Facing certain death on D425E25 Tertius with its poisonous atmosphere, Princess Anyu discovers her secret exile was less of a secret than she thought as new friends and even more dangerous enemies wage a now inter-galactic war in pursuit of revenge against her. Will Princess Anyu free planet Beinan or will Lord Yelu’s reign of terror endure forever?
The real masterminds behind Lord Yelu reveal themselves at last in this spicy, heart-pounding final chapter to the Peers of Beinan Series that will have you laughing, crying, and cheering right until the very end.
Targeted Age Group:: Teens and adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Princess Anyu Returns is the final book in the Peers of Beinan Series. It picks up exactly where The Ghosts of the Past leaves off as Anyu flees Beinan for D425E25 Tertius. It is the completion of that thrilling murder-mystery with even more shocking twists and turns in its pages.
As with other books in this series, the world building is lavish. With Lord Yelu firmly in control of the capital city of Hejing, readers are treated to an exploration of the planet as key surviving characters from The Ghosts of the Past organize a resistance movement based on the actual French Resistance movement in Nazi-controlled France during the 1940s. You even get to taste the food at a futuristic pub that blends Beinarian high tech with the delights of dining in pubs across the United Kingdom.
So this book is a fun book. The plot is inspired by “The Ghosts of the Past” but the world building expansions come from more artistic impulses as I blend the past with the future together.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Princess Anyu is a survivor from The Ghosts of the Past. She’s perhaps way too much like myself in her personality I must confess. She inherits her grandfathers’ fencing skills and indeed is a bit of a sword fighting prodigy — but she hates fighting and rejects her royal status in favour of her real passion: engineering. She’s very different from most royals which I think makes her very interesting.
Many of the villains in this book are from a race called The Amur. To some degree these characters are mutants from characters I developed in other writing over the years that I simply did not feel was good enough for other people to see. As with Ghosts of the Past, some of these characters are absolutely ruthless and come from the darkest parts of my childhood memories.
So there’s a lot of different influences on these characters, including, I should add, a bit of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” which I loved in childhood.
Princess Anyu walked into the alien wilderness until the local sun started to set. Hunger set in. Spotting a grove of grey-barked trees and with sore feet, the princess altered her course for the heart of the woods. Finding a small, sheltered clearing, she gently removed her pack from her back, her muscles aching almost as much as her feet and her stomach.
Touching the bark of the nearest tree, a chill penetrated her gauntlets, hinting of the cold ground beneath her. Two zhang 张 away, a shallow snow drift hinted to her about the cold; clearly this was not the best time to sleep outside. Unable to walk further and feeling weak from so much walking on so little food she sighed, pulling out her sleeping bag and attaching the removable hood to its top edges. Over the nearest tree branch above her she threw a protective tarp and staked the sides into the ground as shelter with the heat attracting side facing the outside to gather in whatever solar warmth it could capture. Beneath this, she laid a floor of similar material, tying the pieces together with a strong, efficient knot. In this assembly arrangement, the shelter was designed to maximize heat and repel strong storms.
As Anyu positioned her sleeping bag to provide as much warmth as possible she suddenly felt grateful to come from such a stormy planet filled with upper atmospheric hurricanes. By all reports, the weather here was not nearly as hostile as Beinarian weather, the wind speeds of D425E25 Tertius rarely equalling the typical winter storm in Hejing – let alone in Olos-Mir. Moving the rest of her belongings into the narrow shelter, she fished in her pack for some rations and a bottle of arnile-bilast. Pulling out a small cup, she carefully measured the arnile-bilast and mixed it with 0.5 quentchen of a red powder, stirring gently with her finger before taking a drink of what was supposed to pass for kelan juice, her nose crinkling slightly at the taste.
Finding her ration packets, Anyu tore open the tab on a pouch, watching the pouch heat up a bit while she pulled out a camping fork. Opening the larger of the two pouch food compartments, she dipped her fork into a meat covered with gravy and took a bite before opening the smaller compartments containing three small Nan-lian rolls which tasted better than they sounded. Grateful for the meal, she soaked up the gravy with the rolls, wasting not even a korn of her food. Finally, she took out a small shovel and dug a hole, burying the food packaging designed to quickly bio-degrade into food for kol-based plants before slipping into her sleeping bag, finishing her ‘kelan’ juice, and settling down for the cold night.
