I don't usually read futuristic, but this was a wonderful book that kept me turning pages to see what would happen next. The hero's respect for women and especially mothers was touching. You'll just have to read it for yourself.
Jas and Rom have experienced a moment of mystical connection. Since they have never met, that connection has caused them loneliness and despair. It takes years, humanity's first contact with aliens, and Jas's determination to see the world's beyond Earth to bring them together. And then things really get interesting.
This is a really good romance with a science fiction background. The characters are complex enough to be interesting. Their love has to overcome Rom's training to an unbending code of honor and Jas's insecurities. And they have an interstellar crisis to deal with, too.
The SF part is not quite as strong. I don't expect a romance to get into the way faster-than-light travel works, but some things should be worked out more. Still the culture Grant has created has depth and feels possible.
Try this book! I think you will find it entertaining.
I know this is pure entertainment, but I found that the *whatever* race the Vash Nadah are being soooo compatible with humans a bit disturbing. It burst the bubble of 'suspension of disbelief' that is a