High Steaks


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Troubled times had come to the small Terran Colony planet of Deanna – and having amusing names for its sun (Ramalama) and two moons (Ding and Dong) hadn’t made this quaint little world immune to bad things…

After the shock assassination of a visiting member of the imperial family, and with the three largest cities on Deanna overrun by fascist troops, the local government goes into hiding. With the media and interweb firmly under fascist control, perception and reality begin to take a turn for the surreal – and once the fascists have control of Deanna, the stage is set. War is on its way.

The quirky little colony of Deanna is about to be enveloped in a destructive civil war – replete with a supporting cast of heroes, villains, aliens, victims, perpetrators, volunteers, space battles, bovine torpedoes – and a little time travel on the side.

High Steaks” is the sixth title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela.

“Everything that makes up the good parts of these stories has been painstakingly crafted into this one. Its quick paced in moments with a sense of an ensemble cast all working together to fight for one another making it probably the most epic story in the series. 5 Stars Fun and powerful.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer.

“Engela’s latest work is packed with humour, challenging ideas, and science-fiction on a grand scale. It transports readers to a truly original world, filled with bizarre and memorable characters. It tackles social issues while reading like a Terry Pratchett, with some western and sci-fi elements to boot.” – Matthew ‘Sand-Storm’ Fick.

Details:

  • Published: April 03, 2019
  • Words: 61,923
  • Pages: 210 pages (6×9 format paperback)
  • Duration: (to be announced) min (eBook narrated by (to be announced))


Synopsis: [Spoiler Alert]

A revolution has broken out on the usually peaceful Terran colony, Deanna. It’s immediately after the shocking assassination of Prince Justin at the welcoming parade in central Atro City, and Danielle Grauffis, a young transwoman living in Atro City, is caught in a cordon of paramilitary troops which has closed of Lupini Square. The storm troops search for “deviants” and people belonging to groups which the DSL has classified as “threats”. Danielle watches from the inside as the fabric of Deannan society begins to unravel in the harsh light of the new terrible reality.

Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller finds herself trapped inside the Governor’s Palace on Lupini Square, with an assortment of people the fascists would very much like to get their hands on – including Governor Landry and the mayors of Atro City and San Fedora. When a member of the Governor’s security detail reveals himself to be a mole in the service of the revolutionaries by holding them at gun-point, it becomes crystal clear to Peg just how far the fascist conspiracy has infiltrated the small colony’s infrastructures.

Meanwhile, Johnathan Scrooby – a time agent with a conscience – moves two pieces on the board into place. Gary Beck (a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller) and his fiancée Cindy-Mei Winter – both already famous on Deanna in their own right – appear out of nowhere within the barricade to lead Peg and her companions safely out of harm’s way. Fortunately, Scrooby has loaned Gary and Mei some highly advanced time-shift equipment to go with the training given to them at the Time Saving Agency – which makes it all relatively painless and much easier. Knowing the future, and having had some time outside of time to work it all out, gives them a definite advantage.

As the fascist Deannan Service League and the Deannan Republican Army, their paramilitary wing, work to consolidate their hold on the sparsely populated planet, Danielle is captured. In the meantime, secret vampire, Marla De Bris searches for her friend Danielle Grauffis, but when Marla concludes she is likely caught by the D.R.A., Marla makes her way to the Vampire Underground to seek the counsel of Uncle Vernon. Instead, she is dragged into a meeting of the Vampire Council and handed an important mission – to find the Governor and to forge a temporary alliance between Deanna’s Vampire Community and the local Terran government. Accepting the assignment with trepidation, Marla decides to combine her mission with her search for her friend. Shortly after beginning her search, she links up with Fred the Arborian, and they decide the best place to start looking for Danielle would be on the Graffis family ranch outside of Atro City.

Meanwhile, Danielle is sent to a brand new secret concentration camp called “Xanadu”, which has been set up in the wilds between the three largest cities on Deanna – Atro City, San Fedora and Fortitude.

Xanadu

In the middle of a curfew and martial law imposed by the new rulers of Deanna, Timaset Skooch and his fiancée Dory mount an escape bid to get off Deanna. They brave the deserted and dangerous night time streets of Atro City under Martial Law and crawling with DRA patrols, to get to the spaceport – which has been closed down to prevent anyone from leaving the colony. Once they reach the spaceport – not entirely without incident, they find themselves rescued by an old acquaintance: Jonn Deire and the moribund crew of the loderunner Celeste! Once reunited, it’s like old times, and Tim is introduced to the upgrades and improvements that have been made to the quirky old ship!

The Celeste takes off from the spaceport – which is cut off from space by an energy shield deployed by the D.R.A – and leaves by the only weak point in this blockade: through the spaceport terminal building itself! Having successfully escaped, demolishing the terminal building in the process, the Celeste reaches orbit – only to be intercepted by Angel One, the D.R.A’s brand new flagship! By employing an unlikely strategy centering around the cargo of red-horned wildebeest the Celeste happened to be carrying, the Celeste manage to disable the fascist’s flagship and its two sister ships as well!

