The Alien Corps

Book One of the gripping Prosperine Series sees Hickory Lace and her crew of special investigators in the Alien Corps sent to the newly discovered planet Prosperine to help untangle the threads of an ancient prophecy that speaks to the current day.

Hickory becomes immersed in the dangerous politics of a medieval world where predatory beasts and strange creatures abound. To add to her situation, the planet is set to explode into civil war — one that could seriously impact Earth's supply of a rare ore being mined on the planet that is essential for faster-than-light travel.

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"From characters to plots, subplots, and fantasy world-building, Mr McDermott leaves the reader with a real sense of reality. This talent, coupled with his breadth of historical facts, science, and technology all come into play in building the universe in which heroine Hickory Lace (what a cool name) and the entire supporting cast must live, work--survive or die."

- LAS Book Reviews -

A story about A GIRL

Hickory Lace is the 21-year-old heroine of the Prosperine Series. As a result of a mutation in the lymphatic system of her brain, she has developed powerful empathic skills. She can see into the minds of others, hear their thoughts, and sometimes influence their behavior. Although this gives her an advantage over her opponent, it can also be a curse making her vulnerable to malignant interrogation.

Inside The Alien Corps

  • The characters

  • in the beginning

  • Mission to prosperine

  • prosperine

The Characters

  • Hickory Lace is twenty-one, unmarried, and a lecturer at the Saint Philip Research Academy in Rome, planet Earth. Born of an Italian mother and Irish-American father, she has inherited some of the traits of both cultures: feisty, straight-talking, and passionate.
  • Jess Parker is a 38-year-old widow with two grown children. She met Hickory while studying at University and the two have become firm friends ever since. Jess is also an experimental jet pilot and is qualified to fly just about anything!
  • Gareth Blanquet is a twenty-year-old maxima cum laude graduate who joined the Alien Corps to continue his research into space propulsion systems. He is an expert in the latest Lightwave “surfing” technology. Gareth is a rookie when it comes to girls. He has a mild crush on Hickory, which she tolerates but doesn't encourage.

Hickory Lace

Jess Parker

Gareth Blanquette

Hi, I'm PJ McDermott.

It's great to see you!

Yep. That's me there on the left or above, or on the right - depending on what machine you are using! I'm on location in Far North Queensland, where I wrote the fourth novel in the Prosperine Series - Fractured Prophecy. These days, I live in Torquay, Victoria, close to the main surf beach with my wife, Sue, and I have two daughters, and three incredibly bright grandchildren.

I grew up in a completely different environment in Bonnie Scotland (It was a LOT colder) reveling in the genius of Asimov, Herbert, and Niven and I am amazed that others are reading my books!

I'm working on the fifth part of Prosperine now and hope to publish it later this year, so keep a lookout!

Welcome to my website. I hope you enjoy it. I put it together especially for fans of Hickory, Jess, and Gareth - the Alien Corps. Feel free to drop me a line, and I'll respond as quickly as I can.

Click the button below if you are interested in knowing more about me.

Chapter 01

Sneak - Peek

Scroll through this sneak peek preview of the first book in the Prosperine Series, The Alien Corps to see if it hooks you like it has so many other readers. At the end, you can unlock the second chapter for FREE - No email needed!

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Aquarius IV 2176

Hickory leaned on one knee to examine the signs left by the snatchers. She could sense residual traces of their passing thanks to her empathic skills, but the visible clues told Hickory the snatchers still held a two-hour lead.

She resumed the chase, cursing her stupidity for deactivating her comms during the breakup with Jacob. The last thing she’d wanted was to air her dirty laundry in public. But, by the time she’d reconnected to the network, the religious fanatics had already made their move.

Hickory’s heart leaped at the thought of failure. She and Jacob were finished, but their brief liaison might yet result in a permanent scar. She glanced at her ex-lover, running parallel and about twenty meters distant from her, and gritted her teeth. Two-timing jerk.

Perspiration trickled down Hickory’s face, and tiny flies swarmed in front of her eyes whenever she paused to take a breath. Their teeth were needle-sharp, and the mites carried a host of exotic diseases endemic to Aquarius IV. Frantically, she batted at them, but they persisted, nipping at her exposed skin. She’d been jabbed with a vaccine for every disease known to man before she arrived. But that didn’t prevent the insects from leaving a tiny itchy swelling with every bite.

The space pilot Jess Parker loped over to her. “Any sign of them?” she asked, her eyes flicking across the terrain ahead.

