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A Merry Life

Pirates of New Earth

by Sarah Branson

A Merry Life - Sarah Branson - Pirates of New Earth
Part of the Pirates of New Earth series:
  • A Merry Life
Editions:Paperback - First Edition: $ 18.99
ISBN: 978-1-957774-00-8
Size: 5.25 x 8.00 in
Pages: 326

Kat Wallace is on a mission. After escaping tortuous enslavement, she sets her sights on ending the human trafficking that has flourished in 24th century Earth.

Adopted by the leader of the pirate nation of Bosch, Kat Wallace is determined to prove herself as a member of the Bosch Pirate Force and use her skills to avenge her enslavement and free other thralls.

But unexpected love and a test of loyalty threaten to rob her of what she wants most: a home.

Cover Artists:
Tropes: Fish Out of Water, Found Family, Post-Apocalyptic, Training, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 88700
Setting: Bosch Island, New Earth
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Tropes: Fish Out of Water, Found Family, Post-Apocalyptic, Training, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 88700
Setting: Bosch Island, New Earth
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

The air is warm and moist and somewhat oppressive here in Dakal. The vessel is well hidden at the edge of the jungle, and we move through the thick vegetation with the aid of my machete. It doesn’t take long to come upon the backside of the property where we will find our target.

“So, they are, weirdly, holding him on the fucking grounds of the palace in the country house.” We are approaching a wrought-iron fence sandwiched between two tall, thorny hedges.

Takai looks at me. “How do you know that?”


“Details, Takai.” I grin. “Even if you don’t have them, I have other sources.” I have my extraction garb on: all black, including gloves and a hair covering, and I’ve smudged my face with black to prevent lights from reflecting off my pale skin. Even my machete blade, which has yet to return to its place in my trusty sling bag, is black. I like being able to get in, get done, and get out having never been seen. I check my watch. “Guard will be by in five, then we can push on.”

I begin to clear-cut a section of hedge on this side of the fence. Once at the fence, I reach through and cut about halfway through to the other side, my hands and arms feeling sharp pricks even through my sleeves and gloves. “Fucking thorns!” That is my mantra for this part of the mission. I look up at the two-and-a-half-meter fence, and Takai leans down to give me a boost up. Adorable. I smile at him, squat, jump, and pull myself up and over the top with the spikes just grazing my belly, landing on my feet in the small, cleared space on the opposite side. “You’re next,” I whisper, grinning wickedly through the fence. I wonder if this counts as flirting?

He surveys the fence and clambers over, not nearly as elegantly as I had, and his landing contains a stumble.

I smile. “Points off for style, but you made it. Now, quick review: What’s the most important rule?”

He sighs since I have made him repeat this rule at least a dozen times since he boarded. “Don’t get you killed.”

“Good man.”

I cut a very low and small passage through the rest of the hedge, hoping the hole won’t be very visible from the grounds, and then skirt the hedge and run to an out-building’s shadow as I make my way to the brightly lit country house with dozens of windows and a fair amount of balconies. Takai follows and I’m impressed he can keep up.

We stand, staring up at the enormous house. “He could be anywhere in there,” Takai ventures, sounding discouraged.

“Or they could be right there.” I point at a window on the third floor where a young, clearly Edoan man holds a young woman with long, dark hair in his arms protectively as they seem to be speaking quietly with each other. “Either he’s a bit of a rake or that’s the daughter. Are Edoans known for their rakishness? Why are they together if he is awaiting execution?” My first question was meant as a dig; my second one was rhetorical. I know Takai has no idea why they are still together either.

I leave Takai to consider the questions as I spy a trellis of vines on the side of the house that will take me almost to the second floor. When I am about six meters above the ground, I reach into my vest and pull out a handful of small rocks.

I look down to see Takai looking up at me with confusion. He may get to sail to exotic places, but I don’t think he knows how to have fun. This is fun. I take aim at the window where we had seen the couple and start lobbing pebbles at it.

“Seriously?” Takai loudly whispers. I look down at him, grin, shrug, and toss another. Sometimes the simplest ways work best.

My faith in simplicity is rewarded as the window lock rattles, and the young black-haired man peers out at me. “Howdy!” I loud-whisper in standard Fed’s language. “I brought a countryman for you to hobnob with,” and I gesture to Takai. Takai and the young man, who apparently is named Taro Konya, converse in Edonese for a brief moment. I hear my name and the word “Bosch” and see Takai gesture to me. I figure this is my cue to wave. The two Edoans speak a bit longer, and then I see Takai close his eyes.

We need to get a move-on if we are getting out of here clean, so I tell Taro, “I’m tossing a rope to you. You can tie it off and shimmy down to me.”