Celeste battle

Meanwhile, Tracey Ferris, a bounty hunter who became stranded on Deanna (“Prodigal Sun”) finds herself a stranger in a strange land with no friends and nowhere to go to – except possibly for Jenny Grauffis –  whom she finds she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about, in that way. She journeys to the Grauffis ranch, arriving more or less at the same time as Beck and Mei and their entourage on board an unusually menacing mode of transportation called ‘the Ambusulance‘!

Ambusulance

In the interim, Brandon Carver, the independent contractor (i.e. “merc”) who came to Deanna to be the trigger-man for the D.R.A. finds himself joining Special Operations Squad 13, led by Captain Yuriel Nurris, as a special consultant. Their mission? To exterminate or capture the vampires hiding in Atro City. This mission goes spectacularly wrong, and Carver finds himself at the tender mercies of the vampire elder Vernon Carridene in the underground levels beneath the city’s Blood Bank, and awaits his fate.

Beck the Badfeller and Mei meanwhile, acting on the plan worked out with Scrooby, have been quickening the pace of developments. After all, if these things still have to happen, why not make them happen faster? Mei and Gary bring all the recruits for Deanna’s new loyalist army to the Grauffis ranch – including the Skeggs Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, and a rather colorful and interesting old man called “Sarge”, who promises to make all the difference. Getting the loyalist army ready sooner will enable the rescue of thousands of people being held in Xanadu and bring this nasty business to an end faster.

Map

The Deannan militia is formed on the Grauffis ranch, supervised by the ousted Governor Landry and the recently un-retired General Smythe, who have drawn up plans to rescue the prisoners held at Xanadu before beginning a campaign against the fascists at San Fedora, Fortitude, and then Atro City. But first, Sarge needs to provide the militia with some much-needed refresher training. And there is one more volunteer who much to his own surprise, finds himself adding his name to the list of recruits… Marsh’k Kluss’ta a.k.a. Mark, the illegal alien sheltering in the Grauffis’ basement.

Knowing the future and what has to happen gives the good guys a distinct advantage – after all, what they need to do is just make sure it happens as it should – they just need to give it all an extra turn of speed! One way or another, the Deannan Uncivil War has to happen.

The History of “High Steaks”

High Steaks” is book 6 in the series, and the secd part of what I call the quadrilogy – a story in four parts. The quadrilogy (Books 5-8) centers around a sudden, hostile fascist hijacking and takeover of the Terran colony of Deanna, which ultimately erupts into a full-blown civil war! Naturally, the events before, during and after are inspired by many things, and I could go on listing them all day: the American Civil War, the rise of Nazism in Germany (1923-38), the pogroms, homophobic and LGBT purges, the Holocaust, Jim Crow laws and the American Civil Rights Movement, to name but a few. What’s even more troubling – especially to me as an author – is the state of current affairs (post Dec 2016) in the USA.
As you can probably tell, the quadrilogy delves deep into darkness, but at the same time, again, the central themes to my stories in Quantum are fairness, justice and equality for all. Rest assured dear readers, justice will be done, the su – er, Ramalama will shine again, and in a way that will be most satisfying.

I wrote and published the first version of “High Steaks” in 2017 on Lulu.

In 2019, I revised all the Quantum Series books and redesigned all the covers so they all looked like part of the same series – and unique from Galaxii! At any rate, I feel the current series of covers does the story justice!

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Reviews:

An epic ensemble of characters fighting for the importance of inclusion… 

“The Quantum Series carries a consistent theme throughout all six of it’s stories; that being inclusion no matter how different one is or where they come from. Whether you are human, alien, plant or anything else in between. No matter your beliefs, non beliefs, orientation or anything else that may set you aside and make you different. Christina Engela’s stories in this series champion that and it’s an important modern cause to stand for in literature. She manages to do and say that without being preachy and while also and importantly telling fun, action packed, sometimes quirky but always enjoyable stories. It’s also what is being fought for in this book.

High Steaks picks up pretty much where the previous encounter ‘Prodigal Sun’ left off. The planet of Deanna has been over run and taken over by some quite nasty forces. Their stance is the exact opposite of what Engela’s stories and their heroes stand for. And for this one these heroes are out in full force, names whom readers will find familiar. Their goal to undo what injustice has been done not just for the different but for everyone and the greater good. It’s an echo towards our own history and more importantly a tribute to the fight against separatism and nationalist socialists who only see the world one way.

Everything that makes up the good parts of these stories has been painstakingly crafted into this one. It’s quick paced in moments with a sense of an ensemble cast all working together to fight for one another making it probably the most epic story in the series. Quite late on I realized this wasn’t going to be the final book of the series, at first I felt a little disappointed but then elated that what will follow if there is a 7th which will be one hell of a culmination and I am more than interested in reading.

Overall I have very much enjoyed reading the books in this series. They are fun, quirky, imaginative and their biggest quality is that the style and the way they read is very much accessible to pretty much anyone. I highly recommend the Quantum series to everyone!

5 Stars – Fun and powerful. Thank you to the author for providing me with all books in this series! Review left via Goodreads and Amazon UK.

Have you read the Quantum Series? You should!” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, January 06, 2020.

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If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.

 

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