by Matthew Hughes, with an introduction by Jay Lake
When professional duelist Conn Labro escapes indentured servitude as the star player of Horder’s Emporium, he abandons the gaming world of Thrais and sets out on an interstellar journey filled with murder, deceit, and self-discovery. His only friend on Thrais, discovered dead and tortured, left him enough money to buy himself out of his contract and a curious encrypted “bearer deed” to a mysterious property on the distant edge of the galactic Spray. With the seductive, secretive showgirl Jenore Mordene at his side and a villainous pleasure cult dogging his every move, Labro sets out to learn the truth behind his bearer deed and more about his own past than he had ever dared bargain for.
For the first time ever in paperback, this thrilling, vividly imagined new science fiction novel from rising star Matthew Hughes (The Commons, Majestrum, The Spiral Labyrinth) provides atmospheric adventure in the classic tradition while layering on complex, fascinating societies and future cultures with the deft touch of a master storyteller. Set in Hughes’s universe of the Archonate, in the “Penultimate Age of Man,” Template features unforgettable characters, lyrical language, and a stirring starscape glittering with the myriad worlds of the distant future.
“Matthew Hughes plays with worlds and cultures and concepts in a lushly textured way, creating a rococo universe full of clever conceits, maddening difficulties, rich satire and more, all in clean, elegant prose that catches the reader's interest and carries you smoothly through a story that's by turns intriguing, exciting, amusing and in the end, very satisfying.”
192-page softcover trade paperback
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