Empire (Chronicles of the Invaders Series #2)

Empire (Chronicles of the Invaders Series #2)

by John Connolly, Jennifer Ridyard

Narrated by Nicola Barber

Unabridged — 14 hours, 26 minutes

Empire (Chronicles of the Invaders Series #2)

Empire (Chronicles of the Invaders Series #2)

by John Connolly, Jennifer Ridyard

Narrated by Nicola Barber

Unabridged — 14 hours, 26 minutes

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Overview

With the fate of the world at stake, Syl and Paul battle the sinister forces of the Nairene Sisterhood in this second thrilling Chronicles of the Invaders novel from New York Times bestselling author John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard that “should not be missed” (The Guardian).

The Illyri have conquered and occupied the Earth. The Resistance are nothing more than an annoyance to the alien race of superior technology and military strength. When caught, young rebels are forced to join the Brigades, sent to the edges of the growing Illyri Empire.

Paul Kerr is one such soldier-torn from his home and from his beloved Syl Hellais. She is the first alien child born on Earth, a creature possessed of unimaginable powers. Now Paul and Syl must endure the terrible exile that her race has deemed just punishment for their love. But the conquest of Earth is not all it seems. There is another species involved-the Others-and the Illyri will kill to keep its existence secret.

Light years from Earth and millions of miles apart, Paul and Syl must find a way to reveal the horrifying truth behind the Empire and save all that they hold dear from the hunger of the Others. Even at the cost of their own lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

01/05/2015
Connolly and Ridyard provide a strong but somewhat disjointed second volume for the Chronicles of the Invaders epic SF trilogy, picking up where Conquest left off. Human Paul Kerr and Illyri Syl Hellais are separated after their illicit cross-species love affair is discovered; he’s assigned to the military Brigades far from Earth, while she’s sent to study as a novice in the ancient stronghold of the enigmatic Nairene Sisterhood. While Paul and his comrades try to stay alive, Syl digs deep into the corrupt Sisterhood’s secrets. As their parallel stories progress, they both discover that the Illyri is an empire on the verge of civil war. Now Paul and Syl must somehow reunite in order to save everything they know and love. The romance between the protagonists is downplayed in favor of their individual plot lines, which focus more on military action, political intrigue, and futuristic exploration. This slow-moving middle installment does push the larger story forward significantly, setting things up nicely for the final book. Agent: Clare Wallace, Darley Anderson Agency. (Mar.)

BookReporter

"Read the book. Strongly recommended for you and your offspring."

James Dashner

I love science fiction, I love solid, real characters, I love adventure, and I love to be continually surprised. Conquest has all of this and more. Feeling fresh from beginning to end, and written with a torrential, captivating pace, I highly recommend this book!"

FantasyLiterature.com

A tense, can’t-put-it-down adventure.

My Bookish Ways

Connolly and Ridyard have more than successfully set the stage for what promises to be a great new series!

SFX Magazine (UK)

"Densely plotted and decidedly grown-up, this is YA fiction for readers who are bored of fluff and sparkles."

BOLO Books

“Conquest is over-flowing with originality, adventure and damn fine writing – fans and newcomers alike should be clamoring for it.

Sci-Fi Fan Letter

…I couldn’t put the book down, I was so invested in the characters and what was happening. It’s a great start to a series.

RisingShadows.net

"This novel is entertaining and addictive science fiction!

Koeur's Book Reviews

Wormholes enable the story-line to move in fascinating directions with characters that continue to develop as new ones are added. Really, a fantastic and entertaining read.

No More Grumpy Bookseller

"Great characters, lots of intrigue, and pretty fantastic world building."

Dean Crawford

"A striking novel, devoid of the usual Young Adult conventions and far better for it: from the choice of location to the complex and involving plot that defies the expectations of its target market, this is a novel that does not fear to take the reader to darker places than others of its ilk. The strong characterisation of Steven, Peter and our heroine Syl make their extraordinary adventure all the more believable, and bring an often imagined future for humanity very much to life. A brilliant beginning to what will no doubt become an epic series."

Florida Times Union

The other books in the promised trilogy are going to be well worth the wait.

Jen's Book Thoughts

“Conquest is an exciting, action-packed adventure.

Library Journal

02/15/2015
After the events of Conquest, Syl Hellais has been exiled from Earth and sent to the convent of the Nairene Sisterhood with her best friend, Ani. Still determined to find out what evil has infiltrated Illyri society, Syl doesn't fit in with the mean girls who dominate her fellow novices and decides to hide her own abilities. Meanwhile, her human sweetheart, Paul Kerr, has also been banished from Earth and conscripted into the brigade where he is meant to help the Illyri military, but he, too, is working to bring down the culture that enslaved his home world. VERDICT Less angsty and even faster paced than the first volume, this sequel separates the two star-crossed lovers and explores different aspects of the Illyri conquest. This series is improving as it goes along, although there are still many plot points awaiting further development.

