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Threading the Needle


Talia Merritt, a former military sniper once known as Death’s Handmaiden, is a woman haunted by her past. Her cybernetic arm and her phantom—the implant that allows her to control it—serve as a constant reminder of what she’s lost. But Talia is hoping to leave her past and her reputation behind and start anew on the colony world of Gōruden, a hardscrabble planet of frontier-minded people seeking a better life. And she’s finally earned enough to start to make that dream come true. 

In the bucolic town of Tsurui, she interviews for a job as a marksmanship instructor for local bigwig Signore Ferran Contesti. But Contesi is not what he seems. A recent arrival on Goruden, he hopes to mold the colony world in his own image—an image at odds with the unencumbered life free of government and corporate meddling that Talia has come to find. 

Soon, Talia finds herself thrust into the start of another conflict. Talia desperately wants to stay out of it, but she may not have that luxury. 

With the fate of a planet and her own peace of mind hanging in the balance, Talia must decide whether or not to once again take up the mantle of Death’s Handmaiden….

Praise for Threading the Needle

In Threading the Needle, Monalisa Foster has fused the legacies of Leigh Bracket, Louis Lamour, and Robert Heinlein — with maybe just a TOUCH of Akira Kurosowa — in a voice entirely her own. Starships, trains, six-guns, nanotech, gen-engineering, cattle rustlers, and the fierce loyalty of combat vets in a mix which ABSOLUTELY works! — David Weber, Author of the Honor Harrington series.

A stunningly good book set in a world with rich cultures and a sense that violence and danger are always at hand. First, I feared Talia the sniper– then I cheered her, as she carved a path through intrigue so thick it required a sword to cut it. Fortunately, Talia is just that blade. A must read.— Terry Maggert, Author of Backyard Starship, The Messenger, and Starcaster series


“Foster has created one of the most intriguing characters I have seen in a while in science fiction…The plotting of this book reminded me of Timothy Zahn or Blake Crouch, with all sorts of twists and turns and other such events happening every which way. Foster is very good at it. She takes on a lot, and she succeeds in threading the needle (pun not intended but very much enjoyed), sewing them all into an engrossing narrative. She paces her story well, never letting it get off the rails, never letting it become dull.”–Nerds of a Feather

“Fans of Leigh Brackett will also love the book for paying homage to the queen of science fiction, and anyone who wants a pulse-pounding adventure is sure to like the increasing tension as the story rushes to its conclusion.  This is space opera with Japanese flair and Western archetypes at its best.”--Upstream Reviews