My Favorite Bit: Robin C.M. Duncan talks about THE RIGEL REDEMPTION

Robin C.M. Duncan is joining us today to talk about his novel, The Rigel Redemption. Here’s the publisher’s description:

The most powerful man in the solar system is going to steal the future.

Besides dealing with his teenage assistant, Moth (being enticed by her mafia family to join the business), Quirk’s nemesis Beatrix Potter has reappeared. The nonbinary assassin reveals an unprecedented power grab by Joshua Simister. The Old Man, aka TOM, aka Quirk’s ex-father-in-law plots to snatch control of all interstellar travel from the UN. The struggle for power puts the lives of Quirk’s ex-wife (committed to an asylum), his son (an electronic being), and Moth’s family under threat. Can the dysfunctional duo prevent this calamity?

From Mars, to London, to New York, to Venus: a worlds-spanning clandestine struggle rages to prevent The Old Man redoubling his already vast power. Old debts are coming due, deadly legacies inherited, and Quirk may not even survive being reunited with his family, much less his enemies.

Read the latest instalment of Quirk and Moth’s adventures in The Rigel Redemption!

What’s Robin’s favorite bit?

The year is 2099, and Quinton Kirby, nickname Quirk, is a private investigator. He is a jaded and cynical ex-employee of the massive, planets-spanning C Corp, and ex-husband of the boss’s daughter. Like all the best detectives, he lugs around in his head and his heart a whole mess of familial baggage. These emotional issues have haunted him from the beginning, but now things are about to get very personal indeed.

Angelika Moratti, aka Moth, is a 14-year-old daughter of the mob. Orphaned by a brutal attack on her uncle’s villa, she ends up under Quirk’s guardianship, and quickly becomes his assistant in solving several cases of corporate skullduggery in my first two novels. But in The Rigel Redemption, their nemesis, The Old Man, has upped the stakes: he plans to steal the future, to use his untouchable, worlds-spanning power to take control of Humankind’s ability to travel beyond the Earth, and he has no scruples about how his masterplan is achieved.

My characters Quirk and Moth came into being in 2016, the result of a prompt on the Writing Excuses podcast (Season 10, Episode 5), to write versions of the same dead-drop with three different characters. Quirk and Moth were two; the third was Moth’s android S-0778, quickly nicknamed Eight. I used these characters for other WE writing prompts, and so their story burgeoned. A year later, I had a first draft. Another year later, I had two novels. Quirk and Moth, very quickly and forcefully, had taken on exciting (and stressful) lives of their own. All I could do was hang on for the ride.

I took a little while to consider my favourite bit of writing my third novel, The Rigel Redemption. My first publication was two novellas in 2021’s Distant Gardens anthology from Space Wizard Science Fantasy. One of those, The Bibliothek Betrayal, debuted Quirk and Moth, but on that occasion, I chose as My Favorite Bit the joy of making that publishing journey with my very special fellow anthology writers and friends JS Fields, NL Bates, Sara Codair, and William C Tracy.

Following 2022’s The Mandroid Murders—Quirk and Moth’s first full length investigation—my second novel, The Carborundum Conundrum, appeared in 2023. On that occasion, I wrote for My Favorite Bit about the truly inspiring and supportive genre community, which has been nothing less than incredibly generous to a relative newbie. (And if you need proof of that, a trip to Glasgow Worldcon in August should prove the point!)

But now, as Quirk and Moth’s first long arc comes to a thrilling conclusion in The Rigel Redemption, it’s only proper that I celebrate the driving force behind those books, the spirit that infused me with the enthusiasm and commitment to write three novels and two novellas between 2016 and 2024—my characters.

Three years after first publication, and with the first two novels now available in audiobook, people seem to like Quirk and Moth. They bicker a lot as they go about solving crimes; they get into trouble, they fall out, they make up, they become closer. I think about them a lot, always scribbling down lines of dialogue, plot points, arguments. I feel for them, root for them even when I’m throwing them into terrible peril. Even as I’m blowing things up, I cheer them on to survive and succeed.

It took the first draft to get a proper sense of Quirk and Moth, to understand their individual histories, and their dynamic. But, steadily and surely, they emerged, evolving as the stories progressed, their characters deepening, broadening, gaining complexity. And their world blossomed around them. From that first novel I’ve had a ‘stack’ of 12 growing documents separate from the main manuscript, including general plot notes, a glossary, a gazetteer, a dramatis personae, an itinerary file (for journey calculations), an external references file, background notes for recurring characters, a text bin, and more.

With every story I learn more about Quirk and Moth, but also about their co-stars: The Old Man, Moth’s cousin Mario, Quirk’s ex-wife Jennifer, his son Nick (it’s complicated), the non-binary assassin Beatrix; the list goes on. I discovered very quickly on the first novel that, as my main characters gained depth and nuance, so did the supporting cast around them. Their lives became enmeshed and—most tellingly—Quirk and Moth began to determine where the story went next, which I could not be happier about.

So, ‘My Favorite Bit’ of completing The Rigel Redemption and with it, Quirk and Moth’s first multi-story arc through five ‘episodes’ has been meeting them, getting to know them, trusting their judgement, and coming to count them—if not as friends—certainly as close colleagues, partners really, in this journey. I doubt friendship is an option though given some of the adversity I’ve inflicted upon them, and especially when they learn what’s coming next. Already, I can see Quirk rolling his eyes, and Moth’s language does not bear repeating.


Book Link



Blue Sky:

Publisher’s website:



Robin is a Scot from Glasgow, a Civil Engineer by profession. He began writing in 1980, but only pursued publication from 2013. Robin’s debut novel The Mandroid Murders appeared in 2022; its sequel The Carborundum Conundrum in 2023. His stories feature in Space Wizard’s Distant Gardens, Farther Reefs, Lofty Mountains and World of Juno anthologies, his short “The NEU Oblivion” being long-listed for the 2019 James White Award. Robin belongs to the Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle, Reading Excuses, the British Fantasy Society, and the British Science Fiction Association.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon?
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top