Kirkus Reviews

2014-12-13
Second in a just-about independently intelligible alien-warfare trilogy (Conquest, 2014) from Connolly (the Charlie Parker mysteries, etc.) and wife Ridyard, who offer a helpful short summary in the first couple of pages.Advanced human-aliens, the Illyri, have conquered the Earth. Internally, the Illyri Military and the Diplomatic Corps tussle for dominance and plot to ally themselves with a third power, the Nairene Sisterhood, a secretive female society of knowledge-brokers—who bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Frank Herbert's Bene Gesserit. Resistance to the conquest, however, smolders, particularly in Scotland, where Syl Hellais, the governor's daughter and the first Illyri to be born on Earth, raged against the constraints imposed on her. Syl—having learned that many senior Illyri are infected with an alien parasite that apparently enhances their abilities—escaped and became involved with resistance fighter Paul Kerr. Having been captured, Paul and others agreed to be trained as fighters for the Illyri and were sent millions of light-years away. Syl was sent to join the Sisterhood in their convent, the Marque, a moon orbiting the Illyri home world. Paul vows, despite all obstacles, to return and claim Syl, but he soon learns that Illyri politics are vastly more complex and dangerous than anybody on Earth dreamed—and that there exists another alien race of unknown powers and purpose. Syl, meanwhile, concealing her immense psychic powers, learns that the Sisterhood is encouraging younger sisters to develop psychic powers and to employ them with sadistic cruelty. And they know more about the alien parasites than anybody suspects. This satisfyingly complex backdrop spins up into an intriguing web of plots and mysteries as the main characters grow along with the story, along with virile if sometimes rather implausible action. More disappointing is the way the authors allow an initially taut narrative to accumulate flab and crisp prose to degenerate into hackneyed gloats and phrases. Should particularly appeal to the more youthful section of the audience, devotees of the Kevin Anderson-Brian Herbert epics and suchlike.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940171119201
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Series: Chronicles of the Invaders Series , #2
Edition description: Unabridged

Read an Excerpt

Empire

CHAPTER 1

The predators circled, each taking a turn to snarl at her, some more vicious than others, but every one determined to take their piece of flesh.

“Stupid, shabby thing.”

“She never learns.”

“She’s too stupid to learn.”

“Why are you here?”

“You don’t belong in this place.”

“Why do you even exist?”

“Elda. Even your name is ugly.”

“Look at yourself!”

“She can’t. She shuns mirrors. She’s afraid they’ll crack at the sight of her.”

And then the leader, the alpha, came to bite, the pack parting, their faces turned admiringly upon her, her radiance reflected in their eyes.

Tanit, beautiful young Tanit: cruel, and worse than cruel.

“No, that’s not the case,” said Tanit. “She stays away from mirrors because there’s nothing to see. She’s so insignificant that she’s barely there at all.”

It was the way that she spoke, the words tossed carelessly as though the object of her disdain were unworthy even of the effort involved in crushing her. She looked down on Elda—Tanit was tall, even for an Illyri; it was part of her power—reached out a hand, and let it slip through this lesser Novice’s mop of dark hair, the strands tangling in her fingers.

“Nothing,” said Tanit. “I feel . . . nothing.”

Her victim kept her head down, her eyes on the floor. It was better that way, easier. Perhaps Tanit and the others might grow bored if they couldn’t provoke a reaction, and seek other prey to torment.

But no, not this time. Elda felt a prickling on her skin. It began at her cheeks, then slowly spread to her nose, her forehead, her ears, her neck. Warmth became heat; heat became burning pain. What Tanit was doing to her was against all the rules, but the rules did not apply to Tanit and her acolytes as they did to others. After all, this was merely practice for them. They were like disturbed children encouraged to torture insects and rodents so that they would not falter when told to inflict pain on their own.

And they had no fear of being caught. This was the Marque, the ancient lair of the Nairene Sisterhood, and held no shortage of places in which the weak could be victimized by the strong.

The burning grew more intense. Elda could feel blisters forming, her skin bubbling and lifting. She put her hand to her face in a vain effort to shield herself, but her palm immediately started blistering too, and she snatched it back in fright. She tried not to scream, determined not to give them that satisfaction, but the agony was becoming too much to bear. She opened her mouth, but it was the voice of another that spoke.

“Leave her be!”

Tanit’s concentration was broken. Immediately, Elda’s pain began to lessen. There would be marks, but no scars. That, at least, was something.

The Novice looked up. Syl Hellais was pushing her way through the pack—a well-placed elbow here, a knee there. Some resisted, but only passively. There was grumbling and confusion, but Tanit merely looked on and laughed, folding her arms across her chest as if settling in to see what Syl planned to do.

Now Syl stood by Elda’s side.

