She survived hell. Now her real problems begin.
Opal Imbiana is many things to many people. Hero. Traitor. Soldier. Deserter. Criminal. Explorer.
She finally achieved her life’s goal: to rescue her little sister from the utterly alien Null zone.
But the world she returns to has changed. Her friends are gone, and her enemies are more powerful than ever.
In the bleakest situations, it takes an exceptional mind to keep hope alive.
Ideal for fans of sentient AI ships, as found in Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward books or Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell.
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"The chapters from Opal’s point of view are numbered in decreasing order, a countdown, adding to the movement toward a climactic moment. The story builds toward that through a series of attempted escapes, each of which teaches Opal invaluable lessons about the structure of the prison, the limitations of the AI, the stakes of success or failure for Aseides and weaknesses in the prison routines and surveillance that she can use for her next attempt.
Throughout her ordeal, Opal retains a sense of the possible. We count, with her, the number of steps it takes to circle her cell, the dimensions and structure of each fixture, the mechanism of the lift that lowers from the ceiling to take her out of the cell for interrogation sessions. And we walk the halls with her, feeling the shackles on her wrists, as she studies the level of attention and pace of her guards, notices every irregularity in the plasteen tiles covering the walls, makes mental diagrams of the hallways and the positions of surveillance cameras.
Detail by detail, Opal compiles diagrams of strengths and weaknesses in the prison. All this detail eventually comes into play as she makes one sudden move after another to overcome her captives. Each attempt gets more and more destructive.
What is so remarkable about Opal is that whatever physical or mental pressure or torture she undergoes, she never loses hope and is constantly planning how to use the information she gleans, even from the pain Aseides inflicts.
Hidden Solace is a powerful story. Drinkwater likes to leave readers with big questions at the endings of the books in this series, and that is a powerful motivator to dive into the next novel. The Lost Solace series, which includes four novellas as well as the four novels published thus far, is excellent science fiction. The first volume was a semi-finalist in the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition, and I hope the series gets a lot more recognition."
— SciFi Mind
"5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge.
I’ve loved this series since the first book, and have been (impatiently) waiting for the final books to come out. This is book #3, and it didn’t disappoint!
Opal is on form with her sarcastic humour and refusal to be tamed, whatever they do to her.
And boy, do they make her suffer in this book! Just when I think Drinkwater won’t take it any further, he does. There are a couple of ‘ouch’ and ‘ew’ scenes, and also a ‘wow!’ moment when an identity is revealed.
If you loved the other books in the series, you’re really going to enjoy this one. And if you haven’t read them, give them a try! They’re not your typical sci-fi – Drinkwater is a master of getting into the psyche of his characters, and his narrative makes you think more about the world around you. Highly recommend!"
— Pink Quill Books
"The cat and mouse game between Opal and Aseides is also brilliantly portrayed. Each is determined to discover the other's weaknesses without giving away too much of themselves, yet I could often interpret as much of their personalities from what they hid as from what they displayed.
This all makes for a tense, atmospheric novel with Aseides' base made all the more claustrophobic by there being so few characters interacting within it. Opal really does feel alone in this place which tests her resourcefulness almost beyond its limit.
There are several moments where the narrative could have gone either of two ways, each feeling genuine and authentic, so there is little that is predictable about this book. It makes for a compelling read and I sincerely hope its sequel won't be too long in coming!"
— Literary Flits (also HirlGrend)
"The reader can trust Karl to deliver on atmosphere, emotion, plot, and clever narrative. There's action too, of course, and then Karl Drinkwater takes it to the next level with some huge twists that makes writing a spoiler-free review quite challenging.
The answer: just read the damn book! But with one caveat: be sure to read books one and two first.
Hidden Solace is a solid science fiction read with plenty of cerebral candy!"
— Aarluk (Goodreads)
"Another epic tale in the Solace series. This book continues to expand and enrich the universe we have grown to love in the first two books. There are some big questions getting explored in this series and it's feeling like the same kind of depth as 2001.
If you haven't done so read the novellas as they help really round out characters and motivations alongside the geopolitical landscape of the universe.
I'm confident that Karl will be recognised as a superb sci-fi writer who isn't afraid to tackle the big questions."
— Ally Rowan (Goodreads)
Book 3 in the Lost Solace series