Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1

Rated 4.80/5 based on 5 reviews
With humanity scattered throughout the galaxy, the Empire is the only force for order across the stars. But the tsar's been in a coma for five years, and his grand-niece, the only apparent heir, is only 14 years old. The task of preserving the Empire now falls to two untrained--but far from unskilled--agents of the Imperial Special Investigation Service. Can they save the Empire from destruction? More
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Price: Free! USD
Published by Parsina Press
Words: 63,050
Language: American English
ISBN: 9781452402109
About Stephen Goldin

STEPHEN GOLDIN is a Nebula Award finalist science fiction and fantasy writer who was born in 1947 in the city of Philadelphia. When he was 13, his parents moved to California and, upon reflection, he decided to accompany them. It was a lucky thing he did, too; otherwise, when he went to college, the commute to UCLA would have been quite difficult. He eventually graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy.

His first job out of college was as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy. The urge to write was strong, though, and after several years he left to try writing full time. He only regretted the move every other Thursday, when he would have gotten paid.

After several years of genteel poverty, he took a job as writer/editor for a pornographic humor paper, the San Francisco Ball. In retrospect, this was a great crucible; because of deadline pressure, he had to learn to make his writing dirty, funny, and one draft.

At about this time, too, he began selling novels on a regular basis. While he has, from time to time, held down other full-time employment (he helped design the Star Trek: The Next Generation computer game "A Final Unity" for Spectrum HoloByte and has also written manuals and game design documents for Maxis), his real love is fiction writing and he continues to pursue it.

His first wife was fellow author Kathleen Sky. Their medieval-style wedding was a Saturday morning program item at the 1972 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. In the 10+ years of their marriage, in addition to their individual works, they collaborated on a pair of stories ("Painting the Roses Red" and "The Devil Behind the Leaves") about the diMedicis, a family of interstellar swindlers.

Mr. Goldin's current wife is fellow author Mary Mason. Their wedding took place the night before EclectiCon 1 in Sacramento, at which Mr. Goldin was the Guest of Honor. They currently live in the San Francisco East Bay area. So far they have co-authored two books in the Rehumanization of Jade Darcy series: Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor and Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates. More books in this series are planned.

Mr. Goldin is an atheist whose interests include Broadway show albums and surrealist art. He has lived with cats virtually all his adult life.

Mr. Goldin served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin and as SFWA's Western Regional Director.

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Reviews

Review by: Asura Press on July 16, 2014 :
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this story. That turned out to be a good thing because it pulled me along unthinkingly to the end and nothing was quite what I might have expected.

I usually prefer stories that are a little darker/more serious in tone, but this book was just plain fun all the way through. Sure there were dark places, but even those have a lighthearted feel to them.

Tsar Wars felt to me like a fun homage to the over-the-top pulpy science fiction space operas of bygone days. If you like fun adventures set in galactic empires, this book is for you.

I read The Eternity Brigade, by Goldin, years ago when I was just starting to get into science fiction novels. It was nice to rediscover his works.

I couldn't help but smile as I read this book, something I can honestly say is missing often in fiction: real entertainment.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Seraphim Press on June 28, 2014 :
I'm a sucker for a massive, galactic-spanning space opera that has everything but the kitchen sink in it (Star Wars anyone?), so when the tongue-in-cheek Tsar Wars came across my recommendation list, it was a given I'd snap it up.

I enjoyed this book far more than perhaps I should have. Galactic empires, political back-stabbing, genetically engineered secret agents, a princess-in-peril, and ... circus performers? Including a cameo with some otherworldly jaguar-like antagonists? Oooh! Yeah. This book hit a sweet spot that ain't been hit since Princess Leah kissed Luke Skywalker just before swinging across that yawning chasm and said 'good luck!'

Since when did it become not okay to just plain have FUN reading a book? With a happy ending? Why has everything become about some dark, tortured anti-hero? Can't heroes just be heroic because it's the right thing to do? If you enjoyed the light-hearted feel of the first three Star Wars movies (IV-VI)and lamented the loss of both characterization and feel-goodedness (is that even a word?) from the latter three prequels (I-III), then you'll enjoy this book immensely.

And oh, goody ... there are several more books in this series....

5 lightly-leaping space-faring circus tigers
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Shannon Haddock on June 12, 2014 :
What stands out the most to me in this book is the characters. They’re all very distinctive and very entertaining/horrifying/whatever words suits that character the best. They felt real, which is something I personally love in a book. The dialogue also felt natural and appropriate to each characters’ personality.

The plot was fairly predictable in some ways, but not enough to be annoying. That they were going to get from A to B was certain; it was clearly that kind of book; but how they got there was frequently a nice surprise.

I have two minor complaints: A dictionary of the Yiddish terms would’ve been nice, as Google is letting me down on some, and the formatting in the copy I downloaded from Smashwords is a bit weird, with several blank pages and a table of contents that sometimes takes you to the middle of a chapter instead of the beginning. Other than that, this is best space opera I’ve read in ages.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Rachel Cotterill on Jan. 21, 2011 :
I found this an enjoyable and quick read - it's very lighthearted and fun, considering the proportion of the time that the characters are in fear for their lives. I'll definitely look out for others in the series.
(review of free book)

Review by: Eric Hood on March 14, 2010 :
I am a space opera fan and was glad to hear about this series by Stephen Goldin.

Having read the Family D'Alembert series many times over the years it was with much anticipation that I started to read Tsar Wars.

I was not disappointed. A story that is both new and familiar at the same time it kept me spellbound until the end.

I do not wish to say too much as I do not want to spoil the pleasure you will get from reading this for the first time just make sure you have time to spare when you start reading as you will not want to put it down.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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