Encrypted

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Professor Tikaya Komitopis isn’t a great beauty, a fearless warrior, or even someone who can walk and chew chicle at the same time, but her cryptography skills earn her wartime notoriety. When enemy marines show up at her family’s plantation, she expects the worst. But they’re not there to kill her. They need her to decode mysterious runes before their secrets destroy the world... More

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About Lindsay Buroker

I've been writing fantasy novels and short stories since I was seven. I've been finishing them since... well, that's a more recent development.

I'm a professional blogger for my day job, and I live in the Seattle area. I have two vizslas who are as spoiled as most people's kids. Occasionally they let me leave the house to play tennis, go to the coffee shop, or take a yoga class.

My fantasy short stories are available as free ebooks around the web, and my fantasy novels are up at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Up Shaker on Jan. 15, 2014 : star star star star
An interesting backdrop to the world of Emperor's Edge
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: pj gracia on Nov. 04, 2013 : star star star star star
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!! :D
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Carol on May 20, 2013 : star star star star star
Great action-adventure with a little romance thrown in.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: SansSerif on April 11, 2013 : star star
Enjoyable, but more a formulaic fantasy than heartfelt writing. The main characters were interesting and sympathetic and making allowances the story moved along well. Unfortunately the ending was terrible, the author got caught in his own web and dashed out a disappointing and implausible end.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: A Brooks on April 10, 2013 : star star star star star
Anyone reading the "Emperor's Edge" series won't want to miss this, but can be enjoyed on its own for what makes all of Lindsay Buroker's books great: humor and fun, good character development, action and adventure. Tikaya is an endearing heroine: smart, funny, accident-prone. Loved the glimpse of young Sicarius. I've read all of Buroker's books now and highly recommend all of them.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Alex Draven on April 06, 2013 : star star star star
Really enjoyable character-driven SF adventure.

(There's one decision the author made towards the end of the book that really bothered me, which is the only reason this isn't a 5* for me)
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Alex Draven on April 06, 2013 : (no rating)
Really enjoyable character-driven SF adventure.

(There's one decision the author made towards the end of the book that really bothered me, which is the only reason this isn't a 5* for me)
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: B Russell on March 05, 2013 : star star star star star
Great read. I like these characters and their trials and happy ending. Love all of Lindsay's books!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sophia DeLuna on Feb. 21, 2013 : star star star star star
Yet again a great story of Lindsay with excellent character portrayal and a lot of action, interspersed with humour.
Having read all Emperor's Edge books, it was really interesting to learn a bit of the past of this universe - including how Sicarius got his famous knife.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Colleen Plemmons on Aug. 19, 2012 : star star star star
Finished Encrypted a few weeks ago, enjoyed it a lot. I liked the way the author created a great story with interesting characters building on her world from the Emperor's Edge series. Both Tikaya and Rias came across as full fleshed living people who you could imagine easily from their descriptions. And the young Sicarius just sounded sad. I fully recommend this book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mary Phillips on July 29, 2012 : star star star star star
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Buroker knows how to create female heroines who are strong and clever, and strong, clever men who can appreciate that type of woman. While Sicarius is a fascinating character, and we learn a great deal more about him in the "Emporer's Edge" series, Rias is equally fascinating and I hope he too may be featured again in one of her upcoming books. I would be very interested to see what has happened to him, and to Tikaya as well over the intervening twenty or so years. I recommend this book to anyone who likes good action and great characters.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tam Winn on July 27, 2012 : star star star star star
I was a little worried when I started reading this book since it was a whole different set of characters then the Emperor's Edge series. But it turned out to be just as good, if not better, then them. I loved this book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Franziska Sommer on July 26, 2012 : star star star star star
I just LOVE all of Lindsays works! Can't wait to read the sequel :-)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tammy Souch on July 16, 2012 : star star star star star
It's a difficult thing for any book to break into my "Top Ten Favorites of All Time," but this one made it! I didn't want to stop reading, and I felt like a best friend had moved away forever when I finished it. Really hoping for a sequel.

For Emperor's Edge fans who haven't read this one yet: Sicarius makes an appearance!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: oi5edghnvfde on July 10, 2012 : star star star star star
Good. Get it. Read it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Tim Baer on June 09, 2012 : star star star star star
Started off rather slow for me. Then, at around 30% (Kindle version) it took off. I usually have my on-the-road book, and my at-home book. This was the otr book--and for the last 20%, it bumped the at-home book (which, for the record, is volume 3 of David Drake's Hammer's Slammers). I could not put it down, it was that fantastic a read.

