Angel Rising is a novella by Tasmanian writer Dirk Flinthart. The story is set in the shared world of New Ceres a now defunct (or it just in haitus) Australian Speculative Fiction project.
The World of New Ceres is a planet isolated from the rest of space faring humanity by virtue of laws that preserve it as a replica of eighteenth century earth. You will find examples of Enlightenment era Europe as well as, in this case Feudal Japan.
Certain modern technologies are banned, there is only one spaceport on the planet, entry and departure from New Ceres is strictly controlled.
Our protagonist George Gordon is a Proctor, a genetically enhanced human who forms part of the Lady Governors network of secret protectors. He and others are sent to weed out illegal off worlders and investigate those who threaten society and culture on New Ceres.
Gordon is sent to to the Sunrise Isles (New Ceres' Japan) to investigate a potential off world incursion. What follows is action and subterfuge aplenty involving samurai, ninja and nuns.
And it's not as corny as that last sentence sounds.
What I liked
Angel Rising, and the New Ceres setting reminds me of the feel of Firefly - though with more swashbuckling. Always a bonus in my opinion. Dirk Flinthart's writing is punchy, the action smoothly written and his characterization of George Gorden has left me wanting more stories with this protagonist.
What I didn't like
Not enough George Gordon. Please write more. I have had to hunt down all the other New Ceres works just to get my fill.
Where can I get it
Angel Rising can be purchased through Twelfth Planet Press as either a pBook or an eBook from Smashwords. There have been a few published works set in the New Ceres Universe
a webzine in pdf form called New Ceres (the first issue was free) available here - it made it to two issues. Angel Rising and the anthology New Ceres Nights which I have also purchased, are the most substantial works so far.
A word on Twelfth Planet Press
I have only recently stumbled on this lovely publishing company. It showcases some of Australia's best speculative fiction and I have not been disappointed by any of the works that I have purchased from them so far. I you enjoy good fiction, let alone, speculative fiction, check them out.
Angel Rising – Dirk Flinthart
Twelfth Planet Press, 2008
RRP: AU$10 pBook, $US3.99 eBook