"Science Fiction, Romance and Terror all wrapped up in a truly excellent suspense"
When Alex, the man she loved had gone off into space without
her and died seven years ago, something inside Cora Daniels
had died as well. Yes, she'd later followed him into space
as the very successful pilot of her own space vessel
Freedom, but when Freedom fails, only her incredible skills
and her intrepid ship keep her from sharing his fate -- or
Cora has crash landed on a hitherto uncharted world that
will quickly bring the reader to mind of Planet of the Apes
for the planet is inhabited by intelligent, birdlike
humanoids who regard homo sapiens as we would cattle or dogs
as beasts of burden and breeding stock, at best pets - at
worst expendable. Cora soon finds herself herded into a pen
with other human woman by the beings she dubs "the Flock."
The federation to which Earth is merely a probationary
member has very strict rules regarding first contact and
Cora's translator chip appears to have been damaged in the
crash. She has no way of indicating to her xenophobic
captors that she and her fellow slaves are intelligent beings.
As Cora becomes familiar with the lay of the land she
becomes aware that the compound she has found herself in
makes it's livelihood from pit fights that pit the human
males against each other in the arena. The winner lives to
fight another day and is valued as breeding stock. The
women's purpose is to labor and produce offspring. Though
the other females appear to be content with their lot in
life, to Cora this is tantamount to rape and she is prepared
to fight to the death rather than submit when she finds
herself alone in a pen with a savage male. But something
about the brute seems very familiar.
Zan has experience with reluctant females and is certain he
can coax this one into submission, not that he was above
using force if necessary. But when the female speaks to him
in a long forgotten language and claims to know him it
triggers images that make his head ache. He doesn't know if
she speaks the truth about his past but he does know that
this is one woman he will not allow his handlers to take
from him as they had all the others.
Now with her reason for living restored Cora's only goal is
to escape this world and take Alex with her. She had always
been the dominate person in their relationship until the day
when he'd rebelled and left to follow his own dream, but Alex
is no longer the awkward shy young man who had worshipped
her and followed her lead. Though he loves Cora with all his
heart the awareness she reawakens in him includes his sense
of responsibility both as a First Contact agent and as a
fellow captive. He has a stake in this world, sons and
daughters and although he knows his destiny will cause them
both heartache his place is on this world among the descendants
of a long ago space crash. He must negotiate for his people
with the Flock to restore their dignity or die in the effort.
If these star-crossed lovers are meant to be, who will be
the one to bend? This is an excellent science fiction tale.
Yes, it is definitely a romance novel but not for the faint
of heart. I would compare it to Patti O'Shea's Jarved nine
novels. If the reader goes into the story with this in
mind I believe that they will truly enjoy the action,
suspense and the true grit of the protagonists, I know that
I did. I could not put this book down and hope the author
will write more stories like this.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted January 1, 2009