I would dearly love to see a sequel.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: ReGi McClain on April 02, 2012 : star star star star
Definitely kept me reading. I really liked the glimpse into the early years of the assassin in her Emperor's Edge series (he's a relatively minor character in this book, but still...). Lots of good action. A lot of death with morbid description, which doesn't bother me, but I would shy away from this one if you have trouble with such details. The romance went just a bit further than I really like, but nowhere... shall we say, "over-descriptive"? It's not a kids book and I would not let my kids read it, but for myself, I really enjoyed it.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kat Jen on March 09, 2012 : (no rating)
This is a terrific story. I did not expect much, thinking it would be another ditsy romance set in some kind of softcore sci fi environment. Instead it is a luch story, told by someone who has, very competently, created a steampunkish/sci fi world, where protagonists grow and learn as the story unwinds in a believable manner.
I was so enthusiastic about the characters that I went to amazon to see if I could get physical copies of the series. Most of her work is alas for kindle, and so I wouldnt be able to get a full physical library of her writing. I really do recommend this book to everyone. This is a skilled writer, and Im very happy I stumbled across her.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Victoria Chvatal on Feb. 21, 2012 : star star star star
Another excellent read, this novel is set in the Emperor's Edge world but is a stand-alone book. Most of the characters are different from those in The Emperor's Edge series (the book is set around 15-20 yearsbefore the series), although we get to see a much younger Sicarius. Once again, there's lots of acton, many plot twists and fun, likeable protagonists - and at least one eminently hateable villain. If Buroker decides to write a sequel, Tikaya and Rias will make a cool pair of steampunk Indiana Joneses.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Victoria Chvatal on Feb. 21, 2012 : star star star star
Another excellent read, this novel is set in the Emperor's Edge world but is a stand-alone book. Most of the characters are different from those in The Emperor's Edge series (the book is set around 15-20 yearsbefore the series), although we get to see a much younger Sicarius. Once again, there's lots of acton, many plot twists and fun, likeable protagonists - and at least one eminently hateable villain. If Buroker decides to write a sequel, Tikaya and Rias will make a cool pair of steampunk Indiana Joneses.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Victoria Chvatal on Feb. 21, 2012 : star star star star
Another excellent read, this novel is set in the Emperor's Edge world but is a stand-alone book. Most of the characters are different from those in The Emperor's Edge series (the book is set around 15-20 yearsbefore the series), although we get to see a much younger Sicarius. Once again, there's lots of acton, many plot twists and fun, likeable protagonists - and at least one eminently hateable villain. If Buroker decides to write a sequel, Tikaya and Rias will make a cool pair of steampunk Indiana Joneses.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Diana Collins on Jan. 26, 2012 : star star star star star
Excellent! Great prequel to The Emperor's Edge. Truly loved Tikaya and Rias. I really like reading books where different personalities can complement, fulfill and admire each other. Very well written. I literally could not put it down. I also enjoyed how it introduced Sicarias and his knife. Great romance, adventure and believable characters, warts and all.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: slc333 on Dec. 17, 2011 : star star star star star
This was the first story I read by Lindsay and as soon as I finished it I went online and bought everything else she had written, including the sort stories (all of which are fantastic).This story had everything - adventure, romance,strange alien artifacts and best of all a totally likeable, slightly bookish and very intelligent heroine. I also loved how the hero appreciated her intelligence and treated her as an equal.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: ggrise on Aug. 07, 2011 : star star star star star
Excellent read, really enjoyed and the 2 Dark Current books are excellent follow-on's. Can't wait for the next book in the series. Thank you Lindsay.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: M. Pax on June 29, 2011 : star star star star star
This was a fabulous read. Very well written and a great story. Action, romance, fantasy and more, Lindsay Buroker kept me captivated.

Will definitely read more of her stories.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: David Grace on May 27, 2011 : star star star star
This book surprised me in a good way. The narrative and dialog were professional, the story was unique and interesting and I enjoyed the entire book. I am not a fan of "romances" or fantasy and while this book had elements of both, the author did such a professional job on both the craft of the writing and the story that I would not hesitate to recommend this book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: vanessa eric on May 06, 2011 : star star star star star
I must admit that reading Encrypted was like watching one of Indiana Jones’ movies. It was jam-packed with continuous suspense in every chapter. Although I honestly had hard time catching up with the adrenaline-pumping storyline, yes I held my breath at every thrill and suspense in the story; it was such an exhilarating moment to read something so genius that is actually written by a female author. Many times while reading, I forgot that the author is a female because a story like this usually came out of the minds of male authors. So, a big round of applause for Ms. Buroker! Not too often we get to read incredible piece like this written by a female author.

