A Look Inside The Alien Corps

Chapter 03

Sneak - Peek (3)

Scroll through this third 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 decide whether to buy or not!

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Heirloom

Maria Lucerne looked up at her critically. “You are too thin, my little one. Come and play for me while I cook something interesting.”

Despite the appellation, Maria at five-foot-five was dwarfed by the much taller Hickory. Her olive complexion and dark hair provided a stark contrast to Hickory's pale face and burnished red tresses. But the two were great friends and had been a comfort to each other after the tragic death of Maria's daughter, Hickory's mother.

Hickory laughed as she made her way into the expansive lounge. “Don't make too much for me. I'm in training.”

Maria popped her head around the door, her eyes wide. “You're back in service?”

“That's what I wanted to talk to you about. Whether I should accept or not,” said Hickory.

“Play me something romantic, gattina. I will fix some puntarella, and we can talk over lunch.”

Hickory had been taught classical piano at an early age. It was still a favorite way for her to relax. She settled onto the stool, centered herself, and let her fingers fall lightly to stroke the first notes of Claire de Lune. When lunch was ready, they took their plates and glasses onto the balcony and sat at the small table. Hickory glimpsed the spire of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, peeking above the rooftops. It was hard to believe the fifth-century church had survived the war. So many historical buildings were gone.

“It's quite beautiful here. You're lucky to have this place, Nonna, and your pasta smells delicious.” She smiled and forked some fettuccine into her mouth.

“It sounds like you've had some luck too. Don't keep me in suspense, tell me all about it.”

Hickory outlined Cortherien's proposal. “But I don't know whether to accept. I'd have to work pretty closely with the Admiral.”

Maria looked over her sunglasses. “Surely, that's no reason to reject this opportunity. You are mature enough not to let a poor relationship stop you, and you never know, this might be a good chance for the two of you to—well, to get to know each other better.”

“I'm sure he's not interested in knowing me, Nonna. You understand more than most how self-centered he is. But you're right—I could work with him professionally. To be honest, it's just an excuse. I'm not sure I'm capable of working in the field anymore. After my last mission, Cortherien was adamant I didn't have what it takes. He only agreed to this because the Admiral insisted.” She put her fork down.

Maria tilted her head to one side and smiled affectionately at her granddaughter. “Gattina, you love the Corps. It's what you were born to do.” She patted Hickory on the knee and reached for the salad. “You have it in your blood to be an inspiring leader. Your great-grandmother, Talya, was one of the first heroines of the Corps. She was an incredibly brave woman. Would you like me to tell you about her?”

“Talya? I've heard that name somewhere.” She searched her memory, but it eluded her.

“When the war broke out on Earth, Talya fled to the planet Sumer. She met Francesco, one thing led to another, and they were married. He worked on the land, a farmer.” Maria paused, reflecting. “I can't remember very much about papà, except him bouncing me on his knee. He died of Spinaker disease when I was only four. After that, mamma worked the farm by herself, but I don’t remember her ever complaining.

“At night, we would roast potatoes on an open fire, and she would tell me of her life on Earth. She often talked about the priest who discovered the gospel of Philip. They were supposed to take the manuscript to Sumer for safekeeping, but the priest was killed by a mob of Crusaders before they could escape.”

Hickory's eyes widened. “Nonna! Why haven't you told me this before now?”

Lines appeared on Maria's forehead. “For some reason, I never thought to. Talya passed away before you were born, then after your mamma died, you went to live with your father's people. You’d never met Talya, and it's only in recent years you and I have come to know each other so well. My memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be.” Her shoulders slumped, then she rose from her seat. “Wait here, I have something for you.” She went into the apartment and returned a few moments later, carrying a small jewelry box. “This was a gift from Cardinal Rousseau to my mother when she retired from the Corps.” She opened the box and gently took out a pendant necklace.

The elegant chain supported a stylish golden crucifix, encrusted with tiny green emeralds. Hickory felt her skin tingle. “It’s beautiful.”

Maria arranged the chain around Hickory’s neck. “It’s yours,” she said.

“No, I can’t accept this. Talya gave it to you.” Maria smiled. “She gave it to me on my thirtieth birthday. You’re still only twenty-two, but I’d like you to have it now. Peter III of Russia presented it as a wedding gift to Catherine the Great. After her husband died, the Empress donated it to the Church. Perhaps it will bring you luck.”

Hickory nodded. Tears threatened to fill her eyes. She'd missed out on a lot since her mother died. “Tell me more about Talya,” she urged.

The story of Talya's journey to Sumer was new to her. It was a valuable piece of the jigsaw connecting the discovery of Philip's gospel in Turkey to its current home in the world museum in New Rome. She gazed at the remarkable heirloom, and her heart filled with pride. You don’t receive an award like this unless you’ve achieved something out of the ordinary.

Her grandmother continued, “After the war, when Earth started to recover, Rousseau asked Talya to help him re-build the Alien Corps. Two years later, the new Corps was born, and mamma became its first field officer.”

Hickory blinked away some moisture and looked at the pendant again. “She must have been quite a lady.”

“She was, gattina, and so are you.”

 Later that night, Hickory called Cortherien to accept the assignment.
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.

B D (USA)

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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The Alien Corps

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