Rise Of The Exiles (Kassini Book 2)

Rise OF The Exiles cover

Rise Of The Exiles is the follow-up to The Kassini Division, my debut sci-fi novel. It’s a Part Two, rather than a standalone – the story begins directly where the events of the first book end, in the same time period, with the same characters.

The first book was initially intended as a series opener, but was written as a standalone, just in case everyone hated it. Thankfully, they didn’t, which was encouragement enough for me to expand the storyline out into a richer, deeper and more involved world.

More on that in a minute. First, here’s the blurb for Part Two of the Kassini series:

Every civilisation has the right to rebel. But is every rebellion in the right?

To say the Battle of Barnard’s Star was full of surprises is a huge understatement… and now Kassini and her feuding shipmates are the Galaxy’s Most Wanted crew.

On the run, low on fuel and with every bounty hunter and patrol in the Borderlands desperate to bring them in, they need to find somewhere to hide, and fast.

Meanwhile, the newly discovered Qualii race is warning of an unspeakable threat that’s fast-approaching from the Forbidden Zone. The human, Avion and Elemental empires call a temporary truce, to ask themselves: should they trust this many-tentacled stranger at their door?

The empires believe; the Exiles doubt. Hard facts are the only thing that will break the deadlock, which means someone is going to have to venture into the Forbidden Zone…

Join the crew of the Anomaly for the second instalment of this fast-moving mil-SF space-opera series, packed with politics, action, intrigue and deeply sarcastic droids.

Here’s a visual promo for it…

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Here are five inspirations behind the book…

The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars’ sequel expanded its themes, its visuals and its script in an altogether darker direction than the timeless good-versus-evil shenanigans of its predecessor. The world building in particular became more detailed, zoomed-in and claustrophobic: Jedi powers had to be earned in swamps with tiny green masters; space heroes didn’t always get to swashbuckle and sometimes, upstart farmboys even had to hide inside the stomach linings of their camel-horse things to survive. Although initially treated as a sophomore slump by some critics, it was eventually reappraised as the greatest entry in the Star Wars canon… primarily due to its aforementioned extra depth and added darkness.


This grand space-strategy game by Paradox Interactive is one of the most rewarding of all the space-based RTS games. It relies on a familiar framework – choose a species, build a fleet and a tech-tree to explore the galaxy, meet aliens and trade, fight or team up with them achieve political aims – but what truly sets it apart is the detail of its setting. Special missions and discoveries abound throughout its game-time, involving thrilling SF concepts such as precursor artifacts, trans-dimensional beings, hulking space amoebas and the like… it’s this storyworld that keeps you clicking away into the night.

Babylon 5

J. Michael Straczynski’s complex space-opera series was hampered by its 1990s milieu. No wonder there’s a campaign to have it remade, as today’s huge-budget streaming platforms would create a lavish world befitting its drama and ambitious story arcs… instead of having to rely on 24 Commodore Amigas to make it happen.

Blake’s 7

This 1970s BBC space opera followed freedom fighter Roj Blake and his band of malcontent scum in their battle against a totalitarian Federation, who rule using drugs, authoritarian power and mass surveillance. The show’s tremendous dialogue, imaginative ideas, dystopian themes and fragile sets were supported by a cast of sophisticated and believable characters – not least Zen and Orac, the good ship Liberator’s idiosyncratic house droids.

Battle Isle

Rise Of The Exiles has a couple of set-piece planetary battle scenes that, in my head at least, are reminiscent of the atmosphere of Commodore Amiga turn-based strategy favourite, Battle Isle. A classic of its time, I recall many a drunken night lost to working out whether a Wolfsrudel submarine can get in range of my enemy’s Pegasus carrier. Good times.

Get your free eBook copy of Conversations With Droids, a book of 12 sci-fi short stories.