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Publisher's Summary

Count Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he'd been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland. Their mission for him? Destroy his clone before he's used to rouse the defeated Crius Archduchy from their apathy.

©2016 Charles Phipps (P)2017 David N. Wilson

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Surprising

Part epic space saga, part comedy of errors, Lucifer's Star surprised me with its world building and plot depth. Just when I'd think the end was near, another layer would unravel, and the plot would rocket in a new direction. The narrator did a great job with the different voices, but I'd have to say Ida was my favorite. She fairly screamed "cantankerous old lady"! A very enjoyable listen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bioroids! Drunk space royalty! Crafty spymaster!

Set in a galaxy far, far away, Cassius Mass, supreme star pilot, has lost his faith in his side of the war. All his life he believed he was fighting for the right side, the Crius Archduchy. Alas, the Archduchy fell to the Commonwealth and people rejoiced (much to Cassius’s surprise). Now he spends his days drunk navigating a freight hauler, the Melampus, going by the name Marcus Grav. That is, until he’s swept up into intrigue and revolution.

I know I have said this before about a new-to-me Phipps series: This is my favorite of Phipps’s works! Well, I say it again. This gripping scifi story is a little darker than some of his other works and yet still has moments of humor and all of it has this space opera feel going for it. I was rooting for Cassius throughout the story since I felt he would do his best to get the least number of average people killed.

Then I started rooting for Ida Claire, a spy master and captain of the Melampus who may or may not be on Cassius’s side, because she was so damn interesting! I kept picturing her with a bit of knitting as she read over the latest spy logs, quietly drinking rum-spiked tea and casually checking off boxes on the log that would determine who lived and who died. I know. She never had any knitting in the book and yet I always picture her with knitting. Maybe the knitting needle tips are poison dipped.

Let’s talk about Cassius’s tangled family tree. So he’s technically a clone of his father, yet he was raised as a sibling with his father’s biological offspring…. so that makes them his, well, we’ll go with siblings for now. Someone learned from that and decided to make a clone of Cassius to raise an Archduchy rebellion against the Commonwealth. Now Ida wants to stop that uprising and hunt down this clone and whoever is controlling him. Obviously, things are going to get messy for Cassius who was raised to have strong familial ties.

I loved the bioroids! Originally crafted to serve as a slave work force, sometimes a bioroid breaks free and spends the rest of their days working on some rundown freight hauler. Take Isla Hernandez, a medical officer, who is glad for her freedom but still harbors plenty of anger. The bioroids plight put me in mind of the human-like AI robots of Bladerunner and Battlestar Galactica.

There’s also aliens! Yes! Humanity knows they exist but has very little to do with them, per the aliens’ choice. We’re not evolved enough to be of interest. Then there’s the nearly alien Chel, a race of once-humans that are so far removed from humanity in purpose, biology, and technology that they are considered alien by most. Clarice has had contact with them and it wasn’t pretty. She’s got her own scars to keep tucked away.

Cassius is in a relationship with Isla, who used to be in a relationship with William… so there’s some personal tension between the two men. There’s also the young Hiro who is everyone’s little brother and he does Cassius a good turn, earning his trust. It’s a ragtag crew that often put me in mind of Firefly.

My one little quibble is that I found Cassius a bit too trusting beyond reason. He has plenty of hints that a member of the Melampus is working for a different team but is then surprised when that betrayal comes to pass. Same thing when he meets up with his siblings once again. Since we’re experiencing the entire tale through Cassius’s eyes, if we see it, then Cassius sees it as well. So I felt it was just a touch clunky trying to portray these hints of forthcoming betrayal and yet still keep Cassius’s blinders on.

All around, I really enjoyed this tale. There’s plenty of skirmishes, spy networks, and individuals making plays for personal gain. Most of our would-be heroes have deep scars that affect their choices, which in turn, put them or others in great peril. I also loved the witty humor that kept popping up, providing breaks from the grimdark feel of the overall story. Plus, there were a few references to iconic movies such as The Godfather and Airplane. I’m so looking forward to Book 2!

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Eric Burns was an excellent narrator for this story. I loved his voice for Ida, which could range from sweet grandmotherly to brutally honest. He also made a really good Cassius, holding onto that sense of honor throughout the story. He did a great job with the humor as well as the grim moments, expressing the right mix of emotions for any given scene.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • 05-26-17

A Blast of a Book

For some reason recently, I haven't been reading as many science fiction books as I used to. I think that Lucifer's Star might change that for me. It was an absolute blast to read with twists and turns that could make even the most cybernetically-enhanced stomach turn.