Takai breaks in with a sigh. “He won’t leave without . . .” Here he pauses, and I look down at him. “. . . without Juelle, who he says is his lawful bride and wishes to return with him to Edo.”

Are you fucking kidding me? is the only thought I have. But as I can’t say it without shouting, I elect for silence. I believe the message is conveyed. I take two deep breaths and hiss from my vantage point on the trellis. “Well, now, this is a detail, isn’t it?” I am disgusted. “Okay, so now we have to get fucking Romeo and Juliet out of fucking Verona.”

Takai shrugs. “Nice reference. I like Shakespeare as well.”

I stare down at him. “Great. We’ll have lots of time to discuss the plays when we are awaiting our executions after getting caught here.” My volume is starting to climb, so I focus back on my task but not before mouthing to Takai “One rule” while holding my index finger up. He nods and puts an index finger up in response. “Tie the rope off,” I tell Taro, “and I’ll come up and help all y’all down.”

He does as I instruct, and I climb hand over hand to the third-story window, then I hop to the floor in a squat and begin straightening up. When halfway to standing, my eyes are level with an extremely large, extremely pregnant belly. I look up into the gentle face of a young woman with straight, dark hair who smiles at me. “I’m just guessing you are Juelle.” I look back down at her burgeoning belly. “Details. Fucking details.” I stand up fully, sigh, and rub my eyelids.

I turn to the Edoan man. “Well, we have had quite a busy and productive ‘diplomatic’ mission, haven’t we?” Taro shrugs and turns his hands over in a what-are-you-going-to-do move. Somehow, he manages to look both abashed and proud. The course of true love never did run smooth. Nope, wrong play.

Bet the Capulets are pissed about this.

Reviews:David Aretha wrote:

The author's Kat Wallace is one of the best heroines you'll find in contemporary sci-fi. We recognize Kat's flaws but admire her emotional depth and strength of character as well as her burning desire to do what's right — even if it means breaking conventional rules. Her passion is palpable."

Andrea Vanryken wrote:

"Sarah Branson's novel, A Merry Life, is a rousing page-turner. Her tough-as-nails heroine is relatable and genuine, and the plot is action-packed from start to end. Great for any reader ready to buckle in for a lightning fast ride of a book!"

Debby Applegate wrote:

"A Merry Life is a fantastically fast-paced page-turner, with a dark streak. From the very first paragraph, Sarah Branson plunges readers into the action and doesn't let us catch our breath until the very last page. We follow the adventures of Kat Wallace, Branson's bad-ass heroine, as she escapes from slavery and is recruited to become a swashbuckling, skyborne soldier in the Bosch Pirate Force. Once you pick up A Merry Life, you won't be able to put it down!"

Diane Donovan on Donovans Library wrote:

Sarah Branson creates a compelling saga of a life not always so merry .... Readers who look for more than just a satisfying futuristic adventure story of survival will find plenty of social, ethical, and psychological inspections in A Merry Life which bring this futuristic world and its competing forces to vivid life."

Sally Altass on Reedsy wrote:

Swashbuckling, vengeance and heart — all wrapped up in one heck of a strong woman. Kat Wallace is a Thrall, a slave, to an unbelievably rich and powerful man. After three failed escape attempts, she's taken into the care of a Pirate Captain, and given the chance to start to live her life. She learns how to be patient, how to stay her hand when the opportunity for revenge presents itself at an unexpected moment. As Kat's story unfolds, your heart will break along with hers; you'll feel her joy and her terror. I sincerely look forward to the next instalment in Kat's story.

on OnlineBookClub:

"In A Merry Life, Sarah Branson creates a powerful female character. Hers is a story of trauma, survival, recovery, and above all empowerment. The character writing is my favorite aspect of this book. Kat Wallace is amazing ... strong-willed and daring. I happily rate this book 4 out of 4 stars."

About the Author

Sarah Branson is the award-winning author of the four-book Pirates of New Earth series. Kat’s presence in her life required her to learn to fly, fight and shoot. She looks forward to exploring what the next character has in store for her.

Sarah first started conjuring stories of pirates when her family hopped a freighter to Australia when she was seven. She has since grown up, traveling the globe, raising a family, and working as a receptionist, retail clerk, writing tutor, and certified nurse midwife. She also taught science and history to middle school and high school students in the U.S., Brazil and Japan. Through these myriad experiences, she has developed a deep appreciation for people’s strength and endurance and believes that badass women will inherit the earth.

Sarah is still weaving pirate tales in her head and now, on paper, phone and computer, for your reading enjoyment. She draws on all of these experiences when creating stories about strong women and men finding adventure, love and their paths in worlds that are constantly changing.

Sarah lives with her husband and various aging pets in Connecticut. For more information, please visit