Review: Grubane, by Karl Drinkwater


Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.

His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.

But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.

Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?

Purchase Link –

Thanks to Rachel for sending me the ebook of this novella and to Karl for messaging me after I signed up for this blog tour to let me know about the blogtour. That was an amusing conversation.

The Rosie Synopsis

This novella is set before events of Lost Solace and introduces the characters of Major Grubane and his A.I. Aurikaa12. Sent to Nuafri, a peaceful planet on the edge of the UFS sphere, to force the planet to join the UFS and to kill one thousandth of the population, Grubane faces a dilemma. Aurikaa12 has developed a personality of his own (Aurikaa12 is definitely a he, just as the A.I. in Lost Solace is definitely a she). Forced to make a decision, Grubane plays chess.

The Good

I enjoyed the introduction of Major Grubane and Aurikaa12. I found the characterisation interesting and well-developed. The plot is fairly straightforward but the intercutting with Grubane’s thesis about chess adds to the complexity and gives a clue about the story and what Grubane will do.

The development of Aurikaa12’s personality and relationship with Grubane is really well written, and it is obvious that Grubane is upset at one point in the story (can’t tell you more because spoilers).

The story adds background information about the UFS and the twisted religion that runs it. I think that the novellas and short stories would make a good collection, once Karl has written a few more.

The Not-So-Good

Nothing I can think of.

The Verdict

Another fine addition to the Lost Solace universe.

Reviews for other novels and novellas in the series


Lost Solace

Chasing Solace

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

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