The Xenocide Mission

The Xenocide Mission cover

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Lieutenant Joel Gilmore is part of a multi-species observation team on a hidden base in a distant solar system, when they find themselves under attack by the very aliens they were meant to be watching. Joel and his allies, the enigmatic Rusties, must explore the parameters of trust in a lethal confrontation with a deeply alien third species: one with a proven predilection for xenocide on a planetary scale. Meanwhile the humans and the Rusties rush to their rescue – but as it turns out, are they any better?


“Anyone who missed Ben Jeapes’ first novel, His Majesty’s Starship, missed one of the best first contact books in a long while – a gripping, logical, original and fundamentally optimistic retake on one of SF’s richest themes. Brimming with humour and tension, The Xenocide Mission amply fulfils the promise of its predecessor.”

Alastair Reynolds

“The use of multiple viewpoints works well, providing a timely reminder that pointless wars can be triggered by nothing more than arrogance, paranoia and misinformation. Just like the real world.”


“The book is, unfortunately, timely. It neatly and unpatronisingly points to the double standards we apply in politics: we are exploring, you are invading; we are ignorant, you are stupid; we recognise authority, you are slavish and therefore suitable to be enslaved; and it goes beyond this.”


“This is good science fiction, offering imagination and ideas in equal measure, and gives us Ben Jeapes as one of the shamefully few writers who can create original SF for a teenage readership. Offer this to good readers who have yet to be convinced that there is life beyond Star Trek/Star Wars spin-offs.”

The School Librarian

“This is a book about racial (interspecies) conflict, and the breadth of imagination is awesome. The ethics of war are revisited again and again as codes of behaviour among different species are intelligently interrogated. Communication too is a central theme: where there is no common language, what stretch of sympathy, what breadth of sophisticated interspecies knowledge is needed to interpret body language accurately? This is an exciting, demanding but hugely rewarding exercise in science fiction writing.”

“Jeapes winds surefootedly through his labyrinth of plot points and viewpoints. A strong measure of humor, slyly directed at the next century’s British Navy, spices the action, and as plotting never quite upstages character development, even such stock devices as interspecies sidekicks and multi-limbed foes are surprisingly fresh. Teens scanning the galaxy for summer sci-fi fare will want to tuck this titles in with their beach gear.”

The Bulletin

“Incorporating the best qualities of YA SF, this is a space opera that employs sociological examination and world building of a very high order — who could ask for anything more? A rip-roaring read.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Deftly switching between viewpoints and time frames, Jeapes tells a story of interspecies and interworld rivalries that moves at the speed of a space launch. No one has a lock on virtue or even decency, not to mention brains; in this arena, but one thing is clear: A unilateral human victory is neither guaranteed nor necessarily desirable. All kinds of assumptions are shaken up.”

The Washington Post Book World

“Jeapes delivers a space opera worthy of David Brin or early C.J. Cherryh, replete with complex politics; ingeniously different aliens; brutal fire fights; cliff-hangers; and tough, likeable characters.”

School Library Journal