In a far distant future, Van and Tayn are two ex soldiers working for their former commander, who sends the pair on sometimes-questionable missions. They have their own ship, which they're able to operate with their minds while their bodies are maintained in life support pods, using minimal resources during long journeys across space. Akiak is a bit of a backwater planet, but it holds a potentially powerful energy source. So valuable is the resource that the biggest factions in the galaxy are circling around looking to acquire the prized crystals from the locals. They're so eager to get their hands on the mineral that they conspire with the king's brother to kill the king and, they think, his son and heir. Prince Jorvik only barely escapes and begins looking for allies to help him take back the throne from his uncle.
“Consorts of the Red King” is a classic space opera, with a very gay bent. Tayn and Van are space cowboys of a sort, playing fast and loose with the rules to earn some credits, then spending them on drink and boys when docking at the next station, although as often as not, they play together rather than with someone else. They both like to tell themselves that they're just good friends with benefits.
Jorvik's planet may appear a little backward to outsiders, but his people have lived in relative harmony with each other and their strange world for more than 500 years. That all changes when greedy outsiders discover some, but not all, of the planet's secrets. Once again, you could compare it to the wild west, where Native Americans were displaced when their land was deemed more valuable to the white settlers.
When Jorvik, Van and Tayn come together there's a natural clash of cultures, not to mention suspicion about their motives. They each have their own reasons to be slow to trust. But they also recognize the mutual attraction they have for each other, even though things can be awkward when three people are involved. All three men come across as real and distinct characters. The need to learn more about each other and gain trust provides a good excuse to find out more about what defines each of them.
“Consorts of the Red King” is available from Amazon.