C.T. Phipps is quickly becoming an everyday name in my bookshelves. The best part is that it's not in just one genre. He's written books in numerous genres, including ones that I wouldn't normally read that I've absolutely loved. You can easily add Lucifer's Star to the list of books from Phipps that I've loved.

The story has some of my favorite Sci-Fi characters I've ever read. A former star pilot, his doppelganger, a semi-psychotic version of a Disney princess (hint -- it's the cold one), this story easily has some of my favorite characters ever.

Another aspect that I found myself enjoying was that pretty much every character lied in some way, shape, or form -- and this is pointed out numerous times by Mass to the point where he is getting extremely tired of it (which gave me a good chuckle). The irony is that the lying and deceit ended up being a major part of the book allowing me to get lost (literally, at one point I felt like I was reading a part "who done it?" book). Each character had their own little (or big) lie and it played itself out by the end of the book.

This might be my favorite Phipps book to date -- it's definitely up there with Agent G (which I absolutely loved). I have not read his Supervillainy series, but I might have to give it a try after how much I've loved each one of his books so far.

I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in this series and I hope that it's just as fun as Lucifer's Star was. With that said, this book didn't feel like a "part 1 of 6" book either. This had a nice story arc that plays itself out throughout.

The narration for Lucifer's Star was done by Eric Burns who I thought did a nice job with it. I love when I can just put a book on and be transported to another world. Phipps & Suttkus combined with Burns' narration allowed me to do that.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook -- it has not affected my review in any way.

If you enjoyed my review, please vote for it. Every vote really does help! If you'd like to see more like it, click on my profile here or check out BriansBookBlog DOT com.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Hoping for a series!!!

Great space saga! Phipps continues to write great stories! I enjoyed his Cthulhu Armageddon series so far and this is just as good! Great sci-fi writer! I didn't want to out this book down! So many different forms of life including artificial life. Great characters! I'd was probably my favorite aside from Cassius. I truly hope Phipps decides to write more in this series! Excellent narration by Eric Burns. This is the first time I've heard of him. He does a great job with all the voices, especially Ida!

...and don't call me Shirley! lol. I laughed so hard at that!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredibly deep dark sci fi tale

What would you do if you found out the cause you struggled and sacrificed so much for, the very nation you fought for, was actually the bad side, the greater of two evils? How would you reconcile that in your mind? That is the issue Cassius Mass, the Fire Count, ex-Crius Archduchy Fighter pilot and noble, as well as the clone of a noble, has to deal with five years after his side lost the last war against the Commonwealth.


He has been on the run, hiding, and for a time, fighting against the people who brought down his country and killed all those he loved in a night of fire and death. Now he is navigator on a space freighter, just keeping a low profile hoping he will be forgotten. When his lover Isla tells him she knows who he is, and reveals her own secret, that she is a bioroid (a human body with a robotic brain), this touches off a series of events that will effect the power of the galaxy as its known. The ship's Captain Ida is secretly a commonwealth Watcher (Think secret police), and she too knows who Cassius is, and she will get him a pardon and get his fortune released if he agrees to perform a task for her. This task it to infiltrate a ship and get Ida's intel source out, with the vital information she has. The problem? After they get onto the ship, Cassius discovers the source is his dead sister Zoe, or at least her duplicate bioroid, and the secrets she carries could bring down the commonwealth or the Crius resistance and even draw in aliens into a conflict with humanity! The story continues on with a series of adventures, double and triple crosses, betrayals, tortures and revelations about the crew and about the nature of the ultimate enemy, leading to the climactic final scenes where Cassius must decide which side, if any, to ally himself with, all while staying true to his own beliefs. All in all, one incredibly complex and deep dark science fiction plot.

As with all CT Phipps books, this one is very character driven. As good as all the sci fi elements are, the complexity of the plot is, it is the characters that drive everything. From Cassius, the war hero pilot who was cloned by a powerful noble to displace his two natural born children, and has struggled to follow his own path, to Isla, the beautiful burned bioroid who was a pleasure slave and is now struggling to be free against her programming, to Clarice, Isla's other lover and a woman with a past as deep as Cassius, the cast of characters all have many hidden layers. their motivations make sense in the context of their environments. They all have interesting back stories, which are slowly drawn out throughout the book. This group of characters is very much an example of reactions showcasing nature vs. nurture. Can a noble's clone from an amoral society built on slavery and privilege, a feudal society in all but name, safeguard the lives of those that in a previous life he wouldn't have given a whit about? Can a bioroid pleasure slave violate her programming and fight for what she believes in? These are the types of quandaries the characters have to deal with, and so many more. When these characters all find out what is behind all the plots, will they stay and fight, or cut and run? You'll have to read it to find out, but it is worth the time investment.

