Don’t Shoot! I promise I’m not a spy. Ok, you got me. I am.

This book has been on my shelf for years. I’ve been meaning to read it and I’m glad that I finally did. It was a pleasant adventure, far from Earth, dealing with a bizarre dilemma.


by Timothy Zahn

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Humanity has reached for the stars and made them their home. As often is the case, the human empire stretched so far that it was difficult to manage as a single entity, so it began to split.

The Pax still think of Earth as their distant and long-lost homeworld. They’ve built jump gates and starships and warships. But the one thing that occupies their minds more than any other is profit-making. They will change course if the balance sheet doesn’t support an action.

On the other hand, the Empyrean wishes to provide a peaceful and harmonious environment for its denizens. A mysterious black hole, not far from the borders of the Empyrean, is releasing particles called Angels that can be captured and embedded in a medallion, which, when worn, helps the wearer to remain calm, kind, generous, and thoughtful. In other words, it enhances the good in them.

After some years, all the politicians of the Empyrean wear an Angel, and the Empyrean society has never been more at peace. Unfortunately, the Pax is watching from afar, and they believe that the Angels must be an alien intelligence quietly taking over the whole of the Empyrean.

Enter Jereko Kosta. Jereko is a young man – nothing more than a student. The Pax chose Jereko to act as a sort of spy. His mission is to travel secretly to the Empyrean and live among them. He will study the Angels and learn what they are and how they work. Are they indeed aliens? The truth turns out to be much stranger than fiction.

My Thoughts


I felt like I related to Jereko. He’s not your average spy. He’s just a college student. He had an academic interest in the Angels and their effect on people. I’m no spy, but I have an academic interest in learning. I once thought it would be interesting to be a professional student, but it would be impossible to support a family if all I did was go to school. It would get pretty expensive too. I suppose the alternative would be to become a professor. Maybe someday.


I recently read Timothy Zahn’s trilogy, The Sibyl’s War, and the whole time, I kept thinking that the main character in that story reminded me of Chandris. Chandris is a young woman, rough around the edges, and always skeptical of the motives of others. This is largely due to the fact that she is an orphan, living on the street with a gang of kids. The leader of her gang had a thing for Chandris, and when he made it clear that she was his property, she made a run for it.

Chandris was very fortunate to land a job with a kind brother and sister team who showed her true kindness. At first, she saw them as “soft-touches” – essentially easy marks. But as they got to know each other, Chandris began to grow and mature until, eventually, she was capable of putting others before her own needs.


Forsythe is a politician, and he isn’t willing to simply trust that the Angels are what’s best for humanity. He sees how his peers are impacted by the Angels and he comes up with a scheme to hide his Angel while still making everyone believe that he is wearing it. Ah, now there’s the politician we all know and love!

Actually, I appreciated the healthy skepticism this character had about the Angels. He didn’t simply accept them as good or healthy but sought to learn more about them so that he could know whether or not they were helping the Empyrean society or just some form of mind control.

Good versus Evil

I really enjoyed reading this story. It made me think (without needing to think too hard), and the characters were relatable in their interactions.

One of the themes in the book was the conflict between Good and Evil. Wait a second, couldn’t you say that is a theme in just about every book? Yes, of course, but this book takes a creative stab at imagining the source of good and evil. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can say without giving major spoilers, so I’d say go ahead and pick up a copy of this book, read it, and just generally have a fun time. I definitely don’t believe in anything close to what is being described here as the source of good and evil, but it made for a fun science-fiction story.

However, if you’re looking for epic space battles, aliens, world-hopping, and intrigue – that’s not in this book. This is more of a casual disagreement between interplanetary governing bodies that results in some pretty one-sided shooting, and only because one group felt they needed a show of force to ensure they were being heard. The conflict was based on one group wanting to ensure a strong bottom line on their balance sheet and the other simply wanting to be free from the need to make every decision based on the financial impact of that decision.

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It’s March, and Spring is just around the corner.

In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to get the garden started, and the bicycle tires aired up. The gloom of winter will soon pass, and the sun will be our companion. What is one thing you will do this year to make this your best summer yet? Share your ideas in the comments.

The Nutcracker Trilogy

I will continue to shamelessly promote these books because I’m so excited about being a small part of Drosselmeyer’s journey. If you’re new here, let me encourage you to check out The Nutcracker Trilogy by Paul Thompson. All three books are available in print and as e-books. Books one and two are available as audiobooks, narrated by yours truly. Click the links below to explore.

Oh, and it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to enjoy these stories (just like it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy Harry Potter).

Apple Books / Apple Audiobooks / Amazon / Audible

Author’s Website

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