Here is an excerpt from the book:

The first chapter is up on the Gillian Andrews website so this is a sample from later on.



VION WAS IN a meeting with Diva's father, in Mesteta on Coriolis, discussing terms for the implementation of a system of preventative medical check-ups, when the bugles outside began to sound, and a scuffling and whispering announced that something most unusual was taking place.

"Lady Indomita Magmus Regent of Coriolis!" announced a minion.

Diva's father struggled to his feet, not without difficulty.

"Wh ... what?" he said.

"It is nice to see you too, Maximus," said Diva's mother, gliding into the room attended and protected by seven burly guards.

"Well, I ... I ..."

"You are naturally delighted to see me." She pulled off a travelling headdress and sat down quite composedly in a nearby chair. "You are wondering why I am here." She looked around the room with interest. "I see you have redecorated. Hello Vion, I hope you are well?"

"You ... you can't just walk in here ... as if ... as if nothing had happened!" spluttered Diva's father.

"Certainly not as if nothing had happened!" corrected her mother. "On the contrary, if I had not abandoned you, it is doubtful that Coriolis would be in such an advantageous situation as it is now. I don't suppose it would have occurred to you to trade with the Kwaidian rebels using the orthogel entity as transport."

"It would not!" Maximus sounded as if he were congratulating himself on this fact.

"No, I thought not."

"You are disgracing the principles of Coriolan exchange!"

"I do not feel that you are the one to be talking of disgrace, Maximus. I have heard about your escapades in Mesteta, about your ... err ... excesses ..."

"My so-called excesses are none of your business!" shouted Maximus, struggling to heave himself out of his chair. He caught sight of Vion, who was trying to edge out of the door. "No! Stay, Vion, if you don't mind."

"I have decided that it is time I came down to Mesteta for a while to take care of things, and you ... ah ... how shall I put this? Yes ... you will take a little break on Mount Palestron. If you are very good about it I shall let you come back and rule with me after a few weeks of ... shall we say ... reflection?"

"Over my dead body!" The Elder was so red in the face that Vion felt concerned about his health.

"No need to overdramatize the situation, my dear."

"I am the ruling Elder on Coriolis!"

"You were the ruling Elder on Coriolis," she corrected gently. "I am merely suggesting that you take a short break. I will ... err ... look after things here for you while you are on a repairing sojourn on Mount Palestron."

"How dare you, Indomita! Women do not rule planets!"

"I have been considering the situation for quite some time now, and I have come to the conclusion that if I do not step in now, you will ruin Coriolis." Her eyes flickered to her guards. "I have some support, you know."

"Support? What support can YOU have?"

"Some Coriolans are making a great deal of money through the trade agreements with the rebels on Kwaide," she said. "They feel that your handling of the opportunities has been ... shall we say ... lacking?"

"I have been extremely busy!"

"We heard. You have been busy interesting yourself in the low-life of Mesteta."

"I have been trading with the Sellites!"

"The same old trading agreement of years ago. That treaty is very favourable to the Sellites, and definitely not so favourable to the Coriolans. It is time for a change, you fool. You are anchored in the past, and in your own pleasures."

"How dare you speak to me like that!" He marched over to the side of the room and pulled a long rope agitatedly. A dull ringing sounded outside.

His wife smiled, and made a sign to one of the guards who had accompanied her in. The broad-shouldered guard moved over to Maximus, and put one hand on his shoulder.

"Guards!" Maximus shouted. "Guards, I say!"

Nobody came running in answer to his call. The portly ruler looked confused, and stared dumbly at the bell rope in his hand, unable to comprehend why it had not had an immediate effect. There should have been guards pouring in from all sides. His face crumpled.

"These are your guards now, Maximus," said Indomita serenely. "They are going to escort you to Mount Palestron, and ... err ... look after you there. They will bring you back when you have had time to reconsider."

"Reconsider what?" he demanded, getting a second wind. "This is preposterous. I am the ruling Elder of Coriolis—"

"And a fine mess you have made of it," she said. "But you needn't worry – I am going to take good care of our interests while you are resting. And I am sure you will see the benefits of our ruling jointly in the future. Send me a message through Kobar here." Her gaze went to the guard who was holding her husband, and a smile played around her mouth. "I will be more than happy to get your message."

"Over my dead body!" Maximus struggled futilely against the younger and stronger man. "Let me go, you fool! How dare you! I shall have you set in rexelene for this."

"There is no need for theatrics, Maximus. Kobar merely has your best interests at heart. And your best interests are the best interests of Coriolis, you know."

"You are trying to get your precious hands on Coriolis."

"Yes." She seemed pleased that he had finally caught on. "Together we will take Coriolis on to new successes. You are very tired, Maximus. All that hard ... err ... work has left you run down. You will feel so much better after your holiday. And you mustn't hurry back. There is nothing for you to worry about. Coriolis will have me at its helm."

"P-pr-preposterous!" he shouted again. "I am the ruling Elder of Coriolis—"

"You should have ruled better," she told his back as he was escorted from the room. Indomita watched unmoved as the doors closed gently behind her husband, then seemed to recollect that she was not alone, and looked around.

"Well Vion – as you can see there may be a need to review the current trading terms with Sell. You will no doubt be able to contact the Sellite Authorities. Please tell them to send a delegation as soon as possible to discuss future arrangements. And ... err ... Vion? Tell them they will be dealing with me for the foreseeable future, won't you? Explain to them that my husband has found it necessary to retire from front line politics for the time being. I am sure he will be back soon."

Vion could do little more than bow himself out of the room. He gave a silent whistle. He had been a witness to what must have been the quickest and most silent revolution in history.