A young man wakes up in a hospital room, completely unharmed, on a distant planet with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. Within moments, he is set upon by anonymous assailants, kicking off a cat-and-mouse game that will span entire worlds and civilizations. But just who is he? Mitchell, some call him. MH-217 is another name he hears, its very mention sparking something in the back of his mind. Remembering his true nature could ultimately be the key to his survival—and also might help explain why he seems imbued with the strength of ten men, and the regenerative stamina of a starfish. As secrets spill out among MH-217’s friends and enemies, one thing becomes clear: real peace will not come easy to this sprawling empire. And no one is getting out of this without blood on their hands.
The Shroud of Peace synthesizes the pulpy sophistication of sci-fi thrillers like Blade Runner with the sheer xenophilic imagination of more expansive stories like Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga. Gunplay pulses on page after page, driving readers from one exotic locale to the next. For its relatively short length, Szymkowicz manages to fit in both an entertaining storyline and some surprisingly sensible commentary on the dangers of racism and nationalism, which sadly seem to plague even our brethren in space. The novel’s final act sets up a fantastic starting point for a sequel, and we desperately hope the author will decide to continue this stellar story in another book.