Far Removed by CB Lansdell


On the moon of Knyadrea, the sea yields intelligent life. For a species shaped by tides, change is the only constant.

Little can be hidden in the glare of a spotlight.

Charismatic and innovative, Oklas Sayve has risen to prominence in Apidecca, the moon’s capital city. A politician and college director, he has the resources to effect the changes he envisions for the world. But the sovereigns he serves oppose him at every turn and his status cannot protect the low-strata students attending his college. After a young knyad is wrongly linked to insurgent activity, Oklas must find a way to smuggle her out of the city while hiding his involvement from the authorities.

A spark in the dank depths.

Below the grand Assembly Chambers, a knyad in a mask sculpts, grasping for scraps of beauty in her shrinking world. Years ago, Prismer made a costly mistake and now has only her job at the projection booth and a few special interests to fill her days. But it is not her sculptures that draw the attention of a powerful client, and she is soon met with a request to undertake a dangerous mission. Will she answer the call and risk losing the little she has left?

Mysteries surface. A supernatural substance is used in corrupt ways. As identities shift and predicaments are reshuffled, what alliances might be forged …


Set on the alien moon of Knyadrea, Far Removed is a deceptively simple story with a lot of hidden depth. This is not a novel filled with action, but a more personal tale of complex people in a complex world.

There are two main protagonists in this novel that could not be more different from each other. Oklas is a well-known politician, inventor, and director of the college that he founded. In all of these roles he attempts to effect change, giving Knyads of lower castes opportunities that are not normally afforded to them. Behind the scenes he also surreptitiously aids a resistance movement, providing them with technology and resources to fight against the dystopian-like government. Prismer is a maskad, her appearance drastically altered by the government for the crime of stealing art supplies, she is forced to wear a mask in public and become a social outcast. She wants nothing more than to be left alone to make her art in private. They interact frequently as Prismer works at the government offices and regularly aids Oklas in administrative tasks. A chance event will link them together in ways neither could predict.

At surface level the story of Oklas and Prismer is rather simple and straightforward. But it is used to examine complex topics such as classism, othering of those different from “normal” people, and other social injustices. Their story has a lot of hidden depth to it and drew me in more than I would have expected. Character-driven readers will find a lot to like in their stories. I would also like to note that this is not a romantic relationship. Knyads cannot reproduce and as such do not enter into what we would see as romantic relationships. It was nevertheless compelling to watch the barriers between the break down, both personal and societal.

The fascinating world was definitely a highlight of this novel for me. Far Removed takes place on Knyadrea a moon tidally locked to its planet known as Axis. There are no humans at all on Knyadrea, only the people known as Knyads. The Knyads are humanoid but different in almost every way from humans in appearance. They do not reproduce at all, but instead young Knyads wash up on shorelines from the sea. Their origins are unknown even to their own people. Knyads live in highly stratified society, and their opportunities are decided for them “at birth” based on what part of the shore they wash up on. Those who dare to challenge the status quo are turned into maskads on trumped up charges without trial. I am always looking for how authors envision changes to society based on the differences between their world and ours and I was not disappointed. You can tell the author put a lot of thought and care into the details of Knyadrea and it shows in the writing.

There are a couple of things that I wanted to note, which are not criticisms so much as things to be aware of. Going into this novel you should be okay with not having everything explained to you upfront. There are no mysteries left dangling, but even things like the appearance of Knyads isn’t described to you early but is pieced together over the course of the novel, mostly through context. I thought it was handled extremely well but it a stylistic choice that not all readers may enjoy. The other thing is that I have absolutely no idea how this story is going to be resolved in a duology. While compelling and entertaining, this novel mostly felt like setup for the larger conflict. If you asked me at the end how many books would be in this series, I would have guessed 3 at a minimum, but more like 5 given the shorter length. I am actually fascinated and intrigued at what will happen in the second book of the duology because I cannot even guess at what the conflict will be, let alone how it will be resolved. I do trust the author though, given how well-written Far Removed is, and the sequel is a highly anticipated novel for me.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, it is an engaging story in a fascinating world. While it is sci-fi, there isn’t a lot of advanced technology or complicated science. As such I think it has a broader appeal to it than some more hard sci-fi novels. If you enjoy character-driven plots with hidden depth to them, I encourage you to pick this book up, regardless of your experience with sci-fi.