Related to: 'From Distant Stars'


From Darkest Skies

Sam Peters
Sam Peters

After a five year sabbatical following the tragic death of his wife and fellow agent Alysha, Keon Rause returns to the distant colony world of Magenta to resume service with the Magentan Intelligence Service. With him he brings an artificial recreation of his wife's personality, a simulacrum built from every digital trace she left behind. She has been constructed with one purpose - to discover the truth behind her own death - but Keon's relationship with her has grown into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that verges on love.Cashing in old favours, Keon uses his return to the Service to take on a series of cases that allow him and the artificial Alysha to piece together his wife's last days. His investigations lead him inexorably along the same paths Alysha followed five years earlier, to a sinister and deadly group with an unhealthy fascination for the unknowable alien Masters; but as the wider world of Magenta is threatened with an imminent crisis, Keon finds himself in a dilemma: do his duty and stand with his team to expose a villainous crime, or sacrifice them all for the truth about his wife?

Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works which have been international bestsellers. She was awarded the Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2000 and was made a DBE in 2011 for services to literature.Her previous books include Mary Queen of Scots, King Charles II, The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England, which won the Wolfson History Prize, Marie Antoinette: The Journey, Perilous Question: The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832 and The King and the Catholics: The Fight for Rights 1829. Must You Go?, a memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, was published in 2010, and My History: A Memoir of Growing Up in 2015. She lives in London.Visit Antonia Fraser's website at

Erle Stanley Gardner

Born in Malden, Massachusetts, Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) left school in 1909 and attended Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana for just one month before he was suspended for focusing more on his hobby of boxing than his academic studies. Soon after, he settled in California, where he taught himself the law and passed the state bar exam in 1911. The practise of law never held much interest for him, however, apart from as it pertained to trial strategy, and in his spare time he began to write for the pulp magazines that gave Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler their start. Not long after the publication of his first novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws, featuring Perry Mason, he gave up his legal practice to write full time. He had one daughter, Grace, with his first wife, Natalie, from whom he later separated. In 1968 Gardner married his long-term secretary, Agnes Jean Bethell, whom he professed to be the real 'Della Street', Perry Mason's sole (although unacknowledged) love interest. He was one of the most successful authors of all time and at the time of his death, in Temecula, California in 1970, is said to have had 135 million copies of his books in print in America alone.

Fiona Ford

Fiona Ford was born in Cornwall and grew up in Bath. As well as having a thirst for books Fiona had a huge interest in history and adored listening to her grandfather talk about his time in the navy during World War Two. Together they spent many a happy afternoon poring over the large collection of photos he had taken travelling the globe, somehow managing to perfectly capture life during wartime. Although Fiona went on to develop a successful career as a journalist, she never forgot her passion for the past. Now, Fiona has combined her love of writing with her love of days gone by in The Spark Girl, the first in a series of wartime sagas.Find out more about Fiona by following her on twitter @fionajourno, or visiting her website

Flynn Berry

FLYNN BERRY is a graduate of the Michener Center and has been awarded a Yaddo residency. She graduated from Brown University. Her first novel Under the Harrow was awarded the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and was called 'a triumph' (Sunday Times) and 'thrilling' (New York Times). Her second novel, A Double Life, will be published by W&N in summer 2018.Flynn lives in

Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert (1920-86) was born in Tacoma, Washington and worked as a reporter and later editor of a number of West Coast newspapers before becoming a full-time writer. His first SF story was published in 1952 but he achieved fame more than ten years later with the publication in Analog of 'Dune World' and 'The Prophet of Dune' that were amalgamated in the novel Dune in 1965.

Geoffrey Household

Geoffrey Household (1900-1988)Geoffrey Household was a prolific novelist of political thrillers and suspense stories, most notably the classic Rogue Male, which, The Times recently declared, 'remains as exciting and probing as ever'. He was as widely travelled as the settings of his books suggest: after graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, with a first in English literature he worked abroad for 25 years, and served in British Intelligence during World War II in Greece and the Middle East. He married twice and eventually settled in the English countryside with his wife and three children.

Geraldine O'Neill

Geraldine O'Neill is the author of the Tara Flynn trilogy, set in 1950s Ireland. She was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and has lived in County Offaly, Ireland, since 1991. Formerly a schoolteacher in Ireland and UK, she now writes full time. She is married to Michael Brosnahan, has two adult children and has recently become a grandmother, which she loves.

Greg Egan

Greg Egan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has won the John W. Campbell award for Best Novel and has been short listed for the Hugo three times.

