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Kestrel Crew: John Tanner

Special Operations Officer (disguise)

The central figure in Alien Secrets, John Tanner joins the crew at the end of the book. His real name is Tanu Pe’Rod, but his name is changed to protect his identity. He looks like Legolas from Lord of the Rings, played by Orlando Bloom, tall and slender, but his hair is dark. He wears it intricately braided, done under his mental command, in a way too complicated to be done by hand. It is amazing to watch.

John Tanner comes from the legendary planet Cerebra, where everyone has incredible mental powers. He stole a ship to get away but his best friend wiped his mind of the location of his planet, so he cannot go home or betray their location.

John Tanner has a red triangular lump in the centre of his forehead with lines radiating out, which glows when he uses his mental powers. It is known as a horn although it is small. He wears a headband to cover the lump when around non crew members.

John Tanner’s powers are telekinetic, empathic and languages: He cannot read minds but he picks up strong emotions (which he has to learn to cope with), and his empathic abilities also enable him to pick up a person’s native language and speak it effortlessly.

Pain disrupts his concentration so he cannot use his powers. When the Kestrel crew first meet him they are afraid of him and Dr Nefar develops a drug that suppresses his powers. Later, in the following book Crisis of Conscience, Nefar dilutes the drug to enable Tanner to ‘dial down’ the emotional onslaught when it gets too much. The drug ‘dials down’ all his abilities together, so he uses it sparingly.

At the end of Alien Secrets Tanu’s name becomes Tanner, and John Tanner becomes the Special Operations Officer on Kestrel, mostly to hide him from the authorities. His abilities come in very handy.

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of five medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel, Intruders, Alien Secrets & Crisis of Conscience are out now Follow her at