Friends in High Places by Andi MarquetteFriends In High Places by Andi Marquette is the first in the Far Seek Chronicles series. Though at its heart, this is a story of political intrigue, there is plenty of action to keep the reader churning through the pages.

All Torri Rendego wants is to fulfill her contract, but events and the Coalition government of the planet Newburg seem bound and determined to strand her in place. The last thing she needs is another complication, but the universe doesn’t seem inclined to listen. Enter Kai Tinsdale, Torri’s former bunkmate, lover, and now an officer for the very force Torri almost lost her life fighting. Kai’s job is to put a stop to the lucrative smuggling of opals out of Newburg, the very cargo Torri is trying to move. Kai is good at what she does and loyal, but do those loyalties still include Torri?

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down, and someone very close to Torri is trying to shut her down. Trusting the wrong person could get her and her crew locked up, or worse.

The Characters

Torri Rendego is a chameleon. She adapts to her surroundings no matter what they are, which is an excellent trait for the captain of a smuggling vessel. She’s also astute and adept at reading her environment and the people in it. Select members of her crew are the only people she feels she can really trust, which lends Torri an air of melancholy. Her background hides a secret, one that’s mostly hinted at, but affects her deeply nonetheless. A sense of idealism ground down by reality is revealed through her relationship with Kai.

For her part, Kai exemplifies loyalty. She remains devoted to the Coalition, though there are things about her government that continue to give her pause. Echoes of the same idealism we see in Torri comes through, and it’s easy to see how they fell for each other as bunkmates at the Academy. They ended up on different sides, though each believed strongly in the ideals of the group she threw in with. The Coalition was ultimately successful, and Kai has benefited from that, but she’s not blind to their flaws.

The Writing Style

The story is written in the third person, and we get to see events from both Torri and Kai’s points of view. Marquette is adept at ratcheting up the tension with each successive chapter. Characters who seemed minor end up gaining significance further along and loyalties change and shift so Torri and Kai don’t know who to trust, or even if they can trust each other. The reader shares their uncertainty. Waiting for the next betrayal kept me turning the pages at a fevered pace, and yet when it came, it was always in an unexpected way or from a person I hadn’t expected. The dialogue is snappy and always entertaining.

The Pros

I loved getting to know the characters. They’re very different, but they share some traits. Each one deals with events differently, though they also work well together when they finally get past themselves and events that came before. It’s that enjoyment of the characters, paired with the uncertainty they face that makes this a fantastic sci-fi novel. There are moments of action, which I always love, but where this story really shines is in the pressure put on the characters by the morass of political intrigue in which they find themselves.

The Cons

The worst thing about this book is that book two isn’t out yet! I read this book in one sitting and was ready to tear into the sequel. Sadly, I’ll just have to wait and keep an eye on the Dirt Road Books site for any news on Far Seek Chronicles 2.

lise mactague's favoriteThe Conclusion

Readers of sci-fi will love this book, as will anyone who enjoys a political thriller. The pacing is tight, and the characters are wonderful, relatable, and with their own mysteries. It’s a quick read as the thread of the story compels the reader forward. Have some time set aside to really delve into this book.

Excerpt from Friends In High Places by Andi Marquette

“What do you make of it?” Torri asked, leaning against the side of the structure closest to the mine entrance. She watched the pedestrian traffic entering and leaving, like a stream of insects.

“Lax.” Saryl crossed her arms. “Shitstorm of theft.”

“My thoughts, too. What about at Vintooth?”

“We’ll need to take a look. From the talk I’ve heard, it’s the matrix with the most security.” She shrugged. “Makes sense, since that’s where the pure-color black are.”

“And it’s only going to get tighter. Coalition directive. There’ll be more joining us in four days.”

“They’ve already started,” Saryl said with a wry chuckle. “Leave it to you. Never a dull moment.”

“Because I know you’d be bored otherwise.”

“Oh, of course. Who doesn’t love trying to steal a case of black opals from a highly secure location with a Coalition directive in place?”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781947253018
  • Publisher: Dirt Road Books

Andi Marquette Online 

We received a review copy of this novel.

Lise MacTague writes in all areas of speculative fiction, from space operas to high fantasy to urban fantasy and everything in between. She writes for a lesbian audience and suggests that those who might be offended by such works of fiction might be better served in finding their reading materials elsewhere.

Her debut novel, Depths of Blue, was published by Bella Books in April 2015. The sequels, Heights of Green and A Vortex of Crimson, will be released afterward to round out the On Deception’s Edge trilogy.

Lise lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When she isn’t working as a librarian or writing, she may be found on the ice (playing hockey, definitely not figure-skating). She dabbles in painting and sculpting, and entertains her two cats on cold Wisconsin evenings.