|C. J. Merle: Of Honor and Treason|
Press (Trade Paperback),
Four hundred years in the future, two powerful and opposing groups seek to rule the universe. The Klimar Empire, a human Imperial oligarchy, represents one faction. The Norda Homelands, ruled by humanoid-alien scientists who consider human beings an inferior species, seek to wipe out the Empire, which recently encroached into Norda space.
Neither faction would score high on a moral test -- both wallow in corruption, greed, and violence. And war between the two looms on the immediate horizon.
Can it be stopped? Good question.
One being, Zsar't'lac the Qtesark (a genetically engineered warrior messiah), might possibly stop the war -- if he defects from the Norda to the humans. To do that, Zsar't'lac needs the help of Eivaunee, the richest man in the Empire -- and a man who the mad Emperor wants dead.
The enemy species live in complex and beautifully delineated worlds made understandable and acceptable by the talent of the author. The greed and corruption inherent in power provide a backdrop for the interactions necessary for the two beings, one human, one not, who must work together to save their worlds. This team effort can only be achieved by trust -- something Zsar't'lac and Eivaunee sorely lack.
Space opera, for sure, but more. This book offers action, interaction, a good plot, interesting characters, incredible worlds made credible, and pages of totally enjoyable reading. The book might not ever achieve the fame of Star Trek, but I wouldn't count it out. Of Honor and Treason deserves more than a hasty glance from SF fans. It's a keeper.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her recent contemporary PS, I've Taken a Lover, is available from Lionhearted Books. The Wandering Troll , an electronic magazine, began serializing her novel Prophecy Be Damned in April 2000. Her latest, The Legend of Lejube Rogue, is now available at Crossroads Publishing .
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