by Sterling R. Walker
Book 1: The Orphan Ship
Silver Medal Winner of the Children’s Literary Classics
Stranded 225 million kilometers from home on Mars Station, cousins Jake O’Brien and Lorina Murphy are drawn into a fledgling effort to help the hundreds of abandoned street children who call the station home. Jake becomes a medical apprentice in an outreach clinic, while Lorina volunteers at a juvenile shelter. They soon discover that their efforts may be in vain because something much more serious than poverty plagues Mars Station. Also stranded on Mars Station, ship’s captain Danae Shepherd faces the difficult task of hiring replacement crew after an alien virus claims the lives of four in her employ, including her husband. She stumbles upon the same problem that has Jake and Lorina stumped: why are homeless children disappearing without a trace?
“Even as I found myself cheering for some characters, snarling at others and hating a few, I thrilled at their rainbow of possibilities. Every good story needs heroes and villains, but Walker gives us human beings who make choices. Some choices work out well and others don’t. Such is life. We have to follow the story to find which is which.”
“Character-driven morality tale with great messaging and compelling action.”
“Firefly is one of my top favorite shows and the crew of this ship feel very much like the characters in that show.”
Book 2: The Lost Sheep
Captain Danae Shepherd returns to Mars Station with her crew of the Ishmael, fully aware that she is walking straight into a trap. But Danae isn’t going to let a little thing like being wanted for murder keep her away, not when her ally Dr. Erik Sorensen is stuck in jail; and not when evidence is desperately needed to end police chief Acheron’s depraved side business of abducting homeless children and selling them as slaves.
Danae’s nervous crew agrees to her daring plan, which is based more on luck than strategy, but her clairvoyant helmsman Marco Ting raises the level of tension with two chilling premonitions: the Captain’s plan will unravel once they reach Mars Station, putting all their lives in danger, and someone close to Lorina Murphy is going to die.
“Great writing and a really good plot make this a must read for science fiction lovers as well as people who just like a good story. These books address many issues that are prevalent in our own society, such as human trafficking and government corruption.”
“A wonderful way to introduce adolescents to Science Fiction. An engaging, multi-national crew, exotic locales ranging from Mars to the Far East, subdued violence, and science that never gets in the way of the fiction. The series is a triumph with a positive message that treats adolescents like young adults.”
“The plausible future of a world recovering from war, where children are either a valuable commodity for building families, or for slave labor. It is an insight into how children are viewed even in today’s world and will hopefully make readers more aware of the atrocities that are occurring even now.”
Book 3: The Last Orphan
Captain Danae Shepherd and her crew of Alex’s Legacy set out to rescue Shima Oryang’s niece from a slave-run factory in Bangkok, but their quest turns deadly when Shima is abducted. Now with her best friend missing, her helmsman in a coma, and a military captain determined to keep her on a short leash, Danae must battle the horrors from her past before she can summon the courage to confront the human traffickers who are holding Shima captive.
Like a small stone tossed into a big pond, Danae’s influence expands like ripples as her determination to save one orphan becomes a dangerous mission to liberate them all.
“This author took my emotions through so many ups and downs in this trilogy, and I loved every minute of it. I felt the author really wrapped everything up well. I truly love books that end like this one.”
“A great conclusion. There are twists and turns and new exciting adventures. I cried more than once as the characters come together to support one another and fight for the children. Amazing!”
CIR: What inspired this trilogy?
WALKER: Visiting orphanages in China and Thailand.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
WALKER: Creating a convincing villain.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
WALKER: Captain Danae Shepherd — she’s tough and courageous, but her personal life is in shambles, forcing her to dig deep to find a balance. She has to make peace with her tragic past.
CIR: What other books, movies or shows might you compare to this story?
WALKER: Vatta’s War series by Elizabeth Moon; The Solar Queen by Andre Norton.
CIR: What message do you hope your readers take away from this book?
WALKER: Anyone with courage can make a difference in the lives of children, no matter what obstacles they face.