Last Star Standing
By Spaulding Taylor
Genre: Soft Science Fiction/Speculative/Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic
About the Book
A post-apocalyptic Earth under alien rule. A lone wolf assassin with a chip on his shoulder. Can he find his way through a maze of deceit to victory?
Aiden has always felt like an outsider. After the rebel operative is captured and imprisoned by the world’s galactic overlords, he awaits execution. Then a mole working for the occupying regime alerts him to a plot that could destroy the entire resistance... Engineering a daring escape, Aiden’s growing feud with the new rebel leader leaves him out in the cold – and smouldering with resentment. Faced with deceit and betrayals on every side, he recruits a group of overlooked outcasts and stakes everything on one last mission.
Can the restless, reckless Aiden take a stand long enough to save humanity from enslavement?
I caught hold of something, something which must have blended into its background so perfectly that I hadn’t even spotted it. Something alive, nestling under the co-pilot’s seat.
I couldn’t believe it. A live gromeline. Trembling, possibly with fury, and trying in vain to squeeze back. Grabbing my trophy – I could feel its hot little heart throbbing like an injury against my palm – I hopped out of the plane so fast that my wound protested.
Bully raised one eyebrow. Two would have been overkill.
‘Bully, you are not going to believe this. I found a gromeline!’
The gromeline – only about fifteen centimetres – bit my finger, hard, even though I could have easily crushed its entire body with my fist – and probably would have, were I a real tester.
Feisty little gromeline. I flicked it lightly with my sausage- sized finger. When it protested, I growled, ‘Cheese it, munchkin,’ though I could feel it struggling obstreperously against my palm.
Bully was intrigued. ‘Is it genuine?’
‘Of course it’s genuine. It just fucking bit me.’
Bully probably considered this no proof. But they’re rarer than clean air these days and his fascination was obvious. (Gromelines come from the farthest galaxy so far discovered, can speak any tongue and own enviable mental powers. They are also brave to the point of stupidity and ludicrously small. This one was mouse-coloured – they can be spectacular – with tiny red eyes. Few humans have
ever seen one.)
‘What on Earth was Ho Chi doing with a gromeline?’
It was a reasonable question. A mission was no place for such a valuable alien. Could have been bounced to pieces, even during that feather-silk landing. I leaned down. ‘Did you stowaway on Ho Chi’s blinguard?’ I asked, but it just slit its eyes, pursed its lips and glared at me.
Bully trotted to his backpack and removed a small bag. ‘Shove it in here. Not even a gromeline could tunnel out of that. Once we’ve had something to eat, we can find out what it knows.’
With some difficulty we succeeded in loosing the little creature inside, where it immediately started gnawing on a corner.
‘You sure it can’t just chew itself out?’ I asked.
‘Not unless it’s got a small but serviceable nuclear device.'
About the Author. . .
Alice McVeigh was born in South Korea, of American diplomatic parents, and lived in Asia until she was 13, when the family returned to Washington D.C. She then fell in love with the cello, winning the Beethoven Society of Washington cello competition, and reaching the finals of the National Music Teachers Association Young Soloists national competition. After achieving a B.Mus. with distinction at the internationally acclaimed Jacobs School of Music, she came to London to study with Jacqueline du Pré and William Pleeth. Since then she has performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique all over Europe, America and Asia.
Her first two contemporary novels – While the Music Lasts and Ghost Music – were published by Orion Publishing/Hachette in the late 90s, and her first play (Beating Time) put on at the Lewisham Theatre. (The film rights to her first book were also sold, to Channel 4, but Mozart in the Jungle got there first!) As well as performing, Alice has ghosted or edited over 200 books. She has also scribbled a witty guide to the orchestral profession: All Risks Musical, cartoons by Noel Ford. Her most recent novel, Last Star Standing, will be published by Unbound Publishing under her pen name, Spaulding Taylor, on February 21st, 2021.
Alice is married to Professor Simon McVeigh, and lives in London. They have one daughter, who just graduated from the University of Oxford, and a second home, by the sea in Crete. Apart from fiction, Alice’s greatest enthusiasms involve playing chamber music, dachshunds and tennis. (She is a powerful but notably inaccurate tennis player, with the distinction of being ladies’ singles runner-up four years in succession at the - very - local Farnborough Tennis Club.)
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