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Captive Embers

Written by: Brian Mansur
Narrated by: Scott Aiello
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The humans wage war across space. But who is the real enemy? 

Mykonian fleet Operative Rafe Hastings has spent several tours around Belia trying to keep weapons traffickers from tearing the local space habitats apart. He’s eager to go home when an informant passes him dire news about an infamous cartel boss named Lilith. Not only has she acquired nuclear weapons, but she has somehow gained permission from the mysterious robotic overlords of inhabited space - the Wardens - to use them.   

The battleship Tsunami is dispatched to investigate Rafe’s discovery. and veteran operations Officer Sean Merrick soon finds himself caught in a conspiracy involving feuding Wardens. With allies dying all around him, his only hope for survival turns out to be a junior combat nurse named Sarah Riley who has scarcely fired a gun before.   

As Rafe, Sean, and Sarah battle Lilith, they’ll be forced to rely on the unexpected to save the people they love. But with the Wardens constantly changing the rules, could it be that no matter who wins the war, everyone loses?    

Grab this exciting debut military sci-fi novel from Brian Mansur, perfect for fans of Alastair Reynolds, Jack Campbell, and Ken Lozito.  

©2019 Aethon Books (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Action-packed, tightly written, and with characters that come alive, this is a military sci-fi novel that grabbed and held my attention at the cost of several good nights’ sleep. A perfect example of a great novel and an impressive debut." (Jasper Scott, USA Today best-selling author of Dark Space)

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  • Jas P
  • 2019-04-16

Brilliant Debut Story - Outstanding Narration!

Captive Embers is in a word, ‘Captivating’. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
This is Mansur’s debut novel, and he has created a fascinating backdrop of political intrigue in which to tell his story. With multiple Colonies of species at different levels of development all controlled by these Omnipotent ‘Wardens’ and their set of rules, we learn about this Galaxy through multiple main characters, a Spy, Rafe, the 2nd in Charge of a Battleship Sean, a Nurse who is also aboard the same ship Sarah, the head of a Criminal Organisation, Lilith, as well as multiple minor characters.
Each of these characters brings a unique aspect to the story, tells a particular part of the story, allowing the pieces of the puzzle to slot together very nicely, providing this riveting, fast paced military thriller about a Galaxy that although seems like it is all nicely controlled and running smoothly under the control of these ‘Wardens’, is actually on the brink of all out war. Rafe is trying to find shipments and distributors of weapons and deployment systems that will destroy colonies. Sean and Sarah are on the same ship, the Battleship Tsunami, a very apt name as they are walking into a storm, looking for weapons being freighted about by a criminal organisation. A Criminal Organisation run by our other main Character Lilith.
The great thing is that there is an opportunity to just give you all the story as you have all the major players. But Mansur doesn’t. He uses each of the characters to give you just enough to build the story, allowing it to unfold naturally, allowing you to try and make a bunch of seriously wrong guesses as there are some awesome twists and turns as the story plays out.
I don’t want to give too much away, but basically the galaxy has a collection of colonies of different races, all mandated by rules that are governed by the Wardens, these robots. Step out of line, they come down on you hard. There are rules for everything, including weapons. However, a crime syndicate has managed to get hold of colony killing weapons, and no one knows why. The crew of the Tsunami has to find out why, and stop them before something horrendous happens. I’m seriously busting at the seams wanting to write more, but that would ruin all the fun!! You will have to listen to it – and it is so worth it.
The characters are very real as well, Sean and Sarah have a fairly instant connection when they meet, and due to their time together, this grows, but this isn’t just because the book needs some romance angle, the relationship is incredibly real and natural. Mansur has gone to a lot of trouble to make the dialogue between his characters seem real, not forced, or over-the-top as is the case in a lot of newer Mil Sci-Fi books these days.
This is an outstanding Debut Novel, and regardless if you like thrillers, action, Mil Sci-Fi, there is something for everyone. My only disappointment with this book is that I got an early copy of it, and now I have to wait for part 2!! I should note though, even though I got an ARC, I had already pre-ordered both the book and the audio-book as it is well worth it, and I will be listening to it again when I get the chance. This is a Must Listen.
The Narration is exceptional, clear, concise so as to be easy to understand, but with an easy flowing ‘Story Telling’ voice that allows you to just sit back and settle in and get swept away with the story. Aiello has a great range of voices, so that there is a distinctive quality between each of his characters, both male and female, allowing you to easily understand who is talking at any time.
This is one of those great combinations where it is actually better to ‘listen’ to the book than actually read it as Aiello does such a great job of reading it, it is such a pleasure to listen to.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Willis Burns
  • 2019-04-16

A BEAUTIFUL story!