The plot is very complex, with many twists and turns, betrayals, double and even triple crosses. It seemed everyone in the book had at least one secret, and many of the characters had multiple secrets. As always, even when dealing with very dark subject matter, CT Phipps manages to inject some humor and snark into the proceedings, keeping this from turning into Grimdark Game of Thrones in space. The characters are all relatable on some level, which is not something every writer excels at creating, but which this author has always managed. As you read further in the book, new layers open up before you, sucking you deeper into the story. The sci fi elements are all really well executed, and there are even a few new touches for the genre that definitely have the WOW factor to them. Definitely a treat for sci fi fans.

The narration work is handled by Eric Burns. I was surprised at how well a relative newcomer like Eric handled the various voices, from the crew of the Melampus to the various other worlders and the Chel. He does a great job creating various voices through tone and cadence for the various male and female characters. His narration was steady, varying pitch and speed to the action.All in all, an excellent job bringing the story and characters to life.



The author is working on the sequel, and I can't wait to get into it! You will find yourself getting invested in these various characters, and wanting to see where their next adventure takes them. The story theme, that struggles like this are more shades of grey, rather than black and white, are topical in any time. I cant recommend this book highly enough to any fans of sci fi or thrillers. It is in a class all its own!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great space story! Great narration!

The story was fun to listen too. I didn't want my commute to end so I could listen to more!
I cant wait to listen to the next book.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary
review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Lucifer's star

Lucifer’s Star is about Cassius Mass, a nobleman fighter pilot who comes to a startling realization about his identity—and from there, the book barrels forward into a series of betrayals and discoveries, each one seeming to end a chapter and compel you forward into the next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another Phipps hit

This is the fourth or fifth book I've read (listened to) by CT Phipps. He's gotten continually better and his storylines have become more robust and developed with each novel he writes.

Lucifer's Star is a high fantasy book masquerading as a space opera. The themes and elements of the story would be just as comfortable in a George RR Martin kingdom as they are hurtling across the universe. Murder, intrigue, misplaced loyalties, and warfare abound.

Pick this one up!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Worth a listen

Any additional comments?

I want to start by saying that I think the rating system used by Audible is broken. It seems that if a book is half-decent the listener will give it 5 stars, so it's hard to actually get an accurate idea as to how good a book is. I think 5 stars should be reserved for your absolute favourite books, 4 stars should be reserved for really good books that are just short of amazing, and 3 stars for good books worth reading/listening to.

This book is worth listening to and was enjoyable, but it had its problems. In particular, it can be a bit cliché at times (especially at the beginning) and the protagonist is too perfect. However, there are a lot of good ideas in this book and I definitely enjoyed listening to it.

Another thing worth noting is the narration. If you're like me and you listen to books at 3x speed you'll notice that some narrators sound unintelligible at around 2.5x speed. Burns sounded clear at 3x, and Lucifer's Star was straightforward enough to follow the whole time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Space Opera

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Probably so - with a caveat

Any additional comments?

Mixed feelings about this one. Story has potential and overall an enjoyable book. The narration was a problem for me - as noted by another reviewer, the dramatic (or overly dramatic) inflection didn't seem to match what was actually going on with the characters at times. The humor didn't require the narrator's over exhortation to come through and it was a distraction. For this reason, I also think that this would have been a better read in print.This issue aside, book is fun space opera.I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott Kaelen
  • 11-10-18

A darkly humourous far-future sci fi

I listened to the audiobook of this far-future, ship-based, first-person sci fi novel and I really enjoyed it. The combination of C.T. Phipps’s highly-detailed galactic history, strong prose and character interactions, plus Eric Burns’s excellent narrative delivery – especially the dialogue, most notably of the main character, Cassius – make the audio version of Lucifer’s Star a fun and atmospheric ride and a difficult book to stop listening to. The gestalt entity of Phipps-Burns switches flawlessly from gritty drama to dark humour in this first novel of what I’m sure is an epic space opera series. I highly recommend it.

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  • MR
  • 09-11-18

Great Sci-Fi action

I really enjoyed this story, its set in a complex universe with multiple factions and characters but structured in a way to not leave you confused. The story is full of action and suspense managing to keep the story interesting without getting tedious.

The author does a great job at bringing the characters to life, each with their own distinctive voice.

