The quest of Paymaster Stenstrom spans the planes, taking a bizarre turn in the 3rd universe, as there he is not an affluent man but a woman in desperate circumstances. Lady Stenibelle is imprisoned for her role in the Seeker Affair, is penniless, and her House of Belmont-South Tyrol is on the verge of extinction. Her spirit broken, Stenibelle is resigned to perform her sentence without fuss, do as she is told, and fade away in obscurity. However, fate is not yet finished with her. Stenibelle is in the gaze of hidden benefactors with ulterior motives. People claiming to be her dear friends come forward, yet she does not know them. The Quests of the Shadow tech Goddess proceed, and she must discover the hero that lies within or face total oblivion. The disgraced 30th daughter of the House of Belmont will either be the final stake driven into its dying heart, or the ray of light that comes to save it and all else that follows.
Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood, he also has a passion for caving, urban archeology and architecture. His highly imaginative “League of Elder” book series is published by Loconeal Publishing.
Stenibelle was a master at turning invisible, of fading into the shadows. Her mother had taught her and her sisters the skill, and Stenibelle was the best at it, with Lyra a close second. Her fade could fool sophisticated scanning systems and even arcane seeing eyes. Morgan reached out and seized her by her shirt. She pulled her close and bared her teeth. “It doesn’t work on me, Bel. I can see you plain as day. Now what? Now what are you going to do?” Stenibelle had no idea what to do.
If you had knowledge that somewhere out in space, another world with another you existed and lived out their life similar to yours—how would that affect you? In this case, Garcia shares a classic, yet very creative alternate version of Stenstrom—a character from another book in the League of Elder series called The Shadow Tech Goddess. This story follows right along with that one, but everything is slightly a bit different in this reality. For instance, Stenstrom was a man and Stenibelle is a woman. Lt Gwendolyn is Fleet personnel; however, she is the reason for Stenibelle’s loss of chair on the Seeker as well as her imprisonment. Professor Hannah Ben Shurlamp is a different character as well, searching for a different Elder planet than the one in the other story. With these characters being the same, yet adventures and personalities different—Garcia has an entertaining, shorter story. Readers who love his writing will really enjoy this one.
Stenibelle begins her journey imprisoned. Lt Gwendolyn is the reason for her loss of title, her dignity, her house and the hatred of some of her family members. After a visit from a benefactor, she is freed from prison and then provided a very specific task by a famous Professor Hannah-Ben Shurlamp. This Professor has the money and the mind set to make things happen, so Stenibelle agrees to the task of finding a planet called Cammara—especially after she realizes that there is absolutely no way to get out of her predicament. She can either go back to prison, losing everything if she refuses the professor—or she can find this Elder planet called Cammara by jumping on the George Parr and finding the information from Caroline of Melaazar. Two people who claim to be her friends from an alternate reality, come to help her on her journey—also claiming that whatever she does in this reality will affect the outcome of others as well. Stenibelle is then faced with hospitilar Morgan-Jeterix, who shows her what fear truly is, knocking her down and suffocating her with the ultimate terror of who she truly is, the monster that comes out if she is not careful. She tells Stenibelle that if she can get up off of the ground, face that fear—then she can do anything. Fighting to get up, she understands that there is a lot to be lost—she has to complete her mission. Can Stenibelle find the information that she needs to provide to the Professor? Can she save her House of Belmont-South Tyrol?
Garcia writes with such a creative mind—everything is so different, original and totally entertaining and new. The story has superb character development and is written well. It is a bit shorter than the other books in the series, but there is not really a change in pace or fluidity. Everything is explained, easy to understand and can be read as a standalone—however, it would be beneficial to begin with The Shadow Tech Goddess to understand certain characters within this story and how they have changed from other realities. If you are a reader of fantasy and science fiction, this may be perfect for you. It is strongly advised that since this is classified as dark fantasy, it is not recommended for children or teens due to content.
A paperback copy of this book was purchased by Turning Another Page from the author. We provide a five-star rating for Stenibelle by Ren Garcia.