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The Empress Capsule

Audacity Saga, Book 1
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Series: Audacity Saga, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

Prodigy. Deserter. Commander.

At 22, Commander Ellen Ryu is a little young to be "retired". Yet she’s planned - and bled in - more battles than veterans twice her age. And, well, she didn’t exactly retire so much as desert. Betrayed by her superiors, turned into a science experiment, and nearly driven insane, Ellen seized the chance for freedom when a shadowy organization offered her a ship of her own and an elite, all-female crew. She's got a new mission now: get revenge on the scientist who almost destroyed her. Nobody is going to get in her way this time. Especially not the merc who's just shown up at her cargo hatch, looking to hitch a ride.

Mercenary. Convict. Renegade.

In the middle of an op gone wrong, cyborg mercenary Kael Sidassian gets stuck with a mission he can't refuse: carry a capsule to safety, the contents of which would bring the galaxy down on his head if anyone knew what was inside. But he’s also got damaged hardware in his head and a plan to escape from the barbaric merc company that forcibly conscripted him over a decade ago. So when a humanitarian ship grants him passage, he thanks his lucky stars for a job that'll solve all his problems at once. That is, if the attachment he’s forming to the ship’s commander - one that goes way beyond duty and loyalty - doesn’t get in the way.

As a new threat rises, the prodigy and the renegade discover far more in common than they ever thought possible. Now both their missions will have to wait, because if they aren't audacious enough to work together, they'll never survive what's coming for them. For lovers of romantic space opera, Lois McMaster Bujold, and David Weber, The Empress Capsule is the first volume in the new Audacity series.

©2018 R. K. Thorne (P)2019 R. K. Thorne

What listeners say about The Empress Capsule

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Profile Image for Kara
  • Kara
  • 09-07-2019

Fun sci-fi space romp

"The Empress Capsule (Audacity Saga #1)" is not really lesfic; it's a sci-fi book with a strong female lead character and an all-female crew, other than two exceptions. Yes, the women on the ship have playtimes together, but all the action is off-audio, and only occasionally alluded to. The hetero heat level is also PG...it takes forever for the MCs to kiss, despite mutual insta-attraction.

Kael Sidassian, the Theroki cyborg, is actually more interesting than Commander Ellen Ryu, who, despite her long years in the military seems very immature, even for a 22yo.

The story is pretty entertaining. I wouldn’t call it campy, really, but it's a fun space adventure with several likable characters who often engage in fun banter.

"The Empress Capsule" is book one of "The Audacity Saga", and book #2, "Capital Games", is already out on KU. I look forward to "Capital Games" being released on Audible. 4* for "The Empress Capsule".


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

My rating and my review was not in anyway affected by my having been provided a review copy.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Robin Crabb Gonzales
  • 18-03-2020

5★s Space Opera, Action & a Smidge of Romance

Love, love , loved this❣❣ Great space opera, military action, humanitarianism, second chances, redemption and a side of romance. :-D

I just adore Kael, the guy has been through horrible things and still has a deep conscience for justice, liberty & what is right. =) Ahhh, Ellen, she has an amazing story. She's been put through awful things at the hand of a power hungry selfish man child. She carries so much undereserved guilt. They are hot messes, lol, it's like they are in their late teens still in the area of does she/he like me? Should I kiss her? They find great healing, peace and love through this journey.

Great world building, I don't ever wanna come face to face with the white furry tentacle 4 legged tarantula looking aliens! *shivers* :-o Satisfying ending. :-)

Okay I have to give huge kudos to the narrator!! Although, her voice may at first seem off/different, I was absolutely perfect for the characters! She made the ladies characters come alive and made me giggle frequently because their voice & inflection where true to character. =)


My star ratings include these 5 elements:
1★ story line
1★ engaging characters
1★ use of world building/descriptions
1★ the ending
1★ narration or editing

"I was given this free review copy/audiobook at *MY* request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Steve Martinez
  • Steve Martinez
  • 12-08-2019

We’ve got precious cargo!

The Empress Capsule is the rapid fire sci-fi story of the Audacity; a starship with a secret mission, a mysterious package, a kooky AI, and enemies on both sides of an interstellar war. The Commander is out for revenge. Passenger 6A has orders to deliver the package, and to go nuclear on anyone who gets in the way. Others on the ship have their own motivations; for good or ill. Outside the ship lie other dangers; from crazed mercenaries, to gene altering airborne viruses, to mindless drones.

Sci-fi has often pondered the survival of identity and individuality in a world where both the mind and the body can be radically altered or manipulated. Thorne’s exploration into these themes is refreshing in how the characters approach and react to each discovery.

Susan Erickson delivers an excellent performance for such a diverse cast off characters. I especially loved how she voices the ship's AI.

