves are fine, pipsqueak, but I do like champagne.”


James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in his free time enjoys writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.

His novels include the trilogy Dragon (Dragon, Dragon: Smuggler Tales, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane), The Last Synn, a sword-and-sorcery story, a SciFi novel, Sunfall, and a horror novel, Balec. All are available from Class Act Books.

Find out more about James Austin McCormick at:





Class Act Books

DRAGON: The Prisoner of Valathia is available at

Paperback edition available exclusively from

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