Prodigal Sun

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Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller suddenly found herself hip-deep in strange events – even stranger than usual… and skinheads too – did she mention the skinheads?

Something had stirred in the darkness on the remote, usually idyllic Terran colony of Deanna – something Nazi… And it only seemed to be getting worse!

Nobody could say when it started, or how, but something had changed. Without being noticed, hate had come to Deanna and made a nest there… and a terrible plot was about to hatch!

The quirky residents of the third-rate colony faced a challenge unlike any they had seen before. Was there still time to stop it? Only Time would tell if they were up for it.

“Engela’s eye for the quirky humor of even the darkest situations sets her writing apart from the masses. Her fiction combines oddball humor, in the tradition of writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, with the best of traditional science fiction.” – Sarah Rutledge Fischer, Focus Mid-South Magazine

“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.

Prodigal Sun” is the fifth title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela.


  • Published: Mar 29, 2019
  • Words: 52,650.
  • 174 pages (6×9 format paperback)


[Spoiler Alert]

Prodigal Sun” is the fifth title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela – a writer described as “that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.” (Mark Woods, author of ‘Time of Tides’ and ‘Fear of the Dark‘). Her writing in the sci-fi genre has been described as “one of the most unique and captivating styles I’ve encountered in science fiction.” (Alex S. Johnson, author of The Doom Hippies.)

Of her characterizations, Sarah Rutledge Fischer of Focus Mid-South Magazine said “Like many of us, Engela has been frustrated with the representation of LGBT characters in mainstream fiction, where gay characters are often nothing more than superficially portrayed plot devices or worse, the object of satire and ridicule. Engela’s work breaks the trend. In her stories, a gay man may be the anti-hero or villain, but not because he is gay. A transwoman may fall in love with a cisgender straight man, and their relationship doesn’t revolve around her gender identity. LGBT characters, in Engela’s work, follow narrative arcs that occasionally intersect with their sexual or gender identity, but are more often driven by the human characteristics shared by all people—hope, fear, ambition, humor, and love.

Set after the fourth book (“Loderunner”), “Prodigal Sun” continues the saga of the ‘third rate’ Terran colony on the planet Deanna, and the diverse characters the reader has no doubt by now become familiar with. Old familiar faces rub elbows with brand new characters in “Prodigal Sun“, some heroes, and some villains. Readers will remember the crotchety old military veterans of the Skegg’s Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, and of course, Fred the Arborian.


Although the author has demonstrated her adeptness at writing dark tales infused with humor (“Dead Man’s Hammer”) previously, she takes this ability up a few notches with “Prodigal Sun”. In this story, which is set in the distant future where human rights (and in some cases inhuman rights) has become so secure and safe under the rule of the benevolent Terran government, that they are very much taken for granted, something unusual starts to happen. It goes unnoticed at first, a steady increase in vandalism, assaults, arson and acts we today would associate with the term ‘hate crime’. Directed against minorities… the non-human aliens, immigrants, LGBT folks, diverse religions and cultures, awful things start to happen.

Readers will recall Danielle Grauffis, the younger sister of Jenny who lives on the ranch outside Atro City, who early on in this tale mistakenly attends a mysterious rally at the varsity campus that takes a bad turn for Nazi. After several unusual assaults occur on the same night in the same area, with victims all reporting having attended the same event on campus grounds – which the Atro City University Chancellor denies any knowledge of – suspicions become aroused in local law enforcement, which up until then had been completely immersed in arrangements for an imminent royal visit now only days away.

Suddenly it becomes apparent to Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller (now the Chief S.O.D on Deanna, who is “really an okay sorta gal” according to the Mayor of Atro City – and up to her eyeballs in strange crimes and daily committee meetings) that something frightening is afoot, and it seemed to be getting worse very quickly! And – where did all those skinheads come from suddenly?

Things progress in “Prodigal Sun” at a steady and at times, blistering pace. A new set of characters is introduced, living in an underworld, a sub-culture existing within the broader human culture of Deanna – but at the same time invisible to the uninformed eye. The reader is introduced to Marla de Bris and the vampire underground, and Tracey Ferris, a bounty hunter who becomes stranded on Deanna when her only transportation is destroyed by a rival with a yen for calling himself a vampire hunter!

