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REVIEW

"Impressive Futuristic Debut"

SHIELDER is the critically acclaimed debut novel for Ms. Spangler. It is set in the future in a quadrant dominated by the evil Controllers whose psionic brainwaves compel their minions to do their bidding. Yes, there are many whom greed has led to serve the Controllers. Among them are the bounty hunters, the Shadowers. Their job is to round up criminals and dissidents for monetary gain.

Among the hunted are the Shielders, whose only crime is to possess a genetic resistance to the mind bending of the Controllers. Their colonies have been forced to the edges of the quadrant, to the most barren planets and moons. Supplies are dated and scarce, food is also scarce. The conditions they must live under has dictated that only the fit be allowed to survive. Those with defects and disabilities are outcast or euthenized.

There are others in the quadrant who serve the Controllers when it suits their purposes. Among those is Dansan, a brilliant, and avaricious scientist who develops viruses to destroy those who stand in the way of her profit or those whose demise will earn her profit.

Dr. Chase McKnight and Nessa dan Ranul are two who have first hand knowledge of her skills. Though they have little else in common, it is this that will ultimately cause their paths to cross.

Chase had been one of the most renowned physicians in the quadrant, until Dansan reneged on a partnership with his colony, poisoning the water with her deadly Ramos strain. Chase alone had been spared, due to the fact that he drank only bottled water. He had employed all of his abilities to save his people and had lost the battle. The virus had been programmed to mutate at regular intervals. He had always been one step behind with the cure.

Having lost everyone he had loved and his faith in his ability, Chase had forsaken medicine in favor of revenge. Using the cover of becoming a Shadower he pursues Dansan though the universe. To his chagrin he continues to remain one step behind her.

Nessa too has lost all she loved through no fault of her own. Because of her seizures and an injury to her leg which occurred during one, she is an outcast, living on the fringes of her colony. Nessa is a Shielder. Her life had been spared due to her brother Jarek's urging, and then only because of his status as the future Director of the colony. Shunned by her people, disavowed by her parents, Nessa's existence is even harsher than that of her people. Unable to bear it any longer, and with a sincere wish to be of use to the Shielders, she volunteers for a highly dangerous mission.

Dansan had given the Controllers the means to exterminate the Shielders. The Orana virus affects them only. Their only hope is to have the virus analyzed at a distant Shielder laboratory in order to create an antidote. Since the odds of capture is great, the person delivering the virus must become a living host carrying the virus within their body. Failure would mean a certain and painful death. Nessa, posing as a religious pilgrim, is to be that host.

Unfortunately luck is still not with Nessa. Her antiquated ship breaks down two days out into space. She is rescued by Chase, who though disgruntled at having his mission interrupted, maintains the goodness of heart that doesn't allow him to abandon her.

Before long he is intrigued by her innocence, and his compassion for her physical weaknesses slowly draws out the physician in him. He makes a promise to deliver Nessa to her destination. In his own good time of course! Though feelings between the two blossom though mutual admiration and affection. Chase is still consumed with hatred for Dansan. Nessa's quest is disrupted time and again while he follows false leads. Complicating matters is the fact that Chase's partner, and fellow Shadower, is a Shielder traitor.

Unbeknownst to Chase, time is running out for Nessa. While she trusts her heart to him, she cannot trust the fate of her people to a Shadower. Confiding in him would reveal her identity and he would have no choice but to turn her in to the Controllers. Can true love override the Controller mind indoctrination? Can Chase put aside his hatred and become the man he was born to be? Will Nessa be successful and finally win the love of her people?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable journey for the reader, as the love story slowly unfolds and each realizes their personal strengths mirrored through the eyes of their beloved. I was extremely impressed with the depth of the story. Though some might believe it took great courage for Nessa to carry a deadly virus within her body, she really had little to lose. Her true courage lies in her ability to survive prejudice and make her life meaningful. The story sends the message that we are all deserving of love in spite of our flaws. Chase too exhibits true courage in his attempt to conquer his paralyzing fear of failure.

Excellent read.

Copyright 2000

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 20, 2001

SUMMARY

Considered an outcast by her people, Nessa dan Ranuls discovers a plot to destroy her race and journeys to the farthest reaches of space to save them, but she encounters sexy bounty hunter Chase McKnight who captures her body and soul.

Winner of the Emily Award.

 

Shielder
(Shielder series: Book 1)
by Catherine Spangler

Love Spell
April 1, 1999
Available: November 2, 2006
ISBN #0505523043
EAN #9780505523044
Paperback
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Other Books by
Catherine Spangler

Touched by Light
Touched By Fire
Demon's Delight
Touched by Darkness
Totally Charmed : Demons, Whitelighters and the Power of 3
Shadow Fires
Shadow Crossing
Shamara
Shadower


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