Publisher: Bantam (October 25, 2005)
I make no secret that Linnea Sinclair is one of my favorite authors, both as a Science Fiction Romance writer and as a person. I think that she is an excellent writer; and she is unfailingly generous with her time in mentoring of aspiring authors. Therefore, since she expressed her strong preference that Shades of Dark, the sequel to Gabriel’s Ghost, not be reviewed without the reviewer having first read GG, I went back and reread GG. It has been almost four years since I first read it, and I have to say that the 2006 RITA Award winning book was even better the second time around. I am reviewing GG first, and will soon review SD.
GG takes place at a time in the future when the galaxy is heavily populated by at least three sentient species: Humans, Takas, and Stolorths. And, the Humans... even if they do control the Galactic Empire, are the newcomers to the neighborhood! Commerce and greed are alive throughout the galaxy. Religion, both tolerant and bigoted, thrives. Family squabbles are the same as it ever - nasty. And politics is - down and dirty!
Captain Chasidah (Chaz) Bergren, has just been court-martialed and sentenced to an ‘inescapable’ prison planet for life... and she has no idea why. She kills a guard who’s trying to rape her, meets an old flame who is supposed to be dead (Sully), helps Sully eliminate a jukor (read - hideous, evil, vicious, killing monster), and initiates her escape. And, that’s all before page twenty! To say that this book’s action is fast-moving is an understatement. It is out of the frying pan into the fire, all the way.
As much as I like the action, it is the characters who really win my heart. Chasidah is smart, principled, and her mother wore combat boots. There’s not a single time that I thought TSTL. She’s utterly professional, yet also all woman. Gabriel (Sully) Sullivan, is charming, smart, ethical to a fault, and loves Chaz with ‘all that he is.’ But, boy, does he have a BIG secret! And the rest of Sully’s crew? You’d want to take most of them home to Mamma, even if they are blue, gilled and ripped... or, tall and a little fuzzy.
Chaz, Sully, and the crew set off to rid the Empire of the lab breeding said ‘hideous, evil, vicious, killing monsters,’ and to find out who is behind it all. In the process, Chaz finds true love, and also why she has been a pawn of galactic politics. Also Sully begins to find the acceptance and love for which he has searched his whole life... because of said BIG secret. This book engages from page one, on multiple levels, and never lets the reader go.
Trust is a major theme in GG, and Chaz and Sully learn a lot about love and trust through the course of their trials. GG is the first in a series; therefore, the ending, although extremely satisfying as a courtship Romance, is left open ended, as is all real life. They find and destroy the jukor breeding lab, only to discover that there is another. Uh-oh!
Also, Chaz and Sully have more to discover about themselves and their relationship. Linnea has left room for more battles against evil, and more room to explore a maturing love in SD. I am so glad to see this, because I think that a maturing relationship is much more interesting than a courtship, and is too often neglected. Thank you, Linnea.
Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future