One shir-or later, dawn broke over the horizon, filling the trees with an odd rosy-golden light. The cries of native birds filled the air. Some sounded deep and booming. Others sounded high and frantic. All sounded alien. Casually a blue and white bird 9 cun 寸 long flew to a branch just opposite the branch supporting her shelter, letting a loud joyful call. The bird’s mate quickly joined him, cawing with delight and curiosity at Anyu. Anyu smiled and watched them, shivering a little from the morning chill before locating her tablet computer and a ration that claimed to be a
breakfast sandwich consisting of a breakfast roll, omelette, and some sort of unrecognizable breakfast meat, Anyu ate quietly. The taste was acceptable, but by no means as flavourful as the breakfast prepared by palace chefs.
Ignoring her meal as best as she could Anyu focused her attention on atmospheric readings flowing across her screen. Another snow storm looked probable, her computer estimating its arrival in 2 shir-ors. With a few clicks, Anyu hacked into data streams from twelve nearby orbiting satellites. Running much faster than any computer system on D425E25 Tertius, her computer quickly mapped out her location, area topography, and other details gained from the satellites. In three xiao-shirs, the computer found the easiest and most efficient route towards the nearest settlement with an estimated time of arrival of just one shir-or – if she could keep up the pace. Resolved to make it to shelter before the snow storm, Anyu broke camp, restoring all her belongings to the pack which somehow felt heavier than the day before. Picking up a long sturdy stick from the ground and using it to help her trek the unpredictable topography, she marched along the path set by her computer.
From sun up to sun down, Anyu marched, rarely taking breaks to rest or for a bowel movement. Instead, determined to make it to better shelter before the arrival of the coming storm, she pushed her body hard, grateful now for Lady Knight Aldris’ intense training designed to increase her stamina – and ability to win in a prolonged duel.
Just as the sun’s bottom edge touched the horizon Anyu breathed a sigh of relief. In front of her stood a green sign with white lettering which she could not read signalling, based on its artwork and context, her arrival on the outskirts of the town. A row of houses filled her view, most of them with some sort of large building structure standing two or three zhang 张 away. Cautiously she headed for the one that looked most sturdy and easiest to get into.
Inside she found several large animals, all of them smelling very bad and making very strange sounds. A large white bird ambled towards her, clucking happily before flying up to a second level loft filled with hay. Locating a narrow flight of stairs up, Princess Anyu climbed into the loft, locating a suitable camping spot for the night. Spreading first some straw beneath her, she laid down her shelter floor before decompressing her sleeping bag with its hood.
Without warning, a middle-aged man with grey-flecked sandy brown hair wearing blue jeans and a heavy winter coat entered the barn, bringing food for the cattle nestled beneath her. Anyu watched him cautiously from behind a bale of hay, carefully moving her sleeping bag and shelter floor out of sight.
After ten xiao-shirs he walked up the steps, filled two wooden hoppers full of chicken food, and then promptly left for the warmth of his house. Relieved, Anyu moved a bale of hay, rebuilding her shelter and positioning her sleeping bag to take advantage of the new position. A petite chicken with ivory and tan feathers flew up to the highest hay bale overlooking her, staring at the princess inquisitively. Anyu smiled at the bird before opening a meal ration and digging in. Another amber star hen flew up, curious at what her sister found, followed by three Rhode Island red hens, all of them clucking joyfully at the sight of the princess – and her food. The first hen jumped down, sticking her head into Anyu’s sleeping bag. Laughing, Anyu reached out to pet her soft feathers.
The chicken clucked sweetly, begging for a taste of Anyu’s rations. Anyu frowned, “Sorry! I would love to give you some, but this food might hurt you to eat and I do not want to do that. You do not have a cipher.” The chicken lowered her head disappointedly even as the sound of wind howling outside filled their ears. All too aware the wind might penetrate into the barn; Anyu stuffed her meal packaging deep into the hay bale. Almost at once, the packaging started to break down, creating some heat – though not nearly enough to set fire to anything – in the bale, warming Anyu as she slipped into the sleeping bag and went to sleep.
At three in the morning local time, heavy snow fell, persisting for one point five shir-ors and dumping 8 cun 寸 of snow and creating drifts 16 cun 寸 deep. With no real sunrise to alert her to local time, Anyu slept comfortably through the entire storm.
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