In war the men who served under him called him Culebra, the Viper. Soldier, strategist and military assassin, Eduardo Cabral harbors two souls, one dark and deadly, the other loving and creative. After a war ending in betrayal by those in power on a colony world and a man he has spent a lifetime trying to please, Eduardo flees to a peaceful, artistic life on another planet. But the corrupt war and its aftermath will not go away. There is revolution on his home world, and Culebra must return to help save a people crushed by cruel tyrants and those responsible for the betrayal and slaughter of Eduardo’s command in the war. It is Culebra who must decide between innocent and guilty, those who might live or die by his hand, while he searches for a love he has never had, and a world where Eduardo Cabral can peacefully pursue his art.
"Glass (Shanji) provides only a tenuous science fiction background for this otherwise excellent novel of intergenerational and interplanetary conflict. Eduardo Cabral, the artistically talented son of Armando Cabral, Nova Brazilia oligarch, has forsaken his gifts in order to pursue the military career that he hopes will win him Armando's approval. He does not suspect that his supposed father despises him as a bastard and has betrayed him into an ambush that costs the lives of all but two members of his elite special operations team. Torn between avenging his companions through assassination and pursuing art on distant planets, reluctant to confront Armando but begged by a friend to help the disenfranchised poor of Nova Brazilia, Eduardo is a compelling protagonist whose conflicts and determined sense of honor will keep readers engaged in his story from start to finish."
"Eduardo is a soldier in charge of Zed Force, a special ops unit from Nova Brasilia. But when a mission on Colomba, a jungle world, ends up in the betrayal of he and his men by another military officer, Eduardo finds himself suddenly commissioned as an assassin for the League, hunting down the people responsible. The war on drugs, it seems, is only just beginning and people higher up than expected are part of it. And there are other secrets that Eduardo will have to find out...secrets that could drastically change who he trusts. Glass' novel is a fast paced military thriller ... the universe Glass has created reminds me very much of a futuristic Mexico or Central America, with a little South America thrown in there too. This isn't just in the names of the characters, but also in the way the world is built ... This is probably the only SF novel I have ever read with such a strong Hispanic influence and, well, it works. Glass' characters have depth--particularly Eduardo, who does deal more with the difficult issues of the piece--and the bad guys are really fascinating. I always find it interesting when authors attempt to give characters who are somewhat ambiguous. Here the bad guys are bad, but at the same time they are very "human"--and I use that word very lightly. Certain characters, who shall remain nameless so I don't ruin the book for you, actually have horrible reactions to what they have done, while others have become evil from no fault of their own (in fact, they became "evil" due to the actions of other evil characters). The result is that, for some of these bad characters, I sympathized with them, understanding why they are the way they are, even though I don't agree with what they are doing. ... Overall, Glass' novel is a fast military romp, with some political intrigue and romance thrown in the mix. It benefits from a solid writing style (one that doesn't get in the way) and sympathetic characters. If you're looking for a military adventure, with rebellion and cool weapons, this is a book for you. If not, well, if you enjoy SF, you may just enjoy Glass' novel too.
—Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' Blog
"Peace is what those involved in war so often seek. The Viper of Portello follows one Eduardo Cabral as he deals with the betrayal of the government he fought for. All he seeks to do is reunite with his art, but it seems the only way to do that is to go with the other thing he’s good at—warfare. A story of a conflicted man who must do what he hates, The Viper of Portello is an intriguing and entertaining science fiction political thriller."
—The Midwest Book Review
"There are a handful of writers who do outstanding military science fiction — David Drake, William Dietz, David Weber. To those add one more — James Glass. Glass’s artist/assassin, Eduardo Cabral, is a welcome addition to the genre. The Viper of Portello is fast-paced, with plenty of action, and political wheels within wheels. There are personal betrayals, old grudges, and nobody is quite what they seem at first glance. If you are a fan of tough guys, guns, or good cigars, you’re gonna like this one. Oh, and let’s not forget the perverse robot sex..."
"The Viper of Portello is a splendid novel: science fiction with a flavor of spy thriller and psychological thriller...James Glass writes well, thinks well, and demonstrates a strong and nuanced sense of humanity, human affairs, ethnicity, and ethics. He tells an excellent story and plots it deftly; his characters are compelling (most notably his chief villain), and he ties it up nicely."