The Virtual Book Fair 2016
Through the Hostage (Cortii series #1) by J C Steel
Khyria Ilan is a commander in the Cortii, the most elite mercenary organisation in known space. With a past she can’t remember, and commanders who would love to see her dead, her future is likely to be short: her command faces their ultimate test to prove their right to survive.
When the odds are impossible, sometimes the only thing to do is play the game… Tweet This
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What reviewers are saying about Through the Hostage:
5 stars: ‘The world-building was out of this world (both literally and figuratively) and full of conflict and betrayal and suspicion and hostility.’ Amazon.com
4.5 stars: ‘…a sophisticated read with complex, intricate world-building, well-fleshed-out characters and smooth, clever dialogue.’ Knockin’ Books
Character interview with a Cortiian: A Cortiian and an author sit on the side of a large fountain… (not the start of a bad joke)
J C Steel: Nice touch of paranoia.
Anst an Nabat: It’s a nice fountain. Care to tell me why I’m here?
JCS: I take it Khyria delegated.
AAN: She mentioned something about this being an assignment I should be able to handle alone.
JCS: Ouch. One unarmed human asking questions. Nice burn. I told her the people who read our stories like sound-bites. Interviews. You’re who turned up.
AAN: …Interviews. Not that I don’t enjoy your company, but what am I going to tell you that isn’t already in one of the books? I’ve lost count of how many indiscreet confessions you must be privy to by now.
JCS: It’s a thing. Not a thing I really understand, but what I understand about book marketing could go on the back of a postage stamp and leave lots of room. Try this one: what does Cantara rank mean, in the Cortii?
AAN: Seriously? A Cantara commands five riders, or a Canta. They report directly to the Cortiora when the whole Cortia is present, or operate independently when necessary.
JCS: And the Cortiora and Cortertia technically also command Cantai of their own, right? Any special roles within that structure?
AAN: Cortiora holds overall command. Cortertia is second in command, and traditionally responsible for information-gathering. It’s not a hard and fast rule. Third Cantara mostly takes responsibility for standard training and evaluations. Fourth Cantara tends to be the social one – generally something like this would be a Fourth Cantara’s problem. Fifth Cantara is flexible. Often mission requisitions, supplies, and stray bureaucracy.
JCS: What’s the oddest thing about Earth, to you?
AAN: Do you want the list alphabetically? … I assume you don’t mean the things it has in common with almost every other human-governed world I’ve seen. Probably the levels of environmental damage. Even the most over-populated Central Worlds would be surprised by the scale.
JCS: So you’d be even more surprised to hear that there’s a sizeable amount of the population that prefers to believe that man-made environmental damage is a myth.
AAN: Actually, denial is common human trait, so no, not particularly.
JCS: Favourite Earth food to eat?
AAN: Roquefort cheese. It’d be considered a biological hazard on more advanced worlds, so I can honestly say it’s got a unique taste.
JCS: …could you have picked something a little harder to spell? Not a question. Can you tell me something about your name?
AAN: It was computer-assigned when I was recruited, based on my ID code. It sounds Kihali, but Hejj’in’s a big swathe of space.
JCS: Any plans to go?
AAN: To Hejj’in? It’s a long way from FPA space. I’m more curious about Atari, if I were planning to spend a lot of a leave on a space liner.
JCS: Why Atari?
AAN: It’s not FPA space, there are some interesting stories about Atari worlds, I haven’t been there yet – pick one.
JCS: What fact about the Cortii do you think would surprise most humans?
AAN: …sometimes I can go minutes at a time without planning how to kill them.
JCS: Funny. Try this one: what do you think about the way your character is written in the series?
AAN: I’m really not that narcissistic. You probably write me as more patient than I actually am.
JCS: OK, poor choice of question. What do you think of how the Cortii in general are written?
AAN: Given how few facts we can actually let you publish, I’d say you’ve captured it with a certain nasty accuracy.
Scavenger hunt: 2
About the author:
I live in Canada, I keep swords on the wall and books on any flat surface. In between the making of money to permit living indoors while writing more books, I can usually be found halfway to the next galaxy. (Want more? Click here.)
I’m currently working on Elemental Conflict, the fourth in the Cortii series, which I hope will publish by summer 2017.