It’s a lovely Sunday morning here in the book room. The sun is shining and the temperature is 5 F, with similar temps and sunshine in the forecast until Thursday. I can live with that. Even when it’s cold, if the sun’s shining, it’s all good.
Today’s review is for Sikkiyn, sci-fi romance author Chris S. Hayes’s first novel, released November 26th, 2014 by Solstice Publishing. I absolutely loved this book. While I haven’t tried my hand at writing sci-fi romance, I’m a big fan of the genre. From the pages of H.G. Wells novels such as The Time Machine, to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter Series, I’ve read all kinds of them, losing myself in the future and every wonderful and not so great thing it might entail.
When Gene Roddenberry presented sci-fi fans with dashing, daring, debonair Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek, I was smitten. Years passed and George Lucas came along with Star Wars and the irrepressible Han Solo. Who doesn’t love a rogue? Then came Babylon 5 with its inter-species love affair–what a woman won’t do for love, and while all of these heroes were great, and I read many of the books spun off by the various series, I have to admit a fondness for Malcolm Reynolds, the down to earth, slightly shady, and definitely shy captain of the Firefly class ship, Serenity. There’s nothing I like better than sitting down on a cold snowy day and watching a rerun of Firefly.
So, why would I start a book review with a narrative like that one? Because the moment I opened the book and started to read, I felt like I’d been pulled into a vortex featuring what I liked best about Firefly and Star Wars with a dash of Star Trek thrown into the mix.
Here’s the premise:
Captain Johan Larsen is in serious financial trouble. His ship, the Valkyrie, is decades old and falling apart. In a desperate ploy to get the funds he needs, he agrees to a risky but lucrative transport contract. His cargo: an accused assassin en route to trial, to be delivered to the other side of Confederate space, cash on delivery. His money problems will be over once he delivers her alive to her destination—provided that the killers pursuing them don’t succeed and that his passenger doesn’t murder him herself. And then there’s the fact that he’s stupid enough to be falling in love with her.
Okay, so maybe he’s in more than financial trouble.
Sikkiyn starts simply. A freight ship is collecting its cargo, a dangerous prisoner for transfer to another planet in the planetary Confederacy populated by ark ships forced to leave Earth when it was no longer habitable. Different nationalities claimed planets, and used science to manipulate the hardy adventurers’ DNA to make them suitable to their new planet homes. Survival in harsh places like that calls for whatever adaptations are necessary. This particular prisoner, a born assassin for hire, from a jungle planet, clothed entirely in black, is supposedly capable of killing with just a touch. He’s accused of raping an his employers daughter before murdering her and his employer, breaking his people most sacred vow, never to violate a contract. Needless to say not all of Johan Larsen’s crew, his twin, giant cousins, is pleased with the decision to transport such a dangerous felon. Shortly after the Valkyrie leaves the spaceport, they have another problem. The ship springs a leak which leads them to discovering they have a stowaway. What to do with him? They can’t just eject him into space now, can they?
Ms. Hayes description of the dangerous assassin, plays on our current and past fears. At first, I thought this creature was some kind of super ninja, but the more I read, the more I realized the black outfit was the one we associate with fanatics and terrorism. So, who is the veiled killer? Not what the captain expects and that’s for sure. Under the baggy black pants, shirt and full veiled hajib is a frail, beautiful, woman, and he feels an immediate attraction to her.He also realizes someone’s been lying to him. There’s no way this prisoner could have raped anyone, so what happened? He’s determined to learn the truth, and when he does, he’s got more trouble than he bargained for.
Among the aspects of the story I enjoyed were the use of extra-sensory perception, androids, reluctant giant heroes, and space battles. She does a marvelous job of weaving all the threads of her story into a cohesive tale that leaves the reader wanting more. I could go on and on, but that might reveal spoilers.
In addition to the plot itself, I enjoyed the use of multiple points of view, a change from the usual POV restricted to the main characters, which allows you to know the thoughts of some of the other major/minor characters. Now, having finished Sikkiyn, I can’t wait to read Far Talker.
So, if you enjoy sci-fi, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. You won’t be sorry.
and the wonderful television programs and movies that evolved from