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Science Fiction
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Independent Press Award 

2024 winner

Birthright of Scars: Rising

Laurisa Brandt

Falling in love with his bounty hunter was never part of the plan.

After the Kobalt empire spent decades suppressing Pyron culture, Emperor Cinnabar designed the walled Pyron sector with only one purpose: extermination.

Disrel of Tourmal has little left except his sister, but he won’t accept death without a fight. When the state mandates that all Pyrons relocate to the walled sector, Disrel does not hesitate to don a mask and replace the capitol flag with one that proclaims Pyron is free. What he didn’t count on was a simple act of defiance becoming the symbol of an empire-wide revolution. By the time dawn breaks, a sable commander renowned for catching renegades is on his trail, and Disrel is driven into the center of the resistance against the state.

Decorated Sable Commander Ambrosia is ready for the challenge of pulling Pyron resistors off Tourmal’s streets. But the layers of unrest in the capitol go deeper than a masked renegade inciting insurrection, locking her in a deadly dance between conviction and duty, comrades and terrorists—one that requires a flawless loyalty to the state to survive. And the unassumingly charming Disrel keeps getting in her way.

Disrel and Ambrosia are thrust into each other’s paths—as renegade and sable, as citizens of the empire struggling to survive the upheaval. But as their feelings for each other grow, they’ll have to choose: one love destined to destroy them both, or the fate of an empire?

Birthright of Scars: Rising
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