Encrypted, themed with issues such as authoritarianism, secret government agenda, sadistic experiments and also not forget to mention, romance, was indeed a daring story to come up with. In reality, we deal with those terrible issues every day; they do exist in many places, though in a subtle, unrecognizable way. Despite the heaviness of the plot, the story was full of astounding vocabularies, scientific terms and phrases, and the author seemed to know what she was writing about, of course without being crappy and overwhelmingly silly. Encrypted brought its readers’ imaginations to a whole new different level, to another world where magic and science collide.

Over all, the characters are well-developed, added with the attitude of their own. I couldn’t imagine what went through the author’s mind when she put together the characters.

Even though I’m not a fan of heavy sci-fi story like Encrypted, I have to declare that this novel is a ‘must read’ in Indie category. I would love to find some flaws in it, only to no avail. It was written perfectly and effortlessly.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: João Oliveira on April 26, 2011 : star star star star star
I enjoyed this book very much. It is a story of adventure and romance in a background of a mix of stemapunk and fantasy (with a little bit of Sci-Fi). However, the main strength of the book is Tikaya, the heroine, which is a very interesting character. My only complaint is that she is too much like a young contemporary university researcher: what is she doing in this sort of universe?. But maybe that is just what makes her so believeable and likeable. In summary, a great book, and not the last one I will read by Lindsay Buroker.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: mcdiarmid on March 14, 2011 : star star star star star
I came across this book looking for a good steampunk novel. The story was an excellent blend of steampunk, some fantasy, and a great adventure mixed in with a bit of romance. It was well worth the price. In my opinion, the worst thing about this book was the cover - just get past that to enjoy a really good book. Look forward to reading some of Lindsay's other stuff.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: viviena on Feb. 03, 2011 : star star star star star
I saw the other day Encrypted featured on a blog. I read the excerpt, was hooked, and read the rest of the novel in a day.

The characterisation is strong, and amply carries a detailed story which requires much of its protagonists and antagonists to be interesting and believable. Most of the characters are enjoyable to read about in some way. I was at first cautious of a hint of 'damsel in distress' whilst reading the blurb, but the female protagonist Tikaya, whilst having her flaws, is a competent and likeable character of some depth. In her developing relationship with the male protagonist Rias, they move the story beyond the cliches that often plague a typical romance novel. Not that this novel is merely romance, oh no -- there's a spirit of adventure in a solid plot which makes the novel fun and fast-paced, and the hybrid sci-fi/fantasy worldbuilding makes it intriguing. I also enjoyed how it seemed to be inspired partly by the quote 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'.

This was a very enjoyable read, enough that I think I'll pick up The Emperor's Edge to read too. I'd also be keen on reading even just a bit more about Tikaya and Rias.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: AKK on Feb. 02, 2011 : star star star star star
"Encrypted" - which I read (almost) in one go, interrupted only by work and very little sleep - is a delightful story that reminds me strongly of two very beloved books: McMaster Bujold's "Shards of Honor" (the first issue of her famous Barrayar series) and the more recent steampunk magic novel "Havemercy" by Jones and Bennett. However, "Encrypted" manages to avoid the issues found in both books, making it a truly enjoyable read with complex plot, believable (and captivatingly flawed) characters, a truly unique setting and storytelling that matches the fast pace of the events to a proverbial T.
It is difficult to sum up its content without spoilers, so I decided just to give a list of tags I use to describe it: science fantasy, military scifi, romance, naval steampunk, cryptographics.
"Encrypted" is one of the few novels that uses science not only in terms of useless gibberish or as backdrop for the hero(ine)s romantic interest, but as a truly thought-out plot device, despite all brilliance of the scientists involved and the science fictional / fantasy elements used in a believable fashion.
As of now, I mourn the death of one character, wish for more on the two main characters, and look forward to what happened to another character, who appears grown-up in the author's next novel "The Emperor's Edge".
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Liviu Suciu on Jan. 30, 2011 : star star star star star
INTRODUCTION: "Encrypted" is another indie novel I found out about through a review inquiry; the author actually let us know about her series debut The Emperor's Edge and while I liked its blurb/excerpt and asked for a review e-copy, I also noticed her other novel Encrypted which tempted me so much that I bought it on the spot and read it soon after.

Of course I plan to read The Emperor's Edge too - it starts great with the same engaging style of Encrypted - so in a month or so, I should have a review of that one here too, but for now I will talk about Encrypted since it resonated with me quite a lot and I want to explain why - the essential reason is because of its very close similarity in spirit and style with one of my all time favorite duologies.

