The Caphenon (Chronicles of Alsea – Book #1) by Fletcher DeLancey

Rated 4.83 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)

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Book One in the Chronicles of Alsea

Author: Fletcher DeLancey


On a summer night like any other, an emergency call sounds in the quarters of Andira Tal, Lancer of Alsea. The news is shocking: not only is there other intelligent life in the universe, but it’s landing on the planet right now.

Tal leads the first responding team and ends up rescuing aliens who have a frightening story to tell. They protected Alsea from a terrible fate—but the reprieve is only temporary.

Captain Ekatya Serrado of the Fleet ship Caphenon serves the Protectorate, a confederation of worlds with a common political philosophy. She has just sacrificed her ship to save Alsea, yet political maneuvering may mean she did it all for nothing.

Alsea is now a prize to be bought and sold by galactic forces far more powerful than a tiny backwater planet. But Lancer Tal is not one to accept a fate imposed by aliens, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save her world.

Additional information

Publication Date

March 2015


epub, mobi, and pdf




165,000 words




978-3-95533-254-9 (mobi), 978-3-95533-255-6 (epub), 978-3-95533-256-3 (pdf)


Ylva Publishing

6 reviews for The Caphenon (Chronicles of Alsea – Book #1) by Fletcher DeLancey

  1. rmhawkins
    Rated 5 out of 5


    Really enjoyed this long awaited “first book” in this series. Fletcher has created a wonderful and complex world for the alien ship, The Caphenon, to inhabit with advanced technology and deadly enemies. The writing is masterful with brilliant interactions between the aliens and the Alseans both on a warrior’s personal basis and as a country defending itself against invasion by a brutal force that without the equipment on the Caphenon, there is little hope of success. I highly recommend this book to you.

  2. Simon Gorton
    Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    This is very unlike other science fiction books in that it does not focus on technology, but more on the people who are threatened with extinction. It is a really great read that I had difficulty in putting down (I like the remainder of the trilogy). If you have not read this genre before this is a good place to start. It sets the bar very high and does not fail over the three books.

  3. Lee Koven
    Rated 4 out of 5


    A space firefight happens above Alsea, a technologically advanced world without very fast spaceships and no proof there are aliens until some aliens crash down to the planet. The aliens, a humanoid and friendly bunch, inform Lancer Andira Tal (government head) that the less friendly aliens they fought in space want to come invade and enslave Alsea. With their ship beached, the aliens want to help Alsea as much as they can, but they are limited by the orders of their government. Tal must do whatever’s necessary and make uncomfortable choices to try to save her world. Will it be enough?

    The Caphenon, titled for the crashed ship the friendly aliens were on, boasts tons of memorable and intriguing characters with complex interactions. Lancer Tal must bear the weight of society, marshal the world’s troops, and play politics at the same time, and those have shaped her into a fascinating woman, tough and empathetic. Her foil, Ekatya Serrado, has a similar personality and burden, but differing life circumstances and loyalties molded by her society’s customs. The most major non-main character (deuteragonist?), anthropologist Lhyn Rivers, is richly detailed: curious, loyal, brilliant, and drives the actions of many with her ingenuity and compassion.

    The female characters in The Caphenon all take actions, take responsibility for their actions, and have all kinds of different jobs, capabilities, and personalities. You know, like people! That they are people is not a gimmick or remarked upon. This is what I look for in stories: fully realized characters of all shapes, sizes, genders, sexualities, and more.

    Alsea is a fascinating world with a complicated society and history. The caste system makes meritocracy an even more problematic concept, with people of certain aptitudes (inborn) being shoehorned into the higher castes. Alsean society knows this is an issue but has not divested of it, and the tensions between the less prestigious castes and the warriors and scholars come up in several discussions.

    Delancey explores an interesting concept I wish I saw in more military fiction: the soldiers die, but they have traditions and ceremony to commemorate that, and they’re trained for war. Civilians still have to cope with war and often bear the scars of conflict as well. In The Caphenon, some academics have to get into combat zones and do violent things unfamiliar to them, the trauma of which will follow them beyond the story.