I can't even express how beautiful this story is. It's not just military sci-fi. This is the expression of human nature. Every person on this planet (and beyond) can relate to the struggles these characters (who all feel very real and fleshed out, by the way) face. Do yourself a favor... read this book!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kemyd
  • 2019-05-03

non stop action

Another unbiased opinion. There's space explosions and battles galore here. Heart break and hope and even a little love story. Non stop action and the plot of the story is great. A little graphic on the gore and torture. I like the idea of the AI overlords and the culling. The story is told well and narration is to notch.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • patricia
  • 2019-04-25

exciting

lots of action and drama the characters were well written and the narrator was really good. if the narrator is poor the who story becomes yuk!!
this narrator was very good

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason
  • 2019-06-21

Excellent so glad I chose to give it a try

Finally a sci-fi military space opera with heart and action it seems to be harder to come by these days to mix great characters that are believable with a good story and some action but this audio book is all those things. It is very exciting to find a new series that is this good you just want to keep listening and forget about the time going by, If your looking for a good new novel to get lost in this is your ticket.

It worth mentioning the narrator Scott Aiello is someone I've been listening to on a couple other recent audiobooks and he is quickly becoming one those I can depend on with quality production, good character voices and does everything just right.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • TU
  • 2019-05-17

Fantastic sci fi with tons of action

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This was a great, action packed, sci fi story. The action starts from pretty much the start of the book and doesn't let up very much at all until the end. It was a fantastic listen with good narration. If you are a sci fi fan, I would highly recommend this series starter. I know I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Layla
  • 2019-05-09

Scifi drama

This book from the beginning is fast paced which I liked and it had plenty of action. The violence is sometimes graphic but this is not through out the book. There was a twist to the book I did not see coming and the narrator did a great job voicing the characters. This for me is an important thing in audiobooks. If you get the wrong type of narrator the book no matter how good it is, it is difficult to listen to it.
I would recommend this book to those who love military scifi with plenty of action.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-30

Awesome start to a new series.

Brian Mansur does some incredible world...err universe building with Captive Embers. An absolutely wild story of intergalactic chess where the human race as the chess pieces. It's a great story with excellent complex characters that were written so well that I actually found myself cursing some of them out! The universe Mr. Mansur has crafted is totally engaging and I look forward to seeing where he takes the story from here.

I believe this is the first time I've heard any of Scott Aiello's work and I have to say he does a fantastic job. I'll definitely be checking out more of his work in the future.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore
  • 2019-04-28

The stakes are high...

The stakes are high in this planet destroying conflict... A mob boss gets access to nuclear weapons, as in planet destroying weapons... but really is she the true enemy? It's true she needs to be put down like the rabid dog she is, but who gave her access to such massively destructive capability in the first place? I found the side story of the meta-beings gaming to be as interesting and fun, as was the main, action packed story! As the book unfolded, I kept picturing The Gamesters of Triskelion, from 1st gen Star Trek, betting all their quatloos on the next bout... Only, this game is deadly, because, these two players were betting on innocent people lives...
The narrator Scott Aiello bugged me a bit, but I really can't say what it was, nothing concrete, other than maybe his choice of character voice accents... hummm.
  If you want some high flying Space Opera, get the audio book, and let the games begin!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Eric Langill
  • 2019-04-24

Exhilarating!

For a debut novel, Brian deftly builds a rich and diverse world far removed and yet all too familiar to our own. He has meticulously crafted every stitch of his future from the links in an ammo belt to the ingredients in some murky concoction as well as tell the tale of richly developed characters that are as full of heart, courage, and self sacrifice as others are full of unconscionable malevolence. All the while the timeless game between good and evil wages around them through machinations visible and invisible. I want MORE!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful