The Devil and Deep Space

The Ragnarok is an experimental test bed for a research program that’s due for cancellation as the political balance of power shifts within the Jurisdiction’s Fleet.  Crew and equipment alike were never expected to perform so well during a test range firing exercise; nor was the accidental explosion of black-market contraband on an observer station meant to take the live of the Ragnarok’s acting Captain.

Andrej Koscuisko, the Ragnarok’s Chief Medical Officer, is going home on leave to take care of some critical personal business, because it’s only a matter of time before the only crime he’s not ashamed of comes to light:  and when that happens he’ll die the most unpleasant death Jurisdiction has to offer.

A bitter enemy from Andrej’s earliest days in Fleet has set a trap and baited it with the lives of people Andrej loves.  He may escape from that trap; but while he’s been away the Ragnarok has taken a desperate step toward outright mutiny, to protect itself from becoming a scapegoat for Fleet corruption.

Andrej will have to abandon his wife and child – postpone the relief of Writ that was to free him from the Jurisdiction’s horrific system of institutionalized torture — and fight through to his ship, fight for his place, and ultimately fight Fleet itself to bring the Ragnarok crucial evidence that he alone can provide, information that is the only thing that will save them all from destruction.


"A tightly woven space opera full of grand heroic gestures and characters strong enough to sustain all the action."


"Matthews will stand out in a field dominated (in numbers if not in stature) by mediocre imitators."


"Matthews' work here -- of projecting a concentrated vision of the horrors of the last hundred years into a space-operatic future -- is extraordinarily risky and emotionally difficult, but now that she has shown that the Judiciary universe holds hope as well as pathology and pain, I will be able to follow Koscuisko to whatever fate awaits him with an easier mind."