    The villainous aliens, the Voloth, are unfortunately just villainous aliens. They believe they’re better than the Alseans, and the individual ones we get glimpses of are very simple in that. They aren’t named or physically described beyond having humanoid bodies, and they just seem to be evil because that’s their role. I find it a stretch to believe that such a huge army isn’t at all conflicted about what they’re doing in the least with their truly horrifying tactics. I prefer when I get a little more insight into the villains’ more human motivations and when they are presented in a morally gray manner.

    Both Tal and Serrado are presented with some awful choices. They are prepared to go through with horrible things for decent reasons and self-flagellate indefinitely for them, but the story doesn’t pull those triggers. They don’t end up doing or having to do anything truly problematic, and having been led through some of those struggles and then finding no questionable means were required for the ends felt a bit of a letdown for me. There are characters who have to do problematic things for survival, but the moral choices of the main characters end up with their hands pretty clean when I thought dirtiness would have been interesting.

    This is space opera. It’s big. We get explanations of matter printers, religious myths, and military funerals. Cultural exchange takes many pages, and the reader will need to have some patience for that. There are dozens of side characters, which can be difficult to keep track of. Several of them are named and die in the same scene. Almost all of the conflict is large scale. Even the personal matters mostly come up because of world conflict, not budgeting badly for the month or keeping residence poorly.

    I received a free copy for review purposes.

  4. Tara at The Lesbian Review
    Rated 5 out of 5


    Alsea might be used to celestial stones falling from space, but aliens are an entirely different story. When Alsea’s Lancer, Andira Tal, gets the call that a spaceship has landed not too far from the largest city on the planet, everything changes for its people.

    Ekatya Serrado, Captain of the Protectorate Fleet’s ship Caphenon, has survived the crash landing along with most of a skeleton crew, and their news isn’t good. She may have saved them from a Voloth invasion, but there are almost certainly more coming and their destructive capabilities are beyond imagining.

    I loved The Caphenon and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s been waiting for a lesbian sci-fi story that is heavy on excellent story and world building, and light on romance.

    Full joint review with Brooklyn here:

  5. flowerscat
    Rated 5 out of 5


    This book is a must-read if you are even remotely a fan of sci-fi, word-building, world-building & great character development. I loved the the world the book was set in, and it’s easy to see the effort that has gone into building the characters and the world of Alsea. The book starts off with first contact, and the narrative builds on this, and flows seamlessly, as the two races join forces to combat a common enemy . I couldn’t put this book down, and finished it in a single sitting – which is saying a lot about how much I liked it, as the book is almost 400 pages long. In fact, I wished it was longer as I didn’t really want the story to end! I didn’t want to leave Alsea to come back to the real world!

    Aside from the great writing, the science of faster-than-light travel is also plausibly explained, which is a big plus as that can often make or break a book. The description of the Flight of Return is one of my favourite parts of the book, one which I have read over and over again. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series & hope to see a lot more of Ekatya and Lhyn in the future.

  6. Carolyn McBride
    Rated 5 out of 5


    I have mulled over this review for days, trying to pick out a favorite character, or favorite part of the story. I can’t. I admire the way the characters are presented, built on and developed. Early on, even before we see the Caphenon, the characters become people. We are presented with a plausible world that we can nearly touch, such are the world building skills of the author. We are drawn into this world so vividly that we feel the windows explode, we feel the ground shake when the ground pounder walks by and we mourn at the Flight of The Return ceremony.
    It was a sad twist that the two people most suited for each other could not be together, but I hope we see more of them in future books. I was impressed by the explanation of FTL flight, because it was so easily understood! The science was so deftly woven and explained that it becomes a reasonable, vital tool that supports the main stars of this book, the characters.

    The quality of the e-book needs mentioning here too. I read a great deal, fiction and non-fiction, across a wide range of topics and from a wide range of publishers. I did not find one error in this e-book. Not one. I could go on for hours about how much I appreciate the care and eye for detail that has gone into this e-book, this story, and how readable it is. I could, but I won’t.

    Simply, I have fallen in love with Alsea. If Lhyn and Ekatya go back, can they take me too?

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