I already have the next installment of this series and cannot wait to get it started.

please note that I was provided with a free copy of this audiobook to provide a non-biased review

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 08-30-18

Darkly comic swashbuckling space opera


Cassius Mass is on the run for war crimes, hiding out as navigator on a tramp merchant spaceship. Because Mass is really an ace starfighter pilot with over four hundred kills to his name, cybernetic enhancements and a proton sword hidden in his quarters. In a galaxy far, far away, Mass would be an innocent man out to clear his name – but here he’s just trying to survive. Because this is a darkly comic work which upends the usual expectations, with no Jedi, no Force and no good guys and survival being everyone’s aim.
Mass’ team of killer cyborgs, rogue sex androids, clones, double (or triple) agents and other desperadoes takes on a mission which will restore his fortune, get the authorities off his trail, and might just save the galaxy. The merchant ship blasts off for a dangerous rendezvous…It’s space opera, or rather space comic opera, as even in the most serious situation the characters can’t resist cracking jokes.
The setting is the aftermath of a war between the evil and fascist Archduchy, which has been defeated by the evil and corrupt Commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s competing evil and machievallian intelligence agencies are rooting out the remnants of the Archduchy, but are also threatened by the evil and inhuman Chel, and the “Free Systems Alliance” rebels…who are evil and violent terrorists. There are other parties involved too, including merchant guilds, slavers and aliens. Just nobody nice.
The fun here is the combination of galactic warfare, from space battles to blaster shootouts to power-armor punch-ups and swordfights, with Phipps snark-infested dialog. There’s a decided disrespect for the norms of the genre – the protagonist pokes fun at a popular series called ‘Space Voyage’ about a noble, heroic starship crew. The plot goes through some convolutions and revelations abound. Sometimes it gets hard to keep track of who is on which side, or indeed whether Mass is on anyone’s side, but the action keeps rolling along the answers arrive in due course.
Eric Burns does a terrific job of narrating, switching easily from gravel-voiced spacers to girlish sidekicks while keeping an almost straight face the whole way through.
A kind of anti-Star Wars, with a dash of Blade Runner thrown in, Lucifer’s Star is a fun swashbuckling adventure.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 06-22-17

An interesting space adventure

C. T. Phipps and, Michael Suttkus have done a great job with this book it is well written and the great narration makes this book is an enjoyable listen.

Each character has their own goals, personality, and history adding to the richness of the story enhanced by the unique voice Eric Burns's narration give them. The story is well paced and the action scenes feel quick and intense. The setting has a lot of history and in is interesting seeing it in the past with the flashback and in the present. As the story goes on you find out more and more about why things are happening. I really want to find out what might be next for the characters I hope there is a sequel.

I think they dynamics between the characters are very well done and the flashbacks are handled well giving you enough information and not side tracking the whole story. The development of the main character as they learn more about their past and the truths about their home nation. The ragtag crew of the ship is just brilliant and reminds be very much of Firefly I love the old granny captain.


I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone that like space adventures.
5/5



I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Norma Miles
  • 06-13-17

"We're not criminals. We are - differently legal!"

Any additional comments?

... or, "Okay, what the hell is going on?"
This is a great space romp, humerously written with a fun story of constantly changing parameters. The author has drawn an interesting universe, in which The Commonwealth has been expanding, absorbing all other planetary governments into itself. Only one had escaped defeat: a strange people known as the Chell.
Cassius Mass had fought valiantly against the Commonwealth but had been unable to save his home world. But he survived. Famous (or infamous) for his war deeds and fighter pilot skills, and with a price on his head, he changes identities and gets work as a navigator on a freight ship. When a lookalike version of himself starts appearing on news channels inviting people to join a resistance faction, Cassius finds his secret identity isn't quite as secret as he had thought ... And nearly everything else is somewhat different, too.

A really enjoyable book with great characters, good dialogue and a story which just keeps on shifting. There are humans, AIs, bioroids, clones, genetically enhanced people and aliens, spies everywhere, and even a two hundred plus year old grandmother, Captain of the freight ship, with her mechanical aid, Hunkajunk, probably the oldest robot still in use, now you really don't want to annoy her.

The.narration by Eric Burns is excellent, giving individual voice to the numerous characters and his reading of the text between dialogue is in an expressive, well paced enthusiasm very fitting to the action and pleasing to the ear. One or two tiny slips but, overall, an impressive performance.

I was very fortunate to receive my copy of Lucifer's Star as a gift from the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom. My thanks. I really enjoyed the numerous confusions as beliefs and expectations prove wrong and new directions are introduced. Lots of ingenious fight scenes and I loved the humour which bubbles up throughout. Some interesting ideas, too. If you are looking for the more usual battle between good and evil, this is not the book for you. But if intrigue and double dealing with a 'hero' as confused about his place in the greater scheme of things as the listener is sure to become, then don't delay - get this book now, read, enjoy and then, like me, hope that another adventure will soon follow.