Encyrpted is set some 15-20 years earlier in the same universe of The Emperor's Edge and it is a standalone with mostly different characters, though one of the main characters from the latter one appears here too in a pretty important role, so from that point of view it makes also a great introduction to the universe.

"Professor Tikaya Komitopis isn’t a great beauty, a fearless warrior, or even someone who can walk and chew chicle at the same time, but her cryptography skills earn her wartime notoriety. When enemy marines show up at her family’s plantation, she expects the worst. But they’re not there to kill her. They need her to decode mysterious runes, and they ask for help in the manner typical of a conquering empire: they kidnap her, threaten her family, and throw her in the brig of their fastest steamship.

Her only ally is a fellow prisoner who charms her with a passion for academics as great as her own. Together, they must decipher mind-altering alchemical artifacts, deadly poison rockets, and malevolent technological constructs, all while dodging assassination attempts from a rival power determined the expedition should fail... "

OVERVIEW: Encrypted is set on a secondary world with a mix of paranormal stuff like telepathy and teleportation and early industrial tech.

There is a militaristic empire - Turgonian - that shuns magic and which faces the "magicians" of Nuria, the "mysterious" scientist from the formerly neutral and pastoral islands of Kyatt who helped the Nurians once the empire offered the islanders a deal it would not take no as an answer on, Tikaya Komitopis, a socially awkward woman with a talent for languages who breaks the Turgonian codes leading to their containment and reluctant truce, the mysterious artifacts that prove deadly in the Turgonian capital forcing them to kidnap Tikaya from her peaceful island and try and convince her to help them, the prisoner known as Five on the Turgonian ironclad that speeds towards the frozen wastes were the artifacts had come from, the Nurian saboteurs and later the expedition to find the artifacts and the surprises it encounters.

As you can see from this overview, substituting "paranormal" with advanced biotech and the one-world of this book with a multi-stellar polity and you get something that resembles in spirit the superb pre-Miles dulogy of Lois Bujold that starts with Shards of Honor and more than once when reading Encrypted, I thought the comparison apt in quite a few ways.

While today "Encrypted" fits under secondary world fantasy mainly for its elements of paranormal, for most of sff's history it would have been considered pure-sf since teleportation, telekinesis and telepathy have been staples of sf for a long time, so this is a book that should appeal to both lovers of fantasy and sf.

ANALYSIS: Why read Encrypted?

The first reason is that the novel is written in a very fast, page turning and fun way, alternating action, discovery with great dialogue especially between Tikaya and Rias - as this is the name the prisoner known as "Five" gives her once they get to know each other - but with several other compelling characters, most notably Bocrest, the Turgonian commander of the ship and expedition, the "good" corporal Agarik vs nasty sergeant Ottotark and later the young boy/assassin Sicarius, personal representative of the emperor and a familiar acquaintance of Rias and Bocrest.

As the main lead of the novel, Tikaya carries it well end-to-end and she makes a very compelling heroine - an almost genius philologist in her mid-30's with a talent for languages and patterns, neither beautiful, nor graceful but with a talent for bow shooting and courage and wit to match, while the Turgonian men around her - whether resenting or even hating her for her role in their defeat in the war, being neutral, or being friendly and more - offer a great contrast and variety. Rias slowly develops from the almost savage Five to the charismatic war-hero he used to be and later in the novel he almost takes it over, while Sicarius - who seems to be the main lead in The Emperor's Edge 15-20 years in the future -is excellent in his role of enigmatic boy-assassin here.

So despite starting as the enemies and with their militaristic and patriarchal culture to boot, the author's portrayal of the Turgonians is quite nuanced, while Kitaya's supposed allies the Nurians actually want to kill her - maybe for good reasons from their point of view - and this reversal of roles and expectations was another reason I enjoyed the book.

The expedition, its discoveries, the mysterious runes and deadly artifacts are also very well done combining the familiar with twists that were partly predictable, partly surprising, but that never failed to entertain, while the action builds up with both physical and psychological components until the excellent finale. I would not want to spoil more about the core of the novel since a large part of the enjoyment of the book lies in trying to figure out what's what before the heroes experience it...

Encrypted (A+) is a fun romp, an adventure in the Lois Bujold Barrayar spirit, with a clear ending though ample scope for more and which I highly recommend if you like your sff fast, page turning with action, mysteries and a dash of romance.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Josephine Harvey on Jan. 24, 2011 : star star star star
This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter fantasy--there are a few unique steampunk and sci-fi elements thrown in as well. The characters were fun (my #1 requirement in a book), and the action moved right along--fans of speculative fiction should not be disappointed! I'll be reading Emperor's Edge, the next book set in this world, for sure, and am looking forward to more from Ms. Buroker.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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