Friday, January 17, 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes Omnibus by Aldous Mercer

Title: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Author: Aldous Mercer
Genre: SciFi M/M Romance

Imperial Agent Royce Ree needs to pull off the biggest heist the Universe has ever seen, or it's bye-bye cushy government job, hello cleaning toilets in a dive-bar on Baga-V.

To succeed, he will need help from the last person he’d ever ask: his ex.



Royce has a simple mission: steal some tech from the newly-discovered civilization of Baldessh. But Royce thinks HQ’s mission specifications are utterly stupid. So he disobeys a direct order, and goes to steal the tech his own way.

“The Empire has survived wars, supernovae, democracy, and the collapse of a neighborhood universe. Let us hope it survives the good intentions of Agent Royce Ree.”
- Author unknown (personal communication to the Emperor)


Royce’s primary mission has been abandoned in the chaos of Baldessh’s hostile takeover by a third party. Now his only objective is to get himself, and his fellow “agent” off-planet as fast as possible. Unfortunately for Royce, nobody is quite ready for him to leave just yet.

“"I find it curious that the agent was not rescued before the comms-blockade, Spymaster."
"Imperial Intelligence is not in a habit of rescuing AWOL agents, Councillor. Apprehend and prosecute, yes, but not rescue."
"I suppose both of us must wait. For…evidence."
"Would you mind waiting somewhere other than my office? Only, we can’t all be Councillors, Councillor, and I have real work to do."
-Conversation, Imperial Intelligence Headquarters, Trinity Prime


Royce now has three days to rescue 40,000 space marines, and he’s just been told that the tech he came to Baldessh for doesn’t actually exist. He also has some real problems—his co-agent’s time is running out, and somewhere, far away, traitors are plotting to start a war that will engulf the entire Universe in flames.

Hope, however, can sometimes be found in the darkest of places. Like ventilation ducts.

“ “Every pre-FTL civilization we know of has alcohol. I mean, imagine being stuck to a single planet, wasting decades just crossing your own solar system! Who wouldn't invent vodka?"
-Gaste Trade Cartel Sales Representative (Conversation overheard at spaceport dive-bar, Gomo-Prime)


Royce has been betrayed, Baldessh’s burgeoning rebellion is going to be crushed, and all the animals are going to be exterminated. But Royce is smiling. Because Royce, like always, has a Plan.

“ “An Imperial Agent cultivates paranoia the way an Imperial Gardener cultivates prize-winning rosebushes.”
-Master Mess-Remeier,”The Nature of Empire: Volume 7”, 1st Edition


It looks like things are going to be OK for everyone except Royce and his ex. Looks can be deceiving—there are plots within plots, and Royce’s true test awaits him at the edge of Imperial Space.

“ “I’m sorry, sir, your payment didn't go through.”
“What! Why?”
“There is a hold on your accounts, pending a Deadbeat Investigation.”
“I’m the Procurement Officer for the entire Kovan Fleet, woman!”
“Yes, sir, I recognized your uniform. But I’m afraid your job description has nothing to do with this conversation.”
“The hell it doesn't! What are my soldiers going to do if you don’t sell to us?”
“Respectfully, sir, that’s not my problem.”
“We’re in the middle of an invasion!”
“I’m very sorry to hear that. Perhaps your soldiers could target a facility that manufactures the toilet paper you need?”
--Transcript, Kovan Flagship: “Comms exchange between Fleet Procurement and Gaste Cartel Customer Service.”

ROYCE REE #6: ON THE TAKE is coming out in 2014.


“The Empire has survived wars, supernovae, democracy, and the collapse of a neighborhood universe. Let us hope it survives the good intentions of Agent Royce Ree.”
-personal communication to the Emperor
 Author unknown
Royce crouched behind a molecular analyzer in the basement of the planet’s most secure laboratory. The Baldasshi workday had ended a while ago, and now the only people in the building were the guards—armed, vigilant, un-bribable.
The laboratory’s network power-cycled just once every two months, giving Royce a half-minute window to retrieve the data he was looking for.
He was two hours overdue at the orbital transfer station, where mission specifications dictated he should be. But it would be a cold day on Prion-5 before anyone at HQ acknowledged that the mission specifications were utterly stupid.
The network would power-cycle in fifteen seconds.
The lab’s bright lights flickered once, imperceptibly, their spectrum uncomfortably rich in UV. If he was captured, it would embroil three civilizations in one of the nastiest diplomatic incidents in recent memory.
The legalities of extraditing him would take years. And that was if anyone at HQ even acknowledged Royce as an Imperial Agent, after this little self-assigned break-and-enter exercise.
The Imperial tattoo on the inside of his wrist glowed a pale blue under the UV; it might get him shot on sight. A clean, fatal, shot, if he was lucky. It’d be easier to take than the Spymaster’s caustic sarcasm during the post-mission debriefing.
Death was certainly preferable to returning home without the one thing he had come to this planet for.
Royce darted out onto the floor, towards the lead scientist’s console.
Royce whirled around, drawing out his ballistic without conscious thought. And stopped shock-still, a hairsbreadth from pulling the trigger.
Because in the doorway, dressed in a Baldasshi lab-technician’s uniform, stood the man Imperial Agent Royce Ree had once been married to.

Author Bio

A native of Toronto, Aldous Mercer enjoys martinis and relaxing on the beac-ha! No.
Aldous Mercer is a workaholic with a penchant for numerical mind games and caffeinated beverages. He uses his degree in Engineering to ensure that none of the spaceships in his books have cubic pressure-vessels. In real life he always annotates Engineering Drawings in Iambic Tetrameter.

Aldous can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail.



My Review:  December 2013   ~ Review Copies ~

Royce Ree Omnibus (The Emperor's New Clothes), Volume 1Royce Ree Omnibus (The Emperor's New Clothes), Volume 1 by Aldous Mercer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Aldous Mercer for giving me this book for an honest review. I enjoyed reading this Omnibus, it was a bit different, but a good different. The characters are well defined and the world building is quite good also. I look forward to reading more from Aldous Mercer.

View all my reviews

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