Set in the far future, Australian author Shepherd's energetic debut introduces Cassandra Kresnov, an experimental killer android-with-a-heart who has defected from her League Dark Star special ops assignment. Graced with a yen for human art almost as insatiable as her libido, Kresnov first tries to melt anonymously into Tanusha, the sybaritic capital of Callay, a planet of the League's galactic archenemy, the Federation. But Cassandra can't leave her martial past behind when she's caught up in a heroic struggle to protect the Callayan president from assassination by Federal forces. Shepherd's intriguing heroine and strong female characters bode well for this projected series. Lacing Cassandra's search for identity and acceptance with plenty of hand-to-hand combat and racy sexual exploits, Shepherd also convincingly presents vividly realized ethical dilemmas: what happens to soldiers when the war is over? can a culture that opposes the artificial manufacture of life accept its creations? Shephard grapples with some genuinely thought-provoking questions on the nature of humanity. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Cassandra Kresnov is an artificial person, or android, who served the League as a dark-ops specialist (assassin) in its interstellar conflict with the more conservative Federation. An experiment in independent thinking, Cassandra questions the ethics of her occupation, finally deserting to the Federation world of Callay, where she attempts to live quietly as the organic human April Cassidy. Exposed by the Federation, she finds that her former enemies have no room for androids, until an attempt on the life of the Callayan president demonstrates a need for her particular talents. Australian native Shepherd's first Cassandra Kresnov novel (published abroad in 2001 and followed by Breakaway and Killswitch) delivers a fast-paced story of intrigue and adventure set against galactic politics. With particular appeal to readers of high-tech sf and cyberpunk, this title belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.