"Science Fiction Sequel Leaves Readers Wanting More!"
CATCH THE LIGHTNING is the second book in the Saga
Skolian Empire. Over half a century has gone by in their
world since the debut novel PRIMARY INVERSION. Much is
alluded to that will be filled in by subsequent books
including the upcoming release SPERICAL HARMONIC (Tor; Nov.
2001). The hero, Althor Vyan Selei kya Skolia is the son of
Soz's oldest brother Eldrin and Dyhianna Selei, her aunt
and a Key of the Skolian Triad.
The story is written in the first person, as a memoir of
sorts, by the story's heroine 'Akushtina (Tina) Pulivok.
The tale begins in the year 1987 on an alternative earth.
Tina, seventeen, had been born in a simple Mayan Village in
Southern Mexico. Her mother had been a healer, her father a
stranger who had briefly bonded with her mother before
leaving, never to return. When Tina had been nine her
mother had taken her and her orphaned cousin Manuel to
search for him. They never found him but finally relocated
to gang torn Los Angeles. To Tina it was like living in
another universe. Now both her mother and Manuel are gone.
Tina is alone and doing the best she can to survive.
Returning home one night from her job as a waitress, Tina
meets an intriguing stranger. She is wary, for his
appearance is rough. His purple hair, black clothing, etc.
suggest gang affiliations. Yet she is inexplicably drawn to
He is Althor Valdoria, a Jagernaut of the Imperial Space
Command who had been on his way to attend a diplomatic
reception held by the President in honor of his mother. His
crippled ship had come out of inversion here, not in the
24th century as anticipated, nor even in the same universe.
He needs help and recognizes Tina as a kindred
spirit. "Like knows like". Tina has had abilities from
birth that she has kept hidden. She is an empath, able to
taste, smell, see the emotions of others.
Her common sense tells her not to trust him; her instincts
tell her otherwise. When he saves her from attack by a
gang leader, she allows him to walk her home. The next
morning she finds him asleep outside her door. For the
first time in a long time, she feels protected and
cherished. As Althor reveals his plight, Tina decides to
aid him in any way she can. The deep connection they feel
for each other rapidly blooms into a physical and emotional
Althor's Jag has been confiscated by the military, he needs
it in order to go home. While researching the
possibilities, Tina is attacked again. Althor runs afoul of
the law trying to protect her, and soon the two are on the
lam. With help from their friends they evade the law and
breach security at the Air Force Base. Will Althor evade
capture and recover his ship? Does Tina care for him enough
to once again adapt to a completely foreign world?
Who is responsible for sabotaging his ship, sending him
four thousand years into the past?
This story is rife with complex emotions. Althor the
warrior is both very strong and very vulnerable. He must
come to terms with his past and reconcile his relationships
with the reality of what has since occurred. He must learn
to cope with a gross betrayal of trust, and mend fences
with those who love him most. Tina is mature beyond her
years. She is courageous, loyal, and extremely loving. She
must learn not only to cope with yet another lifestyle
change, but also to the realities of becoming a member of
the ruling family of Skolia.
Even though this is a personal story, the Eubians also have
a hand in testing their mettle. The reader will get an up
close and personal look at the Raylicans, the descendants
of the pure original Earth seed, and through Tina learn of
their ancestry for the first time. She just might be the
only thing standing between the Rhon and certain
extinction. So much for the reader to discover
about these fascinating people, yet so much still to be
filled in by successive novels. Ms. Asaro has created a
fascinating world that makes the reader yearn for more.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 18, 2001