Welcome to Tecant.
Nothing ever happens here.
Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the oppressive UFS government which “liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls.
Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.
He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.
Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.
And if he fails, he’ll be dead.
Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.
If you buy here then more money goes to the author. Yay! But if you prefer to buy from online stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook or Apple then here are links to the book on those sites (including print versions where available – or just pop into your local bookshop and order a paperback!).
"5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge.
Yet another great instalment in the Lost Solace series, Ruabon is one of those rare books where you feel like you already know the character from the first page. It’s incredible how Drinkwater is able to create a character and story that instantly pulls you in, and leaves you feeling bereft at the end, all in the pages of a novella.
This is the story of a man who, in his own quiet way, fights against the system and the perpetual boredom of his humdrum life. I loved the drones he reprogrammed, each with their own character and energy, each adding a wonderful touch of humour to the story.
Written in Drinkwater’s inimitable style, this is another Lost Solace episode I highly recommend!"
— Pink Quill Books
"Karl Drinkwater has been busy adding novellas to his Lost Solace series to fill in different aspects of the story. This contribution works well - it has all the elements that make it a useful addition. Firstly, it ties strongly into the main series novels in a very clever way. Secondly, it's pretty well all action. There can be a danger with backstory-type novellas that they meander rather than carry a narrative thrust, but that's not the case here. And finally, there's a strong thread of AI, which is so central to the Lost Solace series.
The central character here, Ruabon, is a cadet in a system relatively recently absorbed into the overarching society that features in this series. In a classic SF move (see, for example, the recent novel Artifact Space, where a midshipman briefly has to take charge of a massive starship), the cadet ends up calling the shots when things get really difficult.
There are some clever twists in Ruabon which would be too much of a spoiler to give away, making it an engaging experience. Although technically these novellas work as standalone stories, it would be very sensible to read at least one of the main novels before getting onto this piece of writing.
An excellent addition to Drinkwater's well-paced world building."
— Popular Science
"The speculative nature of this genre bending and mixing series is intriguing, the creativity and vision is extraordinary. Interestingly the books have a variation when it comes to their centre of gravity, which swings between human element and inanimate object element. This time I took a moment to wonder about the greater picture, which possibly either goes undiscovered in the vast creativity of the plot or only exists in the perception of my own frame of reference.
Are there correlations to be drawn between the our reliance on and the advancement of AI, the egotistical assumption that we are the only life, the surveillance we allow to dominate and control our lives – on a more base note the relationships that bind, support and keep us going. Solace – the gift that keeps on giving."
— Cheryl M-M's Book Blog
"This novella was such a fun read! I loved learning about the main character Ruabon. Ruabon was a fast paced read, that I devoured in one sitting. The world building in this series is amazing and the writing makes the setting come alive. ☆☆☆☆☆ (5 out of 5)"
"I’ve been following the Lost Tale of Solace series since the beginning and was interested to see what Mr. Drinkwater had up his sleeve for the next adventure in space. It didn’t disappoint.
Mr. Drinkwater does it again by giving the reader a fast-paced chase in a 70-page novella to prevent a terrorist from destroying a vital communication tower.
With Ruabon’s flirty, happy bots and his snarky teammate Cadet Sutchess Pyke, the story engages the reader as we watch Ruabon become a hero to his team no matter the consequences.
I recommend this imaginative and riveting tale for science fiction fans who love fascinating and relatable characters and captivating techno world-building."
— The Eclectic Review
"Ruabon is just packed full of action, tension with a subtle bit of humour in there too.
As always Karl Drinkwater creates fantastically believable characters and Ruabon is no different.
You feel his frustration with his job and his inability to really connect with his fellow crewmates throughout. I particularly enjoyed the fact that he programmed drones when he was bored, giving them personalities that provided a bit of light relief.
Ruabon is a short and sweet sci-fi tale that is a great way to escape from reality for a while."
— On The Shelf Reviews
"I have this mental image of Karl Drinkwater having created this amazing playground called “Solace,” where the main attractions are two novels featuring a talented and dangerous woman searching for her missing sister with the help of a sentient AI ship. As the author looks over his creation, he notices that there are some interesting but unfinished bits hovering around those main attractions. Instead of ignoring them to concentrate entirely on building the main structure, Drinkwater allows himself to play with those bits, shaping and forming them into small but fascinating side pieces that add depth and character to the overall universe even if they do not specifically advance the overarching story of the novels.
