I’m back home and over the jetlag, but I’m keeping a low profile because I’m doing my final check on the page proofs of Empire Games (cover above)! Because I’m back in the Merchant Princes setting with a whole new near-future SF trilogymy big fat post-Snowden surveillance state technothriller (with parallel universes): The year is 2020. It’s seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire, and the newly-reconstituted North American Commonwealth is developing rapidly, on course to defeat the French and bring democracy to a troubled world. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligencethe paratime espionage agency tasked with catalyzing the Commonwealth’s great leap forwardhas a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis, for their leader, First Man Adam, is dying of cancer, and the vultures are circling. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Rita, Miriam’s own estranged daughter, to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. But her handlers are keeping information from her. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies are fumbling around in the dark, trying to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust. And two womena mother and her long-lost, adopted-out daughterare about to find themselves on opposite sides of the confrontation.