"Science Fiction Sparkling with Romantic Resonance!"
The Radiance War has ended leaving both the Skolian and
Trader Empires in disarray. All of the webs have collapsed.
Skolia had been killed just prior. Sauscony (Soz) and
Althor Valdoria, two of his three designated heirs, are
thought to have died as war heroes in the battle. Soz's
husband Jabriol Qox II, the Eube Emperor, is also thought
to have died. Kelric Valdoria, the third heir, had returned
from the dead after nearly 2 decades, but is in the hands
of the Traders, as is the Eldest Valdoria sibling, Eldrin.
The second Triad key, Dyhianna Selei, along with her son,
is missing and presumed dead. The surviving family members
are being held under house arrest on their homeworld of
Lyshriol by the Allied Worlds of Earth, in order to prevent
them from resurrecting the Skolnet.
Eldrin's capture is a coupe for the Traders who have
already captured a lock, one of three sites used by the
Triad to enter the psiberspace web. This ability had been
the Skolians one advantage over the more prolific Traders.
With the death of family patriarch, Eldrinson Valdoria, the
third Triad key, Eldrin would inherit that position. The
Traders now had both a lock and a key.
THE QUANTUM ROSE is the sixth book in the Saga of
the Skolian Empire. Timewise it parallels the fifth book,
ASCENDANT SUN, in which Kelric attempts to shut down the
captured lock, while young Jabriol III trades his own
freedom for the release of his uncle Eldrin Valdoria, and
becomes the new Qox Emperor.
The remaining Valdorias along with the ISC, unaware of what
is transpiring, have devised a desperate plan to obtain
freedom. Eldrinson is cremated, according to his wishes,
and his ashes distributed over the lands he had loved. The
AWOE representatives are told a different story. They are
told that Eldrinson's dying wish had been to have his
coffin put into orbit around Lyshriol. Havryl (Vyrl)
Valdoria, fifth born of the ten siblings, is elected to
fill the coffin. The plan is for ISC to recover him and
take him to sanctuary until a plan can be devised to free
the rest of his family. The plan goes awry and Havryl
spends countless days orbiting the planet before he is
On the planet Balumil, Kamoj Quanta Argali, the young
governor of Argali province is taking a break from her
heavy responsibilities when a group of men, led by Lord
Havryl Lionstar, happen upon her bathing hole. Lionstar is
an off worlder whose strange ways and unfamiliarity with
her peoples customs have caused quite a stir.
Kamoj returns home to learn that Lionstar has entered a bid
for her hand that cannot be matched by any other. This
disrupts lifelong plans of a merger between Argali and
Ironbridge, an arrangement that would have been beneficial
to her people. Kamoj is well aware that her former
betrothed, Jax the governor of Ironbridge would not be
Jax is a descendant of the Trader breeders who had created
bred Kamoj's ancestors to be slaves, and who had become
stranded on Balumil. Jax had been alternately cruel and
kind to her, keeping the conciliatory Kamoj completely off
balance. He had blamed her for his moods. While her uncle
is convinced that a Lionstar merger will be better for her,
she is not sure what it will mean for her people. Lionstar
is a mystery; no one had ever even seen his face.
The merger/wedding goes through without Havryl's knowledge
that the "dowry" he had offered had been construed as a
purchase price, but he is currently too drunk to puzzle it
out. He can't even get his bride's name right. The lengthy
sensory deprivation, exacerbated by an empath's need for
close human contact, had driven him to drink in order to
squelch his endless nightmares.
When he passes out in the coach on the way home, Kamoj
cannot resist the temptation to see the face, hidden
beneath his ever present cowl. She is shocked to find a
sightless metal face but her nature urges her to seek out
positive aspects of his appearance. His hair is beautiful,
and unable to resist touching it, she discovers that the
metal is a faï¿½ade hiding a face of exquisite beauty. He is
human but the atmosphere of her world is hostile to her new
husband. He is unable to breath outdoors without the mask.
It matters little, for she soon learns that the Ruby prince
will not be staying long. For all that his drinking
concerns her for the sake of his health, he is kind and
gentle with her. Her mind resonates with his, comforting
him when his demons have him in their thrall,l and giving
her the ability to discern the emotions of others.
While the pair are falling in love with each other, Jax
Ironbridge is not taking his disappointment well. He has
accused Vyrl of coercion, kidnapping, and rape. The scandal
would jeopardize Vryl's mission if the charges were
exposed. Jax believes he is justified in taking her back,
and she bears the brunt of his ire. The crimes that Vryl
has been accused of become reality, though Jax feels his
own actions are well justified. Now Kamoj is faced a very
difficult choices. Vryl wants her back, and she has to
decide what will be best for herself, the man she loves who
will soon be leaving her world behind, and the Argali
people who she has spent her life protecting. While the two
men vie for her, Kamoj realizes through Vyrl's methods, so
different from that of Jax, that the ways of her people,
ingrained by virtue of their genetics, are not etched in
stone. Her choice is made.
I truly liked Kamoj. While most of her pleasing
characteristics have been bred into her, she is a strong
enough to break through her conditioning and stand up to
the men who vie for control over her life. She refuses to
bring Vryl drink even though she knows he will push her
away because of it, and she stands up to Jax for the first
time in her life. She braves the unknown for the sake of
her husband's sanity, and for a family she has never met.
Vryl is an interesting man, the first Valdoria hero who is
not a Jagernaut warrior. He is described as a simple man,
like his father, who wanted nothing more than a wife, some
land, and lots of children. He is a dancer, forced to hide
his art on a world where men don't do those things. He
strikes one as being vulnerable and in many ways he is. But
he has a core of steel that allowed him to survive the
horror of being "buried alive", to face the fear and carry
out the duty that he is charged with. On his home world the
love he has inspired is quite plain, as its inhabitants
gather from all corners to stand with him against their
captors. Kamoj is not a psion but is soon accepted by his
family and her resonance with Vryl produces a surprising
gift for his people.
I really love these off world pairings. Dealing with
different cultures teaches the Skolians so very much about
themselves and humanity in general. Where would Kelric have
been without his Quis skills to show him the way to escape
his Trader captors? Hopefully in a future work we will
discover what Kamoj's gift will mean to them. I also like
the subtle role reversal of the genders in these books. It
makes one think, and as this genre is widely read by both
men and women, I think that is a very good thing.
With Kelric poised to be the next Imperator, Eldrin free to
serve as Web Key, and the Valdoria family liberated, all
that remains is to recover the third member of the Triad.
Look for the seventh book of the Skolian saga, Spherical
Harmonic, in which Dehya coalesces in November 2001.
Copyright © 2001
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 26, 2001