To Castle Kingside

Fiction - Science Fiction
641 Pages
Reviewed on 09/11/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John W. Grundy is a Massachusetts native who grew up in a suburb just outside of Boston. During his late teens, his passion for storytelling was ignited when he and his friends created an original sci-fi role-playing game. This early endeavor kindled his fascination with the art of narrative, particularly in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. While his career initially led him to serve as a Boston area paramedic, he eventually transitioned into the world of business, where he and his wife partnered in co-founding a thriving small enterprise. Amidst the demands of his professional life, he never lost sight of his lifelong passion for worldbuilding, and with the release of his debut novel, he eagerly embraces the opportunity to put his storytelling to the test.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Parul Sood for Readers' Favorite

To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy is a truly captivating space opera that transports readers on an exhilarating journey through a meticulously constructed universe. With inspiration drawn from a unique role-playing game crafted by the author and his friends, this action-packed sci-fi adventure flawlessly merges explosive action, intricate world-building, and profound character development. The heart of the story revolves around Parliament, a legendary group of battle-hardened mercenaries nearing the end of their illustrious careers. Initially contemplating retirement, they find themselves reluctantly agreeing to one final mission, only to have their plans disrupted when one of their comrades is abducted. Driven by an unwavering will to rescue their friend, these mercenaries embark upon an extraordinary journey spanning distant planets, immersing themselves in a web of deceit and mystery.

John W. Grundy’s amazing attention to detail brilliantly captures readers within To Castle Kingside, fully entangling them in an evocatively imagined world. His portrayal of a modern universe reflects the passion and dynamism of today’s industrial complexes, cellular in scale across intergalactic arenas. Within this backdrop, the author magnificently weaves a compelling narrative, delving into the seductive power dynamics, cutting-edge space trade strategies, and governance elevated in a futuristic society. Found within are stunningly intricate characters, with distinct backgrounds and motivations as John W. Grundy skillfully crafts their relationships with authenticity. His expository style allows readers to experience every facet of the worldbuilding process, from exquisite politics to pioneering technologies. The futuristic setting and exploration of various alien species ensure a highly engaged and enticing experience throughout the narration. The pacing is generally well-executed. There are a few moments where the plot slows down slightly; however, these instances are overshadowed by the overall excitement and suspense that propels the narrative forward. Grundy's creation is an enthralling tale that showcases his remarkable talent as an author, paving the way for future thrilling adventures in this captivating universe.

Asher Syed

To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy is a science fiction epic set in a galaxy dominated by powerful megacorporations. The Federated Planetary Coalition protects interests through its espionage team, Parliament. Four species unite under the coalition to defend against the Drak'min Empire, while neutral species and outliers shape the universe of HiTec. A scheme unfolds after Lady Pia's death. Meanwhile, characters face personal challenges, political intrigue, and confrontations. President Forestal suspects a human advisor, Bullit seeks revenge, and a perilous mission goes wrong for Lady Ofroi. Rook is abducted and a search ensues. The novel includes neural enhancement, rescue missions, and power struggles. Tensions rise as the group faces ambushes, flooded tunnels, and the pursuit of missing team members. They must uncover secrets, protect their interests, and save the galaxy from impending threats.

To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy is a massive saga with a ton of alternating storylines that, intertwined, take quite a bit of time to unravel to see how and why they connect to one another. I did have to take notes as the cast of characters is impressively huge and the result is a tremendous amount of subplots that flesh out a great many of them. This novel has it all. Politics, conspiracy, the Haves and the Have-Nots, spaceships, caverns and tunnels, diverse worlds and entities, and loads of action scenes, the best of the lot being a battle of bounty hunters, hired by a queen, with a mysterious figure in black armor emerging. It's like The Mandalorian on some serious uppers. The world-building is amazing and, for me, the standout is an underground village. The weaponry ranges from grenades to mind control implants to a rather innocuous bit of finery that gives a character in a deadly situation a surge of power. This is one of the vast numbers of twists, large and small, that help the scope of Grundy's work make sense. Overall, this is a comprehensive work of fiction, and while it takes a little patience to figure out the who's who, once you're in, you're fully immersed.

