As of this writing, Trickster is on sale at Audible.com for only $1.99. I don't know how long that'll last, so go quick! (I think you have to be signed in to an Audible.com or Amazon.com account to see the special price.) If you haven't read any of the other Silent Empire books, that's okay--I wrote each book to stand alone, and Trickster makes a good entry point.
The Dream has been shattered, and the majority of Silent who telepathically communicated through it have been cast out by the event known as the Despair, unable to reenter. Now the remaining Silent still capable of linking to the Dream have become a valuable commodity to those in power seeing to keep the lines of galactic communication open.
In the midst of the Despair, Father Kendi Weaver and the crew of the Poltergeist have a limited window of opportunity to find the loved ones they have lost--including Kendi's parents and siblings, who were sold into slavery more than fifteen years ago.
But just as Kendi closes in on the whereabouts of his brother and sister, they are taken by a mysterious group intent on using them for their own secret agenda.
I love tricksters and con artists. My favorite movie is A Fish Called Wanda--best jewel heist movie ever! Ocean's Eleven is right up there, too. The person I admire most in history is Harriet Tubman, the cleverest, bravest person who ever lived.
All throughout the Silent Empire series, the Children of Irfan use con games and tricks in order to free Silent slaves from bondage. This shows up quite a bit in Dreamer and a little in Nightmare, though I hadn't been able to dedicate an entire novel to it. When Roc told me they wanted two more Silent Empire books, I knew it was my chance to pull out all the stops and write a full-blown con game. A science fiction con game. With Kendi and Harenn's family on the line.
The hardest part was figuring out how to do it. A lot of the technology I'd created in earlier books made a con game difficult. How could Kendi get past a lot of high-tech wizardry to free his family from slavery? And then I realized the stakes were higher than that. This book wasn't just about freeing two people--it was about destroying this damaged and damaging cult and freeing those people as well.
But how . . . ?
I tackled the problem like I always do--I took the dog for a walk. A really, REALLY long walk. But the exercise and change of scene jarred something loose, and I saw how it would work. I realized that the best way to steal something is to convince the current owner that he doesn't want it anymore. From there, everything fell into place.
Trickster also has the distinction of being my Master's thesis. I earned my Master's degree in creative writing at Seton Hill University, and for it, I had to write a novel-length manuscript. This book was the one. I actually got into a small argument with the university library. They required, of course, that I give them two copies of the manuscript for their collection. I handed them two copies of the novel, figuring that would suffice. The librarian was unhappy--thesis manuscripts were supposed to be printed on 8.5 x 11" paper, ready for library binding. In the end, I convinced them that an actual published novel was worthy of the creative writing collection, and they took it.
Trickster is still available from Book View Cafe and from Amazon. Now it's in recorded book format from Audible.com (with PJ Ochlan's wonderful narration). As I said, right now it's only $1.99, so this is the time to grab it!
The books Audible.com has recorded include two novels I wrote as Steven Piziks (my real name) and the four Silent Empire novels I wrote as Steven Harper. The books are:
In the Company of Mind (by Steven Piziks)
Corporate Mentality (by Steven Piziks)
Dreamer (by Steven Harper)
Nightmare (by Steven Harper)
Trickster (by Steven Harper)
Offspring (by Steven Harper)