Helena Hunting

Helena Hunting discovered the Twilight saga after the birth of her first child. She read during nap time; holding her daughter in one arm and her book in the other. She fell in love with the tortured characters, and the pain that relationships can sometimes bring. The story compelled her to start writing again, and she discovered fanfiction, exposing her to a whole new subculture of writing. And so began the tale of Hayden Stryker and Tenley Page - a pair of tormented young people who fall desperately in love, despite the odds stacked against them.

Ian Rankin

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide.Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull and the Open University.A contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts. Rankin is a number one bestseller in the UK and has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons. Twitter @Beathhigh

Isabel Ashdown

Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up on the south coast of England. She is the author of four novels and winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. After giving up a successful career in product marketing to study English at the University of Chichester, her debut GLASSHOPPER was published and named as one of the best books of the year by the Observer and the London Evening Standard. She has a first class degree in English and an MA in Creative Writing with distinction. In 2014 Isabel was Writer in Residence at the University of Brighton, where she has taught on their Creative Writing MA. Along with dachshund Leonard she is a volunteer for Pets as Therapy, as part of their Read2Dogs scheme. Isabel lives in West Sussex with her carpenter husband, two children and their dogs.

Jack Vance

Jack Vance (1916-2013)John Holbrook Vance was born in 1916 and studied mining, engineering and journalism at the University of California. During the Second World War he served in the merchant navy and was torpedoed twice. He started contributing stories to the pulp magazines in the mid 1940s and published his first book, The Dying Earth, in 1950. Among his many books are The Dragon Masters, for which he won his first Hugo Award, Big Planet, The Anome, and the Lyonesse sequence. He has won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, amongst others, and in 1997 was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Jaine Fenn

Jaine Fenn studied Linguistics and Astronomy at university before embarking on a career as an IT consultant. She is the author of the Hidden Empire books PRINCIPLES OF ANGELS, CONSORTS OF HEAVEN, GUARDIANS OF PARADISE, BRINGER OF LIGHT and QUEEN OF NOWHERE. She lives with her husband in Hampshire.You can learn more at, or by following @jainefenn on twitter.

James Barclay

James Barclay is the author of the Chronicles of the Raven and Legends of the Raven series, which have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The Raven saga came to a conclusion with the stunning Ravensoul. He also penned the epic fantasy duology The Ascendants of Estorea and completed an Elves trilogy: Elves: Once Walked With Gods, Elves: Rise of the Tai'Gethen and Elves: Beyond the Mists of Katura.James Barclay lives in Teddington with his wife and two children. Find out more on his website,, or follow @barculator on Twitter.

James Hadley Chase

Born René Brabazon Raymond in London, the son of a British colonel in the Indian Army, James Hadley Chase (1906-1985) was educated at King's School in Rochester, Kent, and left home at the age of 18. He initially worked in book sales until, inspired by the rise of gangster culture during the Depression and by reading James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, he wrote his first novel, No Orchids for Miss Blandish. Despite the American setting of many of his novels, Chase (like Peter Cheyney, another hugely successful British noir writer) never lived there, writing with the aid of maps and a slang dictionary. He had phenomenal success with the novel, which continued unabated throughout his entire career, spanning 45 years and nearly 90 novels. His work was published in dozens of languages and over thirty titles were adapted for film. He served in the RAF during World War II, where he also edited the RAF Journal. In 1956 he moved to France with his wife and son; they later moved to Switzerland, where Chase lived until his death in 1985.

Jean Pendziwol

Jean E. Pendziwol is an award-winning Canadian author of books for children. Once Upon a Northern Night was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award and the 2014 TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards Book of the Year. The Lightkeeper's Daughters is her debut novel for adults. She lives in Ontario in the shadow of the Nor'Wester Mountains near Lake Superior.

Joe Ide

Joe Ide grew up in South Central Los Angeles. His favourite books were the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. The idea that a person could face the world and vanquish his enemies with just his intelligence fascinated him. Joe went on to earn a graduate degree and had several careers before writing IQ, his debut novel, inspired by his early experiences and love of Sherlock. Joe lives in Santa Monica,

June Hampson

June Hampson was born in Gosport, Hampshire, where she still lives. She has had a variety of jobs including waitress, fruit picker, barmaid, shop assistant and market trader selling second-hand books.

Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2004. He is also a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. He is the author of many novels and short stories and has won numerous awards for his mystery writing. He lives and works in New York City.