Brandon Carver comes to Deanna with an ulterior motive – to join a clandestine quasi-political group which has plans to disrupt all communications between the colony and the rest of the Terran Empire, as well as the imminent grand parade at the launch of the royal visit and create an independent republic!

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The intentions of the Deannan Service League are far from noble however, and suddenly the small backwater planet where almost nothing high profile ever happens, finds itself at the center of a fascist populist revolution! The situation is about to turn into a bloodbath for the various minority social groups on Deanna – including several vulnerable characters marked as ‘undesirable’ by the new regime… But wait – someone else is watching all of this unfold!

While the purpose isn’t as grandiose as saving the universe this time, the principle is the same – just on a smaller scale! In “Prodigal Sun“, Engela builds on her unique and amusing concept of time-travel, because while Time Agent extraordinaire Johnathan Scrooby cannot interfere – he most certainly can ‘help’ a little! Who should he enlist to aid him in a little time insurrection of his own, but long-standing friend Gary Beck a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller and his sweetheart and former C.I.A. agent Cindy-Mei Winter, who are both vacationing with her family on Mars at the time.

The already familiar regular characters in the Quantum Series continue their adventures in this latest book!

The History of “Prodigal Sun”

Prodigal Sun” is book 5 in the series, and the first 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 “Prodigal Sun” 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!



“Fun, quirky and most probably the strongest of the Quantum series!

Christina Engela has a unique way of telling a story that has lots going on without making it seem confusing or cluttered. Having read all of the previous books in her ‘Quantum’ series this one carves a unique but powerful path that faces many issues without any fear.

Characters who have established themselves in this colorful and fun universe are taken somewhat by surprise much like the reader as a political supremacist group looks to overthrow the current regime on Deanna. In fact everything about the ‘Deannan Service league’ reeks of revolt but some revolutions aren’t for the greater good – a strong and relevant political message that many can relate to today.

We see Danielle Grauffis; a student and transgender character who becomes directly caught up in the political overthrowing and subsequent storm. You cannot help but sympathize for her story which is one that is just of a person looking to be included and positive inclusion is a huge theme in this book much like all of Engela’s works they directly and sometimes indirectly set an example that champions everyone and anyone including the minorities.

As the story unfolded it became more and more gripping as events turn for the worse. Sheriff Peggy Ann-Muller may well be in over her head even if she does express exactly what is going on through a powerful quote ‘Anyone else want to be on the wrong side of history?’ Powerful is probably the one word which sums up the plot of ‘Prodigal Sun’ but as usual there is way much more happening. I have only just realized ‘Atro City’ is in fact meant to be pronounced as ‘Atrocity’ which is just one of the many fun quirks you’ll find in this great read! Left very much open and on a cliff hanger, I shall be diving right into the next story!

5 Stars – Great read, review left via Goodreads over the holidays but now I am back to review more indie books! You can expect a review of the next book in the Quantum series soon!

Happy new year readers!” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, January 02, 2020.

Reader Comments:

A Brilliant Read

“I thought “Prodigal Sun” was a brilliant read. The story is tasteful and humorous in a style that reminds me of Pratchett. Christina Engela sets the scene for ‘Prodigal Sun’ on the quirky little planet called Deanna under it’s mad little moons Ding and Dong, bringing back all the characters I’ve grown to love from her previous books in the Quantum series.

The first installment of this gripping story unfolds, telling the emotive and sometimes disturbing tale of events as they unfold in Atro City. She captures the darkness of hatred and fear as she details the dangers of encroaching fascism, the daunting struggles facing her characters, and the true horror found in the segregation of various minorities at the hands of purists. She deals with these topics sensitively and intelligently, with certain familiar characters being on-hand to balance the darkness out with injections of wit and humor – and to administer required doses of karma and justice!

As this first part of the story ends, the stage is set for an epic battle on a grand scale – and as the first person to read “Prodigal Sun“, I was left begging for more!

I can’t wait to see how my favorite characters overcome the odds in the next installment!” – Wendy Keran Gloss

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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 or use the Contact form.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.


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