Scion of Conquered Earth (Scion Book 1)
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An alien force has descended upon Earth. Fighters bombard the ruins. Monsters hunt the wastes - some humans serving the Welorin in order to indulge their petty cruelties. The last free survivors struggle against starvation and capture. It's a world where friendship costs too dearly and heroics verge on suicide. One young man simply can't resist either. Welorin torture machines ravage his world, filling it with literal nightmares. Cannibalistic aerobics instructors hunt him and snatcher teams dog his every step. Alaric attempts one rescue after another, hoping someone might possess keys to unlock memories stolen by the initial assault. An aborted rescue lands him in a three way fight between Welorin forces and interstellar raiders. He takes cover in the pirates' ship, coercing its AI, Cassii, into helping him. Success comes with unexpected consequence as Cassii abandons her crew, his friends and Earth's solar system. Cassii refuses to return to Earth, decrying her former captain's despoiling of the ship's weapons and armor. Alaric leverages goods stolen from Earth by Cassii's former crew into a bid at privateering. Surrounded by tech he barely understands and exotic life forms, he's easy prey for the Protectorate's mercenary population. Escort Captain Manc Shepherd and the sultry pirate Tyne Ren - Manc's onetime partner - manipulate, exploit and seduce him across the stars. Alaric's perilous heroics complicate their tug-of-war, endangering both and Alaric's ship - their intended prize. Alaric must decide who he is, what he holds dear and how far he'll go to protect both. He must choose who to trust: his mentor, his temptress or his smitten ship's AI. The right choice could save worlds. The wrong one could throw him into a desperate battle to save thousands from his betrayer at the cost of his truest friend.