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Cassandra Kresnov Books In Order

Publication Order of Cassandra Kresnov Books

Crossover (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Breakaway (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Killswitch (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
23 Years on Fire (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Operation Shield (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Originator (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Cassandra Kresnov series are a series of Military/Post-Cyberpunk science fiction thriller novels written by Joel Shepherd, the popular science fiction author from Adelaide. The first novel in the series was the highly popular “Crossover” first published in 2001. With the first novel in the series becoming one of Shepherd’s most popular ever, he went on to publish several more titles in the series that is still ongoing. Even as artificial humans are the norm in science fiction from the works of the likes of Fritz Lang and Karel Capek, androids, robots and their ilk have become a figure of speech in science fiction. However, Shepherd makes good use of traditional science fiction elements in coming up with some of the most original narratives in the Cassandra Kresnov series. Nonetheless, even as the series of novels have the occasional philosophical discussion, they should not be confused with novels such as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, which is more of a meditation of the meaning of humanity. Even as the series includes the typical android on the run moments, it is vastly different from titles such as “Blade Runner” that are chock full of brooding dystopia. Nevertheless, cyberspace and intrigue are critical components in the novel series, which are more of a space opera, military science fiction adventure narratives. The series of novels are set in the planet Callay, where the lead character and her allies constantly have to protect themselves from dark forces that threaten to destroy all that they cherish.

The lead character in the Cassandra Kresnov series is Cassandra (Sandy) Kresnov, who despite looking like a normal human being is actually not. Sandy is a powerful and incredibly advanced android designed by the League as a super soldier, to fight in its interstellar wars with their mortal enemy the Federation. The Federation is a conservative and powerful organization that is opposed to happiness on the planet Callay. Even as Cassandra is more creative, intelligent, and far more effective than any androids that have come before her, she is still an experimental design. It is not long before Sandy flees from the League to go live in the Federation, an action that sets off heated discussions on the subject of human rights. While Sandy is not considered human, she has the intellect to ask some hard questions that lead to a moral awakening. She hates her role in the League and goes to the Federation, where she believes she can find a new better life. In an interstellar conflict, Sandy is one of the most lethal weapons that each side would need to have to win any confrontation. She is the most advanced android in either world and is more intelligent, agile, and considerably stronger than your regular human. Nevertheless, even as she looks more human than her predecessors do, she still falls in the uncanny valley between human and machine, which presents quite the moral and philosophical dilemma on her standing and rights in the society. Some people outright hate, others discriminate, others sympathize while some prefer to use her as a tool.

Joel Shepherd does a good job unwrapping the fictional universe he has created, gradually revealing details about the origins of the League and the Federation over the course of the series. Despite the constant reflections on the nature of humanity an interstellar politics, the novels offer edge of your seat and pulse pounding action. Joel Shepherd combines elaborate combat scenes with spectacular and complex universe building skills that is similar to the science fiction of Peter F. Hamilton. Interweaving Cassandra’s personal story with a futuristic galaxy that is rich in detail, he offers an enticingly non-Eurocentric view of the future. In general, the League, which is more technocratic, is majority Chinese as compared to the Federation that is majorly African, Arabian, and Indian. In fact, one of the biggest themes in the series is the struggle to find a solution to the constant bickering between the cultures. However, the politics never get in the way of the action that remains as high tempo as ever. The prose is completely transparent, well written, and a clear demonstration of Joel Shepherd’s skills in world building that he attained from working in film. He makes some of the most complicated action scenes very intriguing and watchable, that the idea of a movie for the series has been mooted.

“Cassandra”, the first novel in the Cassandra Kresnov series of novels is about an android, an artificial person named Cassandra that was designed by the League to fight the conservative and powerful Federation. What they did not count on was that her intellect would awaken her moral imperative and lead to her desertion to their nemesis the Federation. Sandy lives in Tanusha, a decadent metropolis in the planet Callay, where the concerns of war are figuratively and literally light years away. But the war between the two opposing camps are more political as they are ideological, particularly with regard to the rules governing creation of sentience and its very existence. Cassandra finds out that many in the Federation and the League want her dead. She is now fighting against a society that believes that she has no right to exist. Being in Tanusha reveals that there are more fault lines to her society than she thought as Federal spies try to take out the president of Callay. She is now forced to put her lethal skills and join her former enemies to protect their world from forces they could never hope to control. Struggling to survive in her world and find a place to call her own, she is forced to form alliances with old enemies even as she is attempting to deal with some of the most deadly and disturbing realities regarding her existence.

“Breakaway” the second novel in the series is an explosive sequel to the first novel in the Cassandra Kresnov series of novels. Cassandra Kesnov has fled the League and is now resident in the planet Callay, one of the leading members of the Federation. Given her exceptional skills, she has been incorporated into the president’s security team where she has already saved the president’s life once. However, not everyone in Callay is happy with her presence on their planet, meaning she has to be extra vigilant with her safety. With Callay preparing for a vote that will determine the future of the planet in the Federation, confusion and terror become the order of the day. Besides the League’s embassy in Callay may just decide to kidnap and take her back to the world that she left behind and never wants to return to. With strong characters and a cracking plot, “Breakaway” is definitely one of the best science fiction novels ever written by Joel Shepherd.

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