Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 12

Ah. Hit a writing problem and so I’ve only got one long-ish chapter for you tonight. It’s getting a little complicated and needs laying out clearly.

I *might* add another chapter later in the weekend – no promises.

So no one believes the Duchess committed suicide, but how was she murdered and by whom?

Questions, comments, observations, theories welcome. 🙂




I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:




When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.


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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at

17 responses to “Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 12”

  1. sarah says :

    Great storry!
    It was also very funny fore me because I was drinking a glas of water and a glas of wine while reading this chapter -would not even think that this could be strange since it is a quite common combination in my home country -especially on hot summer days

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Ah, yes. Not the clearest explanation in this chapter.

      Yes, I drink water alongside wine, and we also put water in wine here, too. And don’t tell anyone, but sometimes in summer, I put ice cubes in white or rose wine.

      The picture I was trying to build up is the strangeness of the duchess sitting on the deck popping pills and washing them down with wine and then deciding she needed water as well. Drinking water alongside wine is supposed to balance and dilute the intake of alcohol and keep you hydrated. Why would she worry if she’s trying to kill herself?

      I will probably redraft this chapter in the final novel.

  2. Michael Orton says :

    Well that makes a different location for the locked room murder mystery.

    Thinking time for this I think.

  3. Ric says :

    After a promising start, the story seems to be getting slower and slower. I think you need to speed the action up a bit or readers will lose interest.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      It does get slower, but I think that’s partly because it’s a weekly serial. It’s only a couple of chapters since Rhoswyn was falling off a cliff, and this episode was supposed to end on a cliffhanger as well, but I ran out of time. I really don’t think that as a novel, it will seem slow, but we will see.

      This story is a bit long for weekly serialisation – the format seems better suited to novellas like Change of Regime, or simpler single-threaded tales.

  4. Justin Savely says :

    I am going with my gut and saying a friend or employee killed her. But I hope not, Mark rarely goes for 1st path.

  5. Sarah L says :

    So many questions! However I’m loving the mystery and the pondering about how it is all going to turn out. My theory on the murder – it wasn’t the Duke, that’s all i’ve got so far! Actually I also think it was someone who knew her and it was done by stealth or bribery. I think someone from the conspirators camp is within the Duke’s stronghold, but who? My biggest question at this point is possibly why (what with the info hub technology) with Zara using her own name, she hasn’t been outed as a murderer/the general bad guy. Or this an ace in the hole that the conspirators have got to use against her? Maybe they’ll try and murder her along with the Tremaynes and go for a 2 for 1 🙂 These are my ramblings! I like to ramble, it’s what good stories make me do.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Okay, it’s not the Duke. It’s the person you’re not looking at, though you might look at them if you catch the clues as they fall…

      The information question:
      The InfoHub in the future is a strange thing – on each planet, it’s as quick as the internet is here on Earth. Between planets, it is dependent on shuttle drones which go back and forth between planets. Each time a drone visits a planet, its data storage is taken mainly by inter-government, military and major commercial subscribers. Individuals or local businesses enter data or searches into a broking system which bids for any spare space in the drone’s capacity – so very limited and subject to delays.
      Newyan has a delegation on Amethys, but they’re not part of the Newyan plot. So if the conspirators just tried to order the delegation to apprehend Zara, questions might be asked which would be difficult to answer. However, as Shohwa-nia has spotted, the Newyan conspiracy is actually part of a conspiracy on several planets, so the conspirators on Amethys do know about Zara and intend to do something…

      • Sarah L says :

        Aha! Interesting, I see how the infohub works now. Looking forward to more.

      • Robert says :

        I agree that it’s not really slow. In fact I’d like it slowed down even more in some ways. Perhaps not in terms of the action or scenes, but in terms of the description and Zara’s internal monologue, (although from the sound of it, you do intend to flesh it out prior to publication).

        The fact that you say it’s the person we’re not looking at implies to me we’ve already been introduce to the murder. Obviously it can’t be (as you’ve confirmed) the romantic hero (i.e. the Duke). So I’d guess Gaude, or Talan. Or possibly Esterhauze if she was somehow in situ beforehand.
        Gaude is a worm (as you confirm below0 … but so much so, that maybe he’s too obvious. Talan .. would be sad, I’d hope she was blackmailed into doing it. If it was Hanna … I’d guess that someone has her daughter stashed away and she’s already being blackmailed into being a spy for the conspiracy.

  6. Sarah L says :

    Also must be a strange experience for you Mark to have us all commenting and having theories ‘whilst’ you’re writing and not after! How are you finding it? Does it add to the process?

  7. Vroni says :

    I still do not like Gaude. He is in an important Position, but security is lacking…and he is Trusted, likes Hanna, knows whatever is spoken on the Scanner, etc. But I am probably wrong as usual.
    Next chapters, Please?

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