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The Army Of Light, Kestrel Saga - Volume 1 Kindle Edition

55 customer reviews

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Length: 326 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Complete Series

Editorial Reviews


A well crafted storyline with a strong character build-up that bodes well for the other segements of the series. I can't wait for the next installment.

About the Author

Born and raised in Southern California, Stephen A. Fender joined the Navy at the age of 18. During his last deployment in 1999, after being challenged to write a better book than the poorly written one his friend had lent him, he decided to take up the keyboard and write his first novel.

The result was well received by many

Having spent 10 years of his professional life as an automotive mechanic, he changed gears several years ago and now works as a software developer. In that timeframe he’s produced seven novels.

Stephen lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife, where he enjoys boating, hiking, spending time with his wonderful family, and taking the time each day to forget that he has debts to pay off.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3894 KB
  • Print Length: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Jolly Rogers Productions (JRP); 5 edition (January 22, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 22, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,706 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Stephen was born in Los Angeles, California. The son of a second-generation deputy sheriff, he spent several hours each week after school (both grade and middle) at the local library. In high school, he was highly active in art, sometimes taking as many as three art classes per year. During his junior year he enrolled in journalism, where he produced a great many articles for the Opinion page.

After high school, Stephen joined the US Navy as a computer technology specialist, working on the West Coast with an anti-submarine and scouting squadron, and later on the East Coast on board a guided missile cruiser as part of the Enterprise battle group, where he wrote his first science fiction novel while on deployment to the Persian Gulf.

Afterward, life got busy--as it usually does--and he didn't pick up the pen for nearly a decade. He began to delve into fan fiction to practice his skills, producing several complete novels which were well received. He took the skills learned in those exploits and produced his first published novel, The Army of Light, in June of 2013.

Stephen continues to work with the Navy, now as a civilian. When not working, he divides his time between hanging out with his wife, writing, or tinkering out in the garage. His singular hope is that his writing has enabled you to momentarily leave the confines of this world and transport yourself into another time, and have a grand adventure doing so.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By N. Smith on August 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this one. It had its moments, but the writing is a little on the "first time author" side, there's a plot twist that comes waaay out of left field, and the end is abrupt, coming in what I would consider the middle of a scene.

I read the whole thing, and I might even read the next novel, but its not something Im holding my breath waiting on.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Buddy Brannan on November 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed this one, and it's certainly a good first novel. What some people may have called "inane banter", I call "witty dialog". I rather like good dialogue myself, and Stephen's good at that. Good dialogue isn't easy. It's kind of interesting though, as contrast the witty dialogue with some of the awkward mixed (or just sometimes plain wrong) metaphors in descriptive passages. For instance, right in the beginning of the book, he talks about warning lights going off like lemmings. What? I know what he was going for, but I had to read it twice to be sure that it said what I thought it said. There were others like that. They may not bother most, but I'm a little bit of a word nerd I guess, and i did find that mildly distracting.

Anyway, what's not to like? Witty dialogue, a bit of mystery, some plot twists. Looking forward to the next book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lynda A. Dietz on September 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. It satisfied my search for space fiction, adventure, and witty dialogue.

Not only is it fun, but it's clean. Anyone in my family (youngest is 13) can read it and I'm not worried about what they'll find, and yet it doesn't fall into the category so many books do, where the author thinks clean = sappy. No sappy stuff here, that's for sure. Dialogue flows smoothly and even the side characters are worth listening to.

The main character, Shawn Kestrel, is a trader and a smart aleck, which gets him into trouble more often than not; all he wants to do is get his cargo delivered, get paid, and come home without being shot at. I could really enjoy hanging out with this guy. The female lead character, Melissa Graves, daughter of Kestrel's former commanding officer, is stuffy and uptight most of the time, which makes for some great conversational moments. Think _Moonlighting_ with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, but in the future in space.

One of my favorite moments is when Kestrel gets the idea that they're being chased because Melissa is "hot" (a.k.a. wanted by the law). Her reply? "While I know that it's something of an archaic term for someone who is attractive, I do suppose I've turned my share of heads in the past, and..." Shawn: "Are you some type of crazy person?" This is in the middle of fighting for their lives while trying to leave the planet, and it makes me laugh every time I've read it.

I loved this book so much, I practically begged Mr. Fender for the editing job when he decided to release an updated hardcover version of The Army of Light at the same time as the Icarus release. Now I get to read the Kestrel books before anyone else, and that suits me just fine.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sparta on November 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author builds an interesting plot with interesting main characters. Former fighter pilot Shawn Kestrel is operating a cargo ship on a rough planet and things are not going well. Without warning, the prudish daughter of his former commanding officer appears, informing Shawn that William has mysteriously disappeared—apparently the victim of foul play. The dialogue between Shawn and his "employer" reminded me of the banter you saw on a certain smuggler's ship in Star Wars. I enjoyed the story and found it entertaining to read.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Henrik Rohdin on July 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a self-published indie author on Kindle myself, I often scour the "Customers Who Bought Your Book Also Bought..." to scope out what other sci-fi indie authors are doing. I stumbled upon "Army of Light" and the blurb alone sold me - I wanted to read this book. Didn't even bother downloading the sample first. Dashing cargo pilot down on his luck getting hired by a damsel in distress to face certain death, in what promised to be a scummy, seedy universe? Sign me up!

Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Mr. Fender has a certain talent for writing dialogue and does well with long, descriptive passages of internal monologue, personal mannerisms and develops the technologies of his universe well. If anything, I'd complain that the book was so brief - I wanted to spend some more time with Shawn Kestrel as he grumbles at dangerous mercenaries who hold all the cards over him.

Some other reviewers pointed out issues with typos, which do exist on the Kindle version I downloaded last week, but I've never been the type of reader to become hung up on them. If the story is good and told well, then minor editing issues aren't a problem. Certainly nowhere near close to the issues some self-published books on Kindle have. I read another book once that was impeccably edited and was dull as hell.

"Army of Light" is engaging, exciting, with dangerous tension littered throughout... you genuinely don't know what is going to happen next. The ending leaves us with a "This is the start of a beautiful friendship moment" a la Casablanca and significantly ups the stakes with a few twists and implications at its close. Definitely worth reading if you're a fan of the genre.
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