Kadamba is a typical teen. He’s about to graduate high school and claim the love of the girl he adores when suddenly his world implodes. One moment he’s selling the interplanetary drug rath to a ten-year-old, the next he’s awaiting sentencing for the boy’s death.
This is the dramatic start to The Betrayal of Ka, and this science fiction thriller doesn’t let up from there to its surprise ending. In between, there is darkness and light, corruption and redemption — and, in all fairness, the reader should know this is NOT a typical, breezy YA novel.
The two planets of Koranth and Zoranth have survived the Exorthium Colonial Wars and have emerged as the primary worlds in this epic tale, connected by interplanetary portals and ruled by ruthless and dominant Corporations.
Tomar Donovackia is head of one of these powerful galactic firms — and he is also a TransProphetic, born with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. “He could move from one place to another in the blink of an eye, including through the smallest of holes, such as a keyhole.”
Celestina Wiroviana is Minister of Interplanetary Corporate Relations — the most powerful woman in a hundred solar systems — and also Tomar’s lover. Together, they are making plans for domination of the universe — including Earth, where Dylan and his younger brother Bjorn live with their mother in the teeming town of Denver, Colorado.
What do all these characters have in common? They are central to the intertwining plot of this fascinating story, which moves from one scene to the next with the speed of a space shuttle.
We find Ka being prepared for transport to the penal colony where he will spend the next twenty-five years at hard labor. It’s painful to visualize the process, which is just the first of many horrific and futuristic scenarios laid out vividly in the book:
“Again he watched as the box began to move backwards out of the stacks of cells. As it had before, the box that he was in began changing and shrinking to become shaped exactly like a coffin, forcing Kadamba into a prone position. The transparent end of the box disappeared, and Kadamba simply lay there, accepting his fate.”
Meanwhile, Celestina Wiroviana has consolidated her military might and become the dominant force on both worlds, stopping many wars and vowing planetary peace. But it’s the beginning of a much larger betrayal — and now Ka is part of it, identified as good soldier material and transferred from prison to a mandatory ten-year tour of duty in the Elite Special Forces.
And what of Dylan and his family? At fifteen he’s found his first love. Adelita, with dark, wavy hair and a timidity that tugs at his heart.
The book rolls on. Celestina discovers a mysterious sword with a storied past, and Ka visits London, Washington, D.C., and Bangkok, searching for TransProphetics — the key to establishing an interplanetary portal and the imminent rape of planet Earth.
What finally happens in this finely told tale? Does Ka continue in his role as elite soldier? Does Celestina find a way to use the fabled sword to strengthen her hold on the planets? And do Dylan and Adelita have even the remotest chance at a happily-ever-after ending to their part in this sweeping narrative?
Five stars for The Betrayal of Ka, and a warning that, as the saying goes, “once you start this book you won’t want to put it down.’