Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Rise and Fall of Empires by @egmanetti


by EG Manetti

The history of the world is marked by the rise and fall of empires, the climb to enlightenment followed by a crash into anarchy. Leading me to the question, what if that cycle continues forever? Like the phoenix, human society emerges from the ashes, flourishes, flies, and then implodes in a burst of fire?  What would the rise look like in a future millennium in a galaxy, far, far away?  These questions gave birth to the Twelve Systems Chronicles. 




Set in the society that emerged from the ashes of three centuries of warfare, The Twelve Systems revere honor, physical courage, and commercial success.  There are few taboos around sex and a great many around love. Race, gender, sexual orientation are matters of indifference, while genetics and social class define individual futures, and a handful of the super wealthy control the known the galaxy.  Because, at its core, the series is an epic romance, the heroine is imperiled, and the hero is wealthy, powerful, and dangerous.  Because I love world-building, intrigue, and flouting convention, Lilian is not as vulnerable as she first appears, the Twelve Systems are soon to be rocked by galaxy altering events, and Lucius may discover he is not quite the master-of-the universe he thought he was. Or maybe he is. 

In’Dtale has described the Twelve Systems Chronicles as ‘some of the very best in Science Fiction action and romance . . . Wow! This series just keeps getting better and better!  Ms. Manetti develops each character and plot line with such exquisite nuance that the journey of discovery is a delight to enjoy. . .  few are more deftly written or more excitingly addictive.  The worlds are intricate and realistic; the characters are both heroic and flawed. The star that shines brightest, however, is Lillian.’   For more the chronicles, check out the February 2018 feature article. http://magazine.indtale.com/magazine/2018/february/#?page=30 




I did not set out to author an epic series, but Lilian, Lucius, and the inhabitants of the Twelve Systems had other ideas. I planned the narrative to be single POV, Lilian’s.   Lucius was not having it, so now it’s multiple POVs.  I know how the adventure ends, and there will be a happily-ever-after because for all the world-building, intrigue, perils, battles, and challenges, it is a romance. 

All five volumes are available in e-book on multiple platforms, and the first volume, The Cartel, is perma-free.  Print versions are available through Amazon. Find links to your favorite bookseller here: http://egmanetti.com/the-twelve-systems-chronicles/.

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Her midsection tight with anxiety, Lilian scans the chamber for its occupant. Lilian registers a massive black enamel desk with an impressive techno array and a large scarlet leather chair. Her gaze finds the long scarlet leather couch facing a wall-sized reviewer, and the remainder of the sumptuous furnishings fades into the ether. Honor knows not fear. Honor endures. Honor . . .

A hidden door recesses, and a man walks through. His arresting aquiline features have a dark olive cast, his powerful form that moves with the confident grace of someone well familiar with the training facilities. His tunic shirt clings to a well-defined torso, jacket missing. Lucius Mercio is a tall man. Somehow, Lilian had not realized he would be so tall. Tall for a woman even in her low heels, she fits under his chin. Without shoes, she will barely reach his shoulders.

His Preeminence’s dark, deep-set eyes travel over Lilian, measuring and assessing. Honor acts as duty commands.

“You are Lilian.” The statement is made in coolly clipped tones as the long frame folds into a chair by the chrome and crystal conference table. He leans back with elbows resting on the chair arms, the long fingers steepled. Legs spread.

“Yes, milord.The ancient courtesy comes to Lilian’s lips more easily than she’d expected.
There is silence as milord examines her from beneath hooded lids. The strong features are impassive, intimidating.

It is too disturbing to look at his face. Look over his head at the Five Warriors print on the far wall.
Lilian has lost her cartouche, her father, her honor, and her status as a warrior. She is all but destitute. 

She is not guilty of Remus Gariten’s crimes, only of carrying the foul criminal’s blood. It is an offense she can redeem with a three-year Trial by Ordeal. She will not regain all she has lost. Lilian will never again be a warrior. She will retain her life and the right of every inhabitant of the Twelve 
Systems to forge advancement in commerce through skill, determination, hard work, and ruthlessness.

“I will expect you at eighth bell each morning to report status and receive instruction.” The terse words and quiet tones express milord’s will, the expectation of complete obedience.

“Yes, milord.”

“All that occurs in this chamber is sealed to my security-privilege.” Lucius Mercio will have naught of his affairs revealed without his express consent.

“Yes, milord.” He has yet to touch her. In Lilian’s peripheral vision, the scarlet couch looms large.

“All that remains of your family are your mother and sister living here in the city.” It is a statement, although a question is implied.

The abrupt change in topic unbalances Lilian. It causes her to catch her breath and drop her eyes to her interrogator’s face. Her concern with the couch dissipates under the weight of greater concern.

“Yes, milord.” Did he notice the brief delay in her response? Focus on the Five Warriors.

“Have you doubt of your father’s guilt? Hold you any fanciful notion of cleansing the Gariten name and regaining warrior status?” The words are harsh.

Stunned by the question and its implications, Lilian again drops her gaze to milord, wondering if she has handed herself over to the deranged. What a ludicrous notion. Do not voice that. Milord’s gaze is unwavering, commanding. He requires something. What? An acknowledgment. Piracy, fraud, decadents dealing, illegal servitude, and lotteries—the list of crimes that sentenced Gariten to the Final Draught and Lilian to three years of indentured servitude is long, ugly, and undeniable. “There is no doubt, milord. Remus Gariten was guilty of every transgression of which he was convicted.”

And a great deal more.

“Come here, Lilian.” At the quiet command, Lilian’s heart lurches.

Here? Where here? Walk toward the seated man. Where to stop? In the end, Lilian is unable to force a step past the invisible plane defined by the edge of milord’s knees. Milord reaches out with one hand to grip her waist and tug her closer until her knees press against the edge of the chair, his legs on either side of her thighs. He will instruct you.

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