Genres: Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Bantam
Released on October 25, 2005
It has been several years since I read the author’s Games of Command and fell in love with her writing style and her action-packed futuristic military space adventures and political intrigue. I was determined to pick up more of her books at some point and a series reading challenge produced the proper motivation to grab up Gabriel’s Ghost and the rest of the Dock Five Universe. More military space opera, more futuristic political intrigue, and a captivating slow burn romance between a straight arrow disavowed space captain and a mysterious smuggler.
Captain Chasidah Bergren worked hard to earn her place in the fleet and comes from a history of military achievers, but someone set her up and she lands on a dangerous prison planet where the other prisoners and the environment are only the tip of the danger. On the night one of the guards tries to kill her, an old elusive nemesis shows up with a welcome proposition right about the time a horrendous and supposedly impossible beast, the Jukor, nearly eviscerates her.
Gabriel Ross Sullivan is supposed to be dead. Yet here is Sully willing to trade- her freedom for her help getting inside the Marker station to destroy a secret Jukor breeding lab. They are illegal and someone high up and powerful has started breeding them again. She doesn’t trust Sully and especially when she spots a scary member of his crew, but she wants her freedom and she needs to help stop the breeding program. And, if she is honest, she is drawn to Sully in spite of his illegal activities and his secrets- secrets he slowly lets her in on. She can either get past her fear and trust or lose someone truly special.
Gabriel’s Ghost jumps in with a pulse-pounding opening scene and has a few of those scattered throughout the book between a slow burn romance and journey of personal growth for Chaz. It’s an unevenly-paced book. It has a repetitive nature that makes perfect sense and worked on one level for me, but annoyed the heck out of me on another. It’s really my only niggle and I’ll get into that after I chat a bit about the central figures.
Chaz is a central figure and the only narrator of the book. Her world was neat, orderly, and disciplined right up until it wasn’t. She has a past that plays a factor in how she sees things just as much as her military training and world. Sully and his mission as well as his friend Ren come along at the low point in her life when she’s lost everything she cared about when she was framed.
Sully was a devil may care dashing swashbuckler, but showed, as his life is revealed, that he was ever so much more. He’s definitely one who took what he got and worked it as best he could. Even though Sully never gets to narrate, the reader gets to know him and everyone else through Chaz’s eyes. Sully loves a woman with all he has, but he has dark secrets that he thinks will keep her from returning his feelings. This is the key to everything about him. Fortunately, Sully has a strong advocate.
And, that brings me to Ren, Sully’s companion and mission partner. Ren is one who is feared and repudiated for his race. His race have powerful psychic abilities and have a reputation for using them to scramble human brains and more. Ren is not resentful and it is he who gets through to Chaz more than once when she needs a boot up the butt to get over herself and stop hurting Sully because she has her own issues. Ren is a beautiful and generous person and I adored this alien guy.
So my niggle… Chaz gets stuck in her head and particularly after each one of Sully’s reveals. It is a series of thoughts/actions that cycle through the same halting progress of: something occurs that force a secret out of Sully, Chaz is duly shocked and goes through the hurt and anger and getting over herself to see that what and how he did it was necessary, but now she’s scared and mistrustful once again while Sully has to reassure her as do Ren and others. Things are kosher and then we do it again at least a half-dozen times in the story. I’m pretty sure if most of us were faced with what Chaz was taught and what Sully revealed; we’d handle it worse so I’m cutting her some slack. It’s not her reaction that causes the niggle; it’s how many times the reader has to see her process like this that got wearying.
My niggle in no way ruined the sci-fi adventure or even the romance. I loved Chaz and Sully together and thought what they had together in the end was sensual, but also anchored strongly.
The last several chapters were explosive and riveting. The set up for the rest of the series is there and this book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it definitely leaves things wide open for the grander scale series story to come. Sci-Fi Romance fans who enjoy military space opera should give this one a go.
Mt. TBR #60
Reading Assignment Fall #3 Prof Author Luv
Series That Never Ends #9
About the Book
Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair brings her special sizzle to science fiction with this action-packed blend of otherworldly adventure and sexy stellar romance. . . .
After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’ t commit–and shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.
Gabriel Sullivan—alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue—is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom—for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line—but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.
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