I mean, if you’ve created an entire universe to play in, why not play in it?
Ruabon is one of those side stories, a “Lost Tale of Solace.” In one of the novels, the characters successfully fake their own death/destruction in order to throw their pursuers off track. This event in the novel is an extremely small part, more a passing memory than an actual plot point. But, what if for some of those participating in the event, it was not a plot device? What if it was a central event?
Reaching for the stars can be amazing if you succeed. It can be deadly if you do not.
Karl Drinkwater has created a universe where the dominant corporation favors conformity. People of different races are subjugated. Individual thought and creativity are not encouraged. Stepping out of one’s role is dangerous. Succeed and you might be rewarded, unless someone else claims credit for your success. Fail, and you are done. Permanently. These themes are on full display in this “Lost Tale.” Even though as a reader of the whole series I know the overall outcome of the event, I found myself pulling for Ruabon. I wanted this quirky, geeky programmer to succeed. I wanted to get to know his sentient bots better. I wanted to see him get the girl. I wanted to see him rise above his allotted place."
"I love the way the Lost Tales of Solace novellas allow me to explore minor characters and side events. They add such great depth to Karl Drinkwater's main Lost Solace novels, but without slowing those works' exciting pace.
These robot personalities are a fun idea. Getting to meet each one through private messaging conversations allowed me to swiftly feel as though I knew them and I could also further understand Ruabon himself through the artificial personality traits he created.
Ruabon, the book, is an exciting story that I comfortably devoured in a single afternoon partly because it is less than a hundred pages anyway, but also because I didn't want to put the book down."
— Literary Flits
"I absolutely love that these novels explore minor characters and side events that we didn’t get to see in the main Lost Solace novels.
Karl Drinkwater builds this world and characters so well. I feel like I know the characters and I felt like I was in the story. It is such an inventive tale, and I really enjoy getting all of this extra story from a series I loved.
Ruabon is exciting and perfectly paced. I didn’t put this down and read it in a single day. It’s short, but also addicting.
I highly recommend this entire set of books, but if you’re caught up to now, you definitely don’t want to miss Ruabon.
— Jessica Belmont
"After reading another book by this author I had a high expectation for this book....and that was exceeded!
I thought that this was a brilliant quick, Sci fi read. It was jam packed but every thing in the book had a reason and everything came together, which I love, since I dislike loose ends in books. This book is brilliantly written with a fast paced flow throughout it. It is a great series to read.
The storyline is gripping and exciting! A brilliant read for Sci fi readers!
— Snowphiethebookworm (GR)
"Having read Clarissa recently, I was amazed to see the diversity between the different stories that stem from the same universe. It goes to show just how much thought and world-building has gone into the series overall (including the main one). Although they all interlink, the books could easily be completely different stories and so read independently.
I love how well written the different robot personalities are. They in themselves are extremely different and were really fun to read. I imagine getting across vastly different personalities with only the written word and a limited amount of space in the book to do so is a challenge. However, I think this was done brilliantly! I personally enjoyed each individual little drone and their unique personality. Not only that, but their own existence says a lot about our main character and supplement the main storyline and character building very well.
Ruabon is a story that tells how some people can bloom under pressure. What is supposed to be the equivalent of a quiet day in the office turns out to be anything but, and quiet, unassuming Ruabon steps up to the challenge in the time of need. The fact that he even sticks his neck out on the line shows that he is not the quiet timid man people think he is. It shows a degree of calculation and understanding of when it matters most to make a stand and take a risk. His intentions aren’t necessarily altruistic, however they are very relatable. Ultimately, he wants to make his family proud and respect his heritage as opposed to pleasing his new ‘overlords’.
Ruabon is packed full of action and if you enjoy a fast-paced narrative, this is definitely for you. Again, in a condensed storyline, the unravelling of the plot and the tension of events played out in a way that is very easy to read and keep the reader hooked. I literally only put this down because I was due to go out somewhere-if I haven’t been, I am pretty sure I would have read this all in one sitting."
"If Science fiction is your favourite genre to read
This series will certainly your reading taste buds feed.
The Lost Tales of Solace continues with this new book
“Ruabon” is definitely worth while taking a look.
There’s danger unfolding as the story progresses,
But what’s really happening and who’ll clean up the messes?
This is a page turning story, I think you’ll agree
I hope you’ll try it and then you’ll see if you agree with me!"
