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Breakaway: A Cassandra Kresnov Novel (Cassandra Kresnov Novels) Paperback – April 3, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Casandra Kresnov Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this action-packed sequel to Crossover (2006), Australian author Shepherd revisits the far-future multiracial capital city Tanusha, where two factions, the League and the Federation, war over the future of the planet Callay, and the enigmatic android heroine, Sandy, gets caught in between. The personal complicates the political as the League sends a delegation, and Sandy, as ex-League, worries that they want her back even as the Tanushans fear that she'll suddenly switch sides. As the Federation and the League struggle for ascendancy, Sandy must learn to trust Ari and Ayako, a covert ops team looking for the Tanushan underground. Lurching from crisis to crisis, Sandy, for all her abilities, must learn to depend on others, even as she finds that her struggle is more than just a job—she now has something worth fighting for. Beneath the glitz of snazzy weaponry, unstoppable heroes and byzantine political machinations is a very real struggle about the nature of humanity and trust. (Apr.)
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About the Author

Joel Shepherd was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1974. He has studied Film and Television, International Relations, has interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, and traveled widely in Asia. His first trilogy, the Cassandra Kresnov Series, consists of Crossover, Breakaway and Killswitch. Visit Joel Shepherd's Web site at www.joelshepherd.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cassandra Kresnov Novels
  • Paperback: 427 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; US First Edition edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025405
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. D. Geiss on July 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This project by Mr. Shepherd is quite ambitious and it is for that wider ranging scope that I'm parceling out the 5 stars. Is it the best of this type of visionary far future speculating that has been such a cornerstone of Science Fiction since I began reading it so many years ago with Issac Assimov, Poul Anderson and others? No, probably not. But it's good, real good, and there's no four and a half star rating available, so full marks.

Much like Assimov with his Robot and Foundation epics this series of books (2 out and one more planned) asks some questions about what we are as a species, as political and cultural groups, and as individuals. And by golly, it asks! There are no obvious answers provided, just folks doing the best (sometime good, sometimes dreadful) that they can. Anybody with the paucity of wit to say it lacks all merit says more about him or her self than about this future day Cassandra story as told by Mr. Shepherd.

Cassandra, of course, was a figure from Greek mythology. So beautiful was she that she turned the head of Appolo. He first gave her the gift of prophecy and, when she jilted him, cursed her by making everyone disbelieve her predictions. Certainly this Cassandra is both blessed and cursed as well, if not by a denizen of Mt. Olympus, by one of our current substitues for those gods and goddesses, science. This Cassandra doesn't have the original's prescience, but she is beautiful, implacably deadly, strong, fast, smart, sexually promiscuous (sort of), did I mention implacably deadly, and all of 15 actual years old.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Breakaway, the second Cassandra Kresnov novel by Australian SF and fantasy author Joel Shepherd, picks up soon after the ending of series opener Crossover. Sandy, a highly advanced artificial human with military training, is now attached to a squad of SWAT agents, while also helping the government of Callay review its network security. Despite the sensitive nature of this work, and her ongoing integration into Callay society, many political and religious factions still take issue with her presence. After the heavy-handed way in which the Federation handled the crisis described in Crossover, Callay is now reconsidering its relationship with the Earth-based federal government. Sandy is stuck right in the middle of this hotbed, living in a society that is religiously, politically and morally trying to come to terms with what she is and what she represents.

The novel starts off with a bang, throwing us right into a spectacular action scene with fascinating new side character Ari Ruben, then slows down noticeably with a description of Sandy enjoying the waves during a surfing trip on a day off. This rhythm of alternating breathless action scenes with slower-paced descriptions of local color and daily life continues throughout Breakaway. Add to that a continued in-depth focus on the political set-up of Callay in particular and the Federation and League in general, and you may occasionally have the feeling that this is a stop-and-go novel, lurching from high-octane action scenes to slower-paced, even meditative scenes and dialogues focusing on the sociological and political underpinnings of the story.
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This is the second in what is supposed to be a trilogy of books centering on a military android named Cassandra Kresnov who switched sides after an interstellar war. The war was between two groups of humanity with opposing ideas on how far technology should be allowed to develop, and she is the ultimate technological development of the "development without limits" side of the war. The first book dealt with her move from a culture that accepted her but also used her to a culture that was scared of her and wasn't sure what to do with her. Many reviewers of the first book were offended by the open discussion of sex, but I saw it as a result of her creation and use in an environment where she and her fellow androids did not learn the social taboos of modern America. That dispute aside, the first book was an excellent action adventure. That continues in the second book, and there is much less talk about sex for those who are offended by it. In this book, which takes place immediately after the first book (and both books together only cover a period of several months) Kresnov is accepted into the security forces of her new society, but kept a secret because her abilities and existence still scare people. There's plenty of action and political intrigue, just like the first book, and it is a good, self-contained novel. Fortunately there's no cliff-hanger or "have to buy the last novel to reach closure" ending. I look forward to the third book, but I'm wary of what happens because of the proposed name: Killswitch.
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