For a while there I thought I was going to be another month late, and then it all suddenly came together and stopped torturing me. Among other unexpected rescues, several secondary characters stepped up heroically, and filled in some background that added a lot to the story. (Well, don't take my word for it - go and get a copy.)
The Cortii are mercenaries, for hire to anyone who can afford their services. Every government uses them; no single government can destroy them.
A newly discovered world. An opportunity for the Cortiian rebels. And a mission for Wildcat Cortia...
The Federated Planets Alliance scouts have discovered a new human civilisation; a civilisation not suited to their usual contact protocol. They want a Cortiian to test the waters, and the rebel faction has a very specific commander in mind for the mission – Ilan of Wildcat.
To Ilan, the orders are a convenient pretext. To an ancient feudal culture about to join an intergalactic civilisation, the leaping wildcat and a rider all in black are symbols long foretold - heralding cataclysmic change.
This book was interesting to write because it involved a complete contrast of cultures; on the one hand, the pre-spaceflight culture of a newly-discovered planet, complete with feudal cities, untouched wilderness, and a mystifying lack of extra-sensory abilities in the general population, (drum roll, please) and on the other Wildcat Cortia, immured in their commander's absence on Corina space station, honing their piloting and space combat abilities and indulging in typical Cortiian politics to fend off the boredom of said intensive training.
Yes, Cortiians as a species have a low boredom threshold. It makes them fun to hang out with.
Due to some very helpful feedback from my beta team, it also gave me the chance to colour in more of both sides of the story. This really was the book where, in my anxiety not to send the readership to sleep, my original draft had left out some details that were actually necessary to the story - and this was where some of those secondary characters really got to shine.
I hope you enjoy it; I'm about to disappear back into my author cave and start work on the next in series ... Elemental Conflict.
Knives, spaceships and dirty fighting - who says a mercenary cult can't be fun?