“Elda, are you all right”

Syl helped her to her feet, looking anxiously at the girl’s face, then turning her hand over and inspecting the injury on her palm. Elda appeared badly sunburned, and her hand was red and sore, but the blisters were small and unbroken.

“Is it awful?” whispered Elda.

“It will fade,” said Syl, which wasn’t quite answering the question. Anyway, there was no time for that now. They had more pressing concerns. The pack was brave when in numbers, but still only ever as strong as its leader. Tackle the leader, and the pack would slink away. In theory.

But this was Tanit, and Tanit did not back down easily. She was watching Syl closely, her face set in a mask of amusement.

“What did you do to her?” said Syl.

“I simply told her she was pretty,” said Tanit. “I made her blush.”

“What is it to you anyway, Smelly?” said one of the braver females, bristling on Tanit’s left. Her name was Sarea, and she and another Novice, Nemein, were competitors for Tanit’s favor, and the floating post of her best friend. Tanit enjoyed playing them off against each other. Each would deny Tanit nothing for fear that she might turn instead to the other.

Now Syl and Tanit exchanged a look, a brief flash of ice-cold understanding between deadly rivals. Sarea was trying to score points by baiting Syl. Tanit gave Sarea a barely perceptible nod, granting permission for the entertainment to begin.

Sarea stepped forward. She was graceful and almost delicately pretty, all fine bones and sparkling eyes. However, Sarea’s prettiness hid a near-psychotic lust for violence. Her particular skill was the application of pressure with the power of her mind, from the merest sensation of tightness on the skin to the breaking of bones and the crushing of skulls. She had tried it on Syl once, shortly after her arrival at the Marque; a little welcoming bruise, that was how Sarea had described it.

Syl had broken Sarea’s nose in reprisal, and it hadn’t required much mental effort at all on her part. It was mostly physical.

Mostly.

Now Syl smiled, though her stomach felt weak and empty, her hands shaky. She balled them into fists.

“You’re brave when picking on those weaker than you, surrounded by your friends,” said Syl. “Would you be quite so mouthy if it were just you and me?”

She could feel Sarea itching to hurt her: a little pressure and she could burst some of the blood vessels in Syl’s nose, or in her eyes. Slightly more, and a finger might snap, a toe break. And then there were all those lovely internal organs: lungs, bowels, heart.

Oh, the heart! Sarea yearned to crush a heart. And already what she was envisaging was becoming real. Syl felt the faintest squeezing behind her ribs, a pressure on the beating organ, and knew that it was Sarea’s work, even though Sarea was banned from using her skills out of class. However, Sarea was just a Novice too, and not completely in control of her dubious talents, not yet. Or perhaps, she merely chose not to be.

Now Sarea opened her mouth as if to reply, but then her eyes glazed over and she shook her head, seeming to have no words. She stared hard at Syl before looking to the rest of her group, bewildered. Syl watched her, her heart released again, freely pounding in her chest. She waited for the pack to attack, but then Tanit spoke once more.

“I’m sorry. We meant no harm.”

“Excuse me?” said Syl.

“It was nothing, Sister. Nothing. We’re sorry. No harm.”

Tanit stepped away, turning to leave, and the others moved after her while Syl and Elda watched, slack-jawed with surprise. But one of the pack remained, staring at Syl, unmoving as the rest of Tanit’s creatures melted away. She was half obscured in the shadows, a reedy, dark-haired figure in rich blue robes. Her name was Uludess, but her friends called her Dessa. As Syl looked into that intense, furrowed face, a bead of blood slid from the older girl’s nose, and she shrugged and gave a rueful little grin. Syl opened her mouth to speak, but Dessa shook her head ever so slightly then spun away, wiping the blood on her sleeve as she hurried after her friends.

A tutor in the red garments of a full Sister approached.

“What was all that about?”

It was Cale, who was responsible for the junior Novices like Syl. She was young for a senior Nairene. Her family had died in a shuttle crash shortly after her birth, and only Cale had survived. The Sisterhood had taken her in and raised her, so Cale’s progress through the ranks had started earlier than most.

Syl and Elda stared at the floor.

“Do either of you want to explain to me what was going on there?” said Cale, but it was only for show. She knew what Tanit and her pack were like, just as she understood that Syl and Elda would tell her nothing of what had happened. Even if they did, Cale could only go to the Grandmage Oriel to complain on their behalf, and Oriel, who supervised the training of all Novices, would only ignore her. Oriel had a fondness for Tanit and her kind.

“I tripped,” said Elda. “Syl was pulling me to my feet.”

“And the others?” said Cale.

“They were queuing up to help too,” said Syl.

Cale gave Syl a peculiar look. She seemed about to smile, but thought better of it.

“Get back to your duties, both of you,” she said.

They did as they were told. Cale watched them go, but so too did another, unseen. The Grandmage Oriel remained in the doorway for a moment, and then was gone.

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