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Empire of Time series by John Argo - Clocktower Books

Moon Berry Wine

Moon Berry Wine is a far future Doctor Zhivago of sorts - a symphony of love, war, loss, and rebirth far uptime in a distant future period when humankind has entered a fabulous age known as ManTime or the Renaissance of Man.

After thousands of years of suffering and near annihilation, the human race is stronger and wiser, living in peace with other races. But the terror of the alien Kaarrk Swarm lurks beyond the dust clouds and dim light years of far space, threatening to destroy civilization and humankind.

A smart, strong, pleasant young man (Ranay) from a backwater planet attends a distant university, with modest hopes of returning to his home planet as a doctor or lawyer. At university, while tending a garden of moon berry wine grapes, he meets a beautiful, regal young female student who does not take no for an answer. They fall in love - and he soon learns she is Zara Upholder, crown princess of rough and ready Clan Upholder in the Corduwaine System.

Forsaking his familyís plans, Ranay travels with his new love to her home world of Tellerine in the Corduwaine system. The two soon marry under the belligerent eyes of her dynastic father, Trask the Lord Upholder. The young couple are now part of a powerful clan that rules a solar system, and their future looks bright.

Then catastrophe strikes across the humansh galaxy. Lurking at the edges of the known universe is an enemy so powerful, so implacable, so filled with hate, that its very name inspires chills: The Kaarrk Swarm, a militant hive culture whose only emotion is a relentless hunger to be vicious. A dying hive scorpion's only emotion is rage because it will no longer live to hate.

Just when life seems perfect for Ranay and Zara, the Kaarrk Swarm attack in force, including a behemoth mothership that almost literally eats planets. Tragedy and horror rip through the peaceful Corduwaine System. Itís life and death, demanding courage and duty. Fighting alongside military priestesses, mystical abbesses, time-traveling HM Sacred Agents, and other amazing denizens of this future world, Ranay and Zara confront their ultimate fates--and surprises beyond imagination.

A gripping new novel in the Empire of Time series, Moon Berry Wine is part of a sweeping cosmic history that evokes the atmosphere, epic story telling, larger than life characters, and lyric poetry of science fiction classics like Frank Herbert's Dune, Cordwainer Smith's The Planet Buyer, and A. E. Van Vogt's Weapon Shops of Isher.

Millennia uptime, humans have built a great empire across space, have fallen and risen multiple times, and have made peace with the many alien and humansh races of the galaxy. The rulers of humankind include dukes, kings, presidents, abbots, bishops, and corporate oligarchs, but at the pinnacle of power and glory is the Holy Mother, a Popess who from far away rules a balanced society of spirit and capital, of charity for all and malice toward none, with sanctity and majesty.

It is ManTime, an age of peace and fairness, of well-being and expansion--except for one horrifying fact: the Kaarrk Swarm. The Empire of Time series has been in work for many years and now comprises half a dozen novels plus short works: e.g., Mars the Divine, Time Train, Lantern Road, and Runners: Escape from Prison World or Die.

The planet name Tellerine comes from a Turkish legend, expressed in an old folk song popular across the region, Telgrafin Tellerine. Itís about the sadness and release of a young man from the countryside, who came to the big city (Galata, part of Istanbul). He loved a courtesan, and lost everything. Now he flees the city, marveling at the songs of birds on telegraph wires. Just as humans twitter in the wires, so the birds have a lot to say in a language of the soul. The tale of Ranay and Zara was heavily influenced by the timeless beauty of that song.

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