Jamie Michele

In the science fiction novel To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy, a legendary group of alien mercenaries embarks on a final mission that spirals into a complex rescue operation after a comrade's abduction. They unravel a conspiracy threatening the galaxy, led by power-hungry Denali and aided by a mind-discipline manipulated mercenary. The narrative is woven with various characters, including presidential and royal elites. The Parliament mission intersects with the alternate motivations of others, allies and foes, that lead to intense battles with the fate of the Federated Planets in the balance, heading toward a climax to counter a hostile, mind-bending cosmic takeover.

To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy does what every exceptional science fiction novel must do to incorporate a stretch to the limits of scientific possibility while grounding the story in believable scientific principles and technologies. In a science fiction and quasi-fantasy hybrid, Grundy's technique helps create a sense of realism by writing in themes that are relatable to readers. We see corruption at various levels, autocratic ambition, the good guys with good character arcs—Stansky is the breakout—and their growth, like Bullseye, into leaders. We are struck by inevitable character losses we have connected with and a forced alliance that leaves readers conflicted on whether or not that is redeemable. I'm a female reader and am so happy for femme roles coming from positions of strength, intelligence, and, with Queen Vasu, shrewd cunning. To Castle Kingside is science fiction at its best. Very highly recommended.

Miche Arendse

To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy follows a group of mercenaries known as Parliament as they undertake what is supposed to be their final mission. What should have been a more or less straightforward operation has dangerous consequences when matters start to go awry with the treaties and within the Coalition. Developments may not be as simple as they would have hoped but can these old friends make it through one last trial?

To Castle Kingside by John W. Grundy seemed almost daunting due to its length, but once I started this magnificent piece of work I couldn’t put it down. Right from the start I could tell this book would be right up my alley. Being a fan of RPG games I was instantly intrigued by the origin of this book and I was in no way let down. The world-building was brilliant, and from the various races to the different federations, the universe within HiTech is vast and complex.

The characters are complex and so real in their portrayal that you can’t help but become attached to them. I found myself liking every single member of Parliament but if I had to pick a favorite I would say it’d have to be Rook. I found him to be charismatic and charming, and despite his rough-around-the-edges personality, I found myself drawn to him. It was so easy to get lost in this amazing book and hours would pass by without notice. To Castle Kingside is truly a gem and I’m glad I was able to read and review it.

K.C. Finn

To Castle Kingside is a work of fiction in the science fiction, action, and adventure subgenres, based on the game mechanics of the HiTec RPG gaming system. It is best suited to the mature adult reading audience owing to scenes of graphic violence, explicit language throughout, and some scenes of a sexual nature. Penned by author John W. Grundy, this explosive and truly epic space opera gives readers a superb science fiction plot to follow whilst also fully exploring the exciting capabilities of this dice-rolling role-play system. The group of mercenaries known only as Parliament finds themselves put to the test when a friend is abducted, and a dangerous chemically enhanced Mentalist spreads his vicious powers toward the Coalition.

Author John W. Grundy does wonders in bringing this superb space opera to life with all the bells and whistles that novelization can add to the core storyline and concepts of what looks like a fantastic RPG system to begin with. As a role-player myself, I found that I was instantly drawn into the characters and their different backgrounds first and foremost, and I very much enjoyed the way that their different skill sets and personalities sparked off against one another. I was also a huge fan of the episodic nature of the storytelling, which meant that you could follow chunks of plot and enjoy them in their own right, then have a break before diving back into the action, which made the huge length of the book really digestible and enjoyable as an overall experience. To Castle Kingside is a novel that will certainly satisfy science fiction fans and role-players alike with its exciting storylines and vivid characters.


A thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish, I found this book hard to put down. The author’s character building and extensive descriptions of the universe in which it takes place were captivating. I felt a real connection with the main characters, and the story was unique and a real page turner. Looking forward to a sequel!