New listeners welcome. Lovers of Firefly, Mass Effect, or Ghost in the Shell, may owe it to themselves to give this one a listen. Returning veterans who enjoyed Thorne’s Enslaved Chronicles will likely find more to love here, only at a noticeably faster pace.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Charles A.P. Wetherington
  • 14-06-2019

Excellent Military Sci-fi

Good storyline that depicts interactions between military personnel in a clear way. Listeners can tell the author put much thought into the construction of story. Narration was performed with excellence. Vocal pressure was well thought out and accomplished.
I recommend this audiobook for ages 16 and older due to some adult situations and violence.
I was given this audiobook for free and I freely give it my rating and opinion

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Melanie
  • Melanie
  • 24-08-2020

Better than expected

I was originally interested in getting a copy of this story, despite having no prior knowledge of it, due to the fact that one of my favorite narrators, Susan Ericksen, was involved. I found myself really enjoying this audiobook. "The Empress Capsule" is a fun sci-fi space adventure with interesting characters. I haven't read many books like it so I think I'll definitely continue with this series, both on audio and in print.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Profile Image for Chris C.
  • Chris C.
  • 11-08-2020

Space Opera Romance with Religious Undertones

This is a PG-13 Space Opera Romance with Religious (mostly Muslim and a mentioning of Christianity). It remains pretty PG in its language except for an odd curse word and one make out session a little more than half way through the book.

It started off kind of rough, but by chapter 2 it was in full swing. I’d rate it four stars, and it could have been 5 if Commander Ellen Ryu didn’t come off like a middle school girl with a crush throughout the whole book. Her character seemed to far fetched. A former special forces commander who led a huge army that killed thousands and she is 22. If the author used tech to give her knowledge beyond her years it would have been better. Like the chip she had installed caused her to have to memories of hundreds of years of command experience or something like that.

Kael was a far better character even with his constant boiling rage that threatened to explode every chapter. He had real depth and he came out as the true protagonist.

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  • Shaylah
  • 29-07-2020

Loved it

Loved it, awesome narrative easy tone to keep your attention and follow story line, thanks.

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  • Virgil Perryman
  • 26-04-2020

Great Story great narration a must listen

This is a sleeper if you try to judge this book from its cover or even it's title you will have a surprise, a big pleasant surprise. It is well written the character are well developed, the story is fast moving, logical and extremely detailed. The theme is subtle and provoke a realistic balance of a deep view of relationships, duty, constraint and desire. The narration is among the best I have heard and compares in quality to what you come to expect from the top tier of narrators.

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Profile Image for Georgia McNabb
  • Georgia McNabb
  • 02-04-2020

I Really, Really, Recommend this book!

This was such a pleasure to listen to So thoroughly enjoyed the Characters & Story!!
The Narrator did a Excellent job of bringing this to life. The 2 MCs dance around each other a bunch because they both keep wondering what the other is thinking.

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Profile Image for Krystal S.
  • Krystal S.
  • 01-04-2020

Characters are the best part of this book

I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

This audiobook took me longer to finish than I meant it to - mostly due to needing to get some library audiobooks finished before I had to return them. It's really unfortunate that I had to set it aside because this book was very entertaining.

The best part of The Empress Capsule, in my opinion, were the characters, especially Kael and Xi. Or, better yet, scenes between Kael and Xi. I don't know what it was about those scenes, but I enjoyed every moment of them. I just love sassy AIs, and Xi and Kael's relationship was just so entertaining.

I was a little torn on Ellen Ryu. Now, don't think that I'm saying she was a bad character. As a matter of fact, she was the kind of female character I've been looking for in all of my books recently (I've been on a kick for kickbutt, military-like heroines). Ryu was the exact kind of character I wanted in my books.

The author choosing to make Ellen young (22) just did not compute in my mind. Between the narrator's tone and Ellen's past and experience, I thought she came across better as a middle aged woman (and a bad@$$ one at that). Honestly, I didn't see why it was necessary to make Ellen so young.

It also seemed that Kael was a better developed character than Ellen was. Despite that, I did like the byplay between the two of them. However, if the author was pushing this as a sci-fi romance, I think R.K. Thorne could have built more on the intimacy of their relationship because it often didn't feel like a romance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I thought the author could have pushed the envelope a little more. It could have had a little more action, a little more harshness, a little deeper romance. It just needed the small extra boost to make it really good.

As for the narrator, I was extremely torn on Susan Ericksen's performance. I really liked Ericksen's tone and cadence, and I think she could become a great narrator. However, it's her character voices that are holding her back. There was a scene specifically between Ellen and Simmons where I couldn't keep track of who was speaking or what was being said versus thought. The same thing happened in the scene where Ellen and Kael are in the bar. Ironically, Ericksen did accents for some of the crew and it's clear who was talking. I don't know why she didn't have more variety for the main characters, but it was incredibly hard to follow.

I'm eagerly waiting to start the next book in the series, but I will be doing it with an ebook version rather than the audiobook. UPDATE: I read the second book, Capital Games, and really enjoyed it. So if you liked this audiobook, I would recommend continuing on with the series. Definitely worth it.

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Profile Image for Padraig
  • Padraig
  • 02-05-2020

Fun YA Military Sci-Fi with diverse characters

I found this to be a very entertaining Y.A. military sci-fi story.
It has well-rounded characters, with a well paced story.
There is very good world building and many interesting locations visited along the way.
There is a diverse cast of characters, with some strong female characters.
The characters had very convincing motivations and consistently made intelligent decisions to further their goals.
Overall a very fun story, and I'll certainly be looking out for book 2...
I received this book for free, but left this review voluntarily.

Very good narration, handles multiple character voices really well.