"It’s not often I find a scifi book outside the Star Trek world that interests me. Author Karl Drinkwater hooked me with his worldbuilding and character development."
— Just Katherine
"Ruabon is a testament to the diversity of this excellent series.
It's interesting to realise that Ruabon's actions here place him directly against the more usual protagonists of the series. Readers are left in little doubt that the UFS is an oppressive regime and that those who are declared terrorists by the state are more likely to be brave resistors. Despite this, he is actually a likeable character whose determination to apprehend the infiltrator comes more from a desire to be somebody important rather than any violent, warmongering tendencies. Throughout the book, there are short interludes which reveal the various personalities he has secretly given the AI drones he works with. It means the drones become distinct individuals, bringing some humour to the proceedings - although we are sharply reminded that they remain disposable tools. However, there is a scene towards the end which shows that Ruabon, at least is more aware of their sentience and although he does come across as having been rather closed off, it's quite poignant that up to this point, the drones have perhaps the closest thing he has to friends. His growing closeness to his fellow cadet marks a change in him as he grows in confidence but will his risk-taking strategy eventually prove to be his undoing?
The identity of the alleged terrorist will be familiar to those who have read the full-length Solace novels with some surprising and enlightening revelations about their plans. What this eventually means for Ruabon is both intriguing and concerning but it could be argued that however briefly his act of heroism lasts and whatever the consequences, he would take it over the soul-destroying boredom of his regular life.
It's a fascinating premise, ensuring Ruabon is another intelligent, thought-provoking addition to the Lost Solace series. It goes without saying that the sense of place in this imaginative, inventive world is as authentic as ever - I almost need convincing that these space stations and solar systems aren't real. As always, a highly recommended treat for science fiction lovers and indeed, anybody who enjoys well-crafted, thoughtful stories."
— Hair Past A Freckle
"Another absolute page turner in the Lost Solace series by Karl Drinkwater! I flew through this do quickly because I just couldn't put it down.
I will never not be amazed at how much character development and world building that Karl Drinkwater can bring to a story, I become completely invested in the character and Ruabon was no different. Ruabon has depth and complexity and it was so interesting seeing what he would do next.
The tone throughout is both thrilling and intense as you watch the scenes unfold.
You can tell in all his work, but particularly in the Lost Solace series, just how much time Karl Drinkwater spends researching things and making sure the science in his world works. It's technically written, but doesn't exclude people who aren't technically minded.
A really wonderful addition to the series and another 5 stars from me."
— Life Of A Nerdish Mum
"This is another cracking short story set in the dystopian universe created by Karl Drinkwater. It tussles with the cleverness and autonomy of AI. We may have created it in our image but just as James Cameron predicted in Terminator - it has all become rather self-aware.
This time Ruabon, languishing in space as a low-level employee, finds himself stimulated to action in the pursuit of a possible terrorist... I shan't give away the ending, except to say (as I've come to expect from the author), there's a twist that I certainly didn't see coming.
It's very exciting; the action rises and rises (something this author is particularly skilled at, I feel). It's interesting too, how all of the bad old hierarchies that have been developed on Earth over millennia have made their way into space. Humans just can't help wanting to know where they are in the pecking order, it seems.
So, believable characters, hilarious robots, wayward algorithms, clever nods to other characters in the series of stories (pay attention at the back), I'm looking forward to more."
— Lock And Load, Brides Of Christ
"The underlying tension of quotas and automated management without human intervention is an employee’s nightmare, yet it is a fact of life for some people. The UFS and Genitors are frightening in their control and ever present threat to dissenters – people who are disappeared for questioning anything. Drinkwater gets the tone of menace and desperation just right."
— Rosie Writes
"I have a lot of respect for Ruabon. I loved his quirkiness. And his courage and how brave he is in the face of the UFS. I empathised with Ruabon. The underdog getting his chance to be the hero.
Things were really tense in control room 23. Karl Drinkwater has such a skill with the pace and content of his stories in the Lost Tales of Solace. Heritage, expectations and morality are woven through the story.
I don’t have an issue when a story ends ambiguously but OMG, in this case I WANT TO KNOW. How can a character get under your skin in a short space of time!
All of the Lost Tales are action packed and of course inspired by The Lost Solace/Chasing Solace so there’s a purpose too. Don’t be put off by the short length.
— Jera's Jamboree
Book 4 in the Lost Tales Of Solace series