Testament, to any author, is their ability to dip in and out of genres. Most tend to dwell where comfortable, or regrettably where their publisher tells them. Some do break that mould and with great success. Ian M Banks is one such author, who can take you from a Scotish coastal town in one book, only to whisk you away to a far-flung galaxy the next. Such diversity is rare, which makes it even more of a delight when a writer cracks it.

Elizabeth Moon has returned to Science fiction from her brief outing to the fantasy genre. There, she made a severe impact, almost as much as she did when bursting on the scene. In the first book of her new series Vatta’s Peace, Ky Vatta the newly appointed Admiral of the interstellar space defence has crash landed on her journey home from war. A monumental task of survival on a wild and turbulent planet sees Ky’s mettle tested to the extremes.

Moon’s background in the armed forces comes to life in Ky’s efforts, especially when challenged by a group of soldiers, whom without their help could see the Grand Admiral stranded. The story is rich with background detail and character development, both of which Moon’s been praised before. The story’s weaved that the reader is with Ky, every step of the way. Moon’s use of language is surprisingly accessible considering the genre, the story is by no means complex, but it will leave you feeling like you were there, trapped with Ky.

Moon also gets romance right. All too often, Sci-fi writers come across frigid, scared that the majority male readership will be put off by a female protagonist’s emotional baggage. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Ky’s love for Rafe echoes a very level and balanced one of strength, that reflects the greats such as Han and Leia.

Cold Welcome is fictional VR; you’ll find yourself shivering as you read it, which is why it’s so engrossing, page after page, after page.

Released 13th April, and available to pre-order from Amazon.