"Accomplished, involving, and challenging futuristic"

Tristan Mallory and Kellen Voltrain are on their way to a science conference when their spaceship is attacked by pirates. Gravely wounded, Tristan awakens in a hospital on the planet Arden, being watched over by the beautiful fellow scientist Mara d'Jorel. Arden, it turns out, is not a safe place to be. 200 years ago, nearly all the planet's male population died in a devastating plague from which the planet has never recovered. Women rule on Arden, and men are a commodity to be owned and controlled.

Mara, following in her mother's idealogical footsteps, hates the harem system which turns all Arden's males into sex slaves. She can't bear the thought of Tristan, a renowned scientist, being sent to the harem where his only use will be to father children or serve as a rich woman's sex toy. In spite of her hatred of the system, she buys him herself, hoping to protect him until she can convince the authorities his brain is more useful to society than his sperm.

Kellen isn't so lucky. He falls into the clutches of Cadaran d'Hasta. Head of Arden's Internal Security, she's also a vicious manhater who appropriates Kellen for her own sadistic pleasure. There seems to be no way out for either man--private communication between Earth and Arden is forbidden, and both men have been reported dead to Earth authorities by the Arden government. But Mara is determined to save them both, even if it means losing Tristan, whom she's begun to love.

STAR-CROSSED is an involving read from page one. Marilynn Byerly has created a detailed culture in her depiction of Arden, and pulls few punches in demonstrating that culture's harrowing effect on all Arden's inhabitants, and Kellen in particular. Gender roles as they are played out on futuristic Arden make us stop to think about our own prejudices in the here-and-now.

This aspect of the book never becomes preachy, though, as it's played out in the context of a complex and involving plot, sympathetic and beleaguered characters, and well- crafted world-building. The good guys are multi-faceted and believable, the villain is thoroughly evil, and even the fuzzy native sentient sidekick proves a likable, well- developed character. STAR-CROSSED is an accomplished, involving, and challenging contribution to the world of futuristic romance.

Katriena Knights / February, 2001
Copyright 2001 for Paranormal Romance Reviews

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted August 22, 2002


by Marilynn Byerly

Hard Shell Word Factory
January 1, 2000
ISBN #0759901007
304 pages
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Other Books by
Marilynn Byerly

By Fate's Hand
The Game We Play
Crystal Called
The Once And Future Queen

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