The Kassini Division

The Kassini Division is my debut novel, released in 2021. It’s the first book in my ongoing series of epic space operas. Further down this page, I’ll explain some of the less-obvious inspirations behind it. But first, here’s the blurb:

Infiltrate a stolen ship. Gain the trust of the crew. Don’t blow your cover. Stay alive.

Kassini Grigorivitch has a new assignment she could’ve done without. With her Empire military background and a headful of faulty tech, she’s been reluctantly redeployed as a sleeper agent. Her mission? Work her way onto the Anomaly and influence its vengeful commander and his crew, while the Empire desperately finds a way to close the jaws of its trap and take its stolen stealth ship back.

Meanwhile, the galaxy is darkening as humanity’s rival empires are closing their networks and rattling their sabres. As Commander Krieger sends the Anomaly into ever-riskier territory, the crew’s loyalty is tested to breaking point…

Fighting side-by-side with a thrillseeking AI, a renegade alien pilot, a moody battle droid and a shapeshifting diplomat, will Kassini maintain her cover – or die trying?

Part-spy-fi, part space-opera, part-military SF and all-action, The Kassini Division is a futuristic thriller for fans of Battlestar GalacticaOld Man’s WarThe ExpanseFirefly and all manner of classic sci-fi.

Here’s a visual promo for it…

And a selection of reviews…

“Absolutely stunning. A gripping debut from a writer with obvious talent. The plot zips along at a feverish pace.” – Amazon reviewer

“Funny, fast-paced and very, very clever… it has been a long time since I have read a book that has been so immersive that it is almost mind altering.” – Amazon reviewer

“Fully formed worlds and new races, with believable characters and brilliant dialogue.” – Goodreads reviewer

The paperback has an exclusive ‘scanner design’ cover…

Here are five inspirations behind the book…


I’ve played this game from its genesis on the BBC Micro, through the Frontier years, all the way up to its current, magnificent Dangerous incarnation. As well as being released along with a novella (Robert Holdstock’s Elite: The Dark Wheel), it was the first game where starfighter combat had equal billing with the idea that you were an intergalactic entrepreneur, making your way in a hostile universe, starting out at the bottom… I imagine that in the universe of TKD, every pixel on every scanner is populated by a crew with a story to tell.

Red Dwarf

Obviously, to Brit SF fans of a certain age, the first five series are stone-cold classics: I suspect the appeal of Red Dwarf must be entirely incomprehensible to younger audiences raised on earnest recent series such as The Expanse, Altered Carbon and Dark Matter with their comparatively huge budgets, Hollywood dialogue and emphasis on visual style. But aside from the razor-sharp, SF-literate scripts, the lo-fi, ramshackle cheapness is all part of the enduring charm. Also, the two novelisations – Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers and Better Than Life – are packed with great ideas, work incredibly hard on the page to create a more in-depth, varied world and are superbly entertaining.

Old Man’s War

John Scalzi’s 2006 debut is among the best SF novels of recent times, and for me at least, that’s primarily because of its dialogue (fast-moving, funny, unpatronising and with a realistic flow); but also because of its relatable tech ideas (a winning amalgam of fresh and recycled sci-fi concepts) and its characterisation – despite being given superheroic powers, his characters remain fallible and easy to empathise with, and therefore keep the storyworld believable.

Shadowfire and Enigma Force

Denton Designs was a software powerhouse at the forefront of game innovation in the mid 1980s. Two of its pioneering titles – Shadowfire and follow-up Enigma Force – featured a ragtag crew of space mercenaries embroiled in a galactic conflict. Its characters and the wider sci-fi scenario it hinted at but never fully fleshed out stayed with me ever since.

Droids I have known and loved

The 80s really was a fertile age for movie robots and, given that The Kassini Division has two belligerent robots among its crew of main characters, it would be impossible to avoid being influenced by the likes of everything from Disney’s The Black Hole to Terminator and beyond. But honourable mention, too, must be given to Paradroid, a blast from the C64 past. The game had a great sci-fi concept at its heart (droid mutiny on space freighter), which no one cared about, because the game itself was so addictive.

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