The Stars That Govern Us

The Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year – The moving story of two young heart surgeons determined to save children’s lives.

The Stars That Govern Us is available on Amazon.

“I am as full of sorrows as the sea of sands,” he told Venna. “And the only thing which would help is a time machine or finding a wrinkle in time so I could stop the first domino from falling and knocking the stars that govern us into the wrong constellations.”

Highly recommended for fans of medical fiction, the history of medicine, or those looking for something different in their historical fiction. – The Coffee Pot Book Club


Sometimes a hero is an ordinary person who chooses to pursue the extraordinary.

The Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year. The compelling story of two young heart surgeons – one suffering from an anxiety and mood disorder, the other from wounds in World War II – and the amazing human heart.

Against the odds, Alec Serafeim has made a name for himself, overcoming a humiliating mental collapse in medical school to become one of just a handful of surgeons in the world who dare to operate on children’s hearts. Bold and resourceful, Alec is also restless and ambitious. When the chance of a lifetime comes to join the race to perform Australia’s first successful surgery using a heart-lung machine, he can’t say no.

In this race, however, Alec is the long shot. With no heart-lung machines commercially available, Alec builds a machine in the hospital basement; understandably, his superiors are hesitant to allow him to use the crude machine in the operating theater. Worse, Alec and his surgical partner, Pete O’Neill, can’t seem to agree on anything related to the project, jeopardizing their longstanding friendship.

But with children’s lives hanging in the balance, the biggest obstacle Alec may have to overcome is himself.

Set in a fictionalized version of Perth, Western Australia in 1956, The Stars That Govern Us is a captivating character-driven historical fiction story inspired by the development of one of the 20th century’s boldest inventions – the heart-lung machine.

The main/viewpoint character, Alec Serafeim, is sort of a mixture of Maverick from TOP GUN, Atticus Finch from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and Hawkeye Pierce from MASH. ” – Goodreads Reviewer (used with permission).


Awards and Reviews

Critics love The Stars That Govern Us! Check out some of the books award and reviews below.

The Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year and Gold Medal Category Winner – Post-World War II Historical Fiction

Review from December 20, 2021.

Selected as “Book of the Year.”

This novel both literally and emotionally moves the heart, pumping words in a fluid motion like a pulsating heart-lung machine.  … A beautiful introspection into the heroes who fought to bring advancements to cardiology during a time when life hung in the balance for so many children.

A 5-Star Recommended Read – The Coffee Pot Book Club

Be transported back to 1950s Australia in The Stars That Govern Us, where heart surgeons are competing against nature, disease, and each other, to perform the country’s first successful open heart surgery using cardio-pulmonary bypass. …. Highly recommended for fans of medical fiction, the history of medicine, or those looking for something different in their historical fiction.

Finalist – 2021 Wishing Shelf Book Award

“A character-led historical novel, intelligently written and with plenty of pace. A FINALIST and highly recommended!”

5-Star Rating – 18 of 18 reader-reviewers said they would read another book by the author.

What reader-reviewers for the Wishing Shelf Award had to say:

“You don’t find historical novels much different than this. I suspect anybody who enjoys a character-led story and/or medical novels, will find this a compelling read.” Male reader, aged 36.

“The two central characters, Pete and Alec, shine all the way until the last page of the book. I didn’t know much about heart surgery and how it developed, but I do now. This an utterly compelling read, perfect for readers who enjoy learning whilst being entertained.” Female reader, aged 63.

“It just shows, even a surgeon isn’t perfect. This is a gripping story of two men trying to be first in a very different sort of race. The writing style is simple with plenty of pace, and the research seems top notch. A thoroughly enjoyable story.” Male reader, aged 26.

“I would happily read another book by this author. And another. And another!” Female reader, aged 71.

The Stars That Govern Us is available for purchase on Amazon.