“They’ve hardly moved in the last half hour—could be they’ve stopped for the night. About ten miles north of us.” She panted as she spoke. Too much Tequila.

Hickory had spent a wild month with Jacob crawling the bars and taverns of the planet’s spaceport. Besotted though she was with the liquor and the man, she hadn’t entirely lost sight of her responsibilities in the investigation of the alien mystic, Crxtor Aliaq. She’d deduced at their first meeting that he wasn’t the one they were looking for. Aliaq was a miracle worker all right, but of the sorcerer kind—party tricks and stage magic—no spiritual side to him at all, just fakery.

Another failure for the Alien Corps to add to their growing list. Is there any point in continuing the search? Hickory swore under her breath, but the facts couldn’t be disputed. Philip’s manuscript had been certified as genuine by every new release of PORO* over the last twenty years. PORO was a bio-computer able to link the minds of brilliant intellectuals to its artificial intelligence. Over the years, PORO had solved many seemingly impossible problems, which led to discoveries such as the universal cure for disease, the “immortality” pill, and the secret to interstellar travel.

PORO had concluded that “Philip’s manuscript” was written by a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth. Analysis of the manuscript provided new insights into the biblical events presaging the end of days. The document contained a prophecy from Jesus that the “Lord of Light” would gather a vast armada from worlds throughout the universe to join in the final battle against the forces of evil on Earth. The inference here was that alien beings were as much children of God as Earthlings. This polarized world opinion.

Controversy raged as to the authenticity of the manuscript. Some established and new religions, including the popular but xenophobic People’s Crusade, took a belligerent stand. They declared the manuscript a forgery, a magic trick staged by the Vatican to bolster the waning influence of the Catholic Church. When the Vatican finally released the scroll for public scrutiny, the fuse to World War Three was lit.**

 Another slant on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse thought Hickory. Even scarier because it was written at a time when the existence of extraterrestrial beings couldn’t possibly have been imagined.

The Vatican formed the Alien Corps to search for signs of the prophecy on inhabited planets. It argued that finding a “Lord of Light” could provide them with direct access to the creator. This seemed the only hope of preventing the end of all existence. Hickory marveled at the vision and the arrogance of the cardinals who could conceive of such a thing.

Over the years, the Corps had discovered many would-be messiahs, but all had proven to be false. Crxtor Aliaq of Aquarius IV was the latest.

Jess broke into Hickory’s thoughts. “Let’s hope the snatchers stay there for a while. If we don’t catch up with them soon, my legs are going to fall off. I don’t suppose it’ll matter because there won’t be much left of me by the time these midges get done.”

Jess complained, but Hickory could sense no less effort from her, and she wasn’t surprised. She’d known Jess since they’d studied together at Rome University, and they’d been friends ever since. Hickory managed a grin despite her mood and forced her legs to move faster.

Two hours later, their mission abruptly ended. They found Crxtor Aliaq stripped naked, his arms and legs staked to the ground, and his eyes milky-white in death. Jacob knelt to examine the body and shook his head at Hickory. “How are we going to explain this? We’re looking at the end of our careers right here.”

Hickory bent over, hands on knees, and retched.

* Proto-sentient Objective Reasoning Organism

 **As told in Born of Fire, Prelude to the Prosperine Series.

unlock the second chapter for free!

The main character Hickory Lace is a dynamic character with real issues, and faults she is not a ‘super woman’. Her relationship with her father and her deep conflictions about her job was a continuous underlying thread and helped shaped her motivations throughout the story. All of the characters had their own agenda’s, wounds and motivations. I wanted to hear their story.


The Alien Corps is a fascinating and thought-provoking story that mixes adventure, and exotic locations and is filled with believable characters that I wanted to know more about. After reading the first part of the trilogy I am looking forward to more adventure when the second part is released.
This is an exciting and riveting science fiction adventure.

sonyboy 39 (UK)

I feel this is one of the best reads I've had in a long while. I am looking forward to the next in the series. Excellent characters and a great plot.

Kindle 2 (USA)

Delightfully well-written, totally intriguing tale. A thoroughly absorbing story of an encounter with a technologically less advanced race, whom I found extremely fascinating. Alien humanoids of avian descent, who wouldn't be intrigued?
The characters are very well developed, some charming, some downright nasty, but all enjoyable to meet.

mandy walkden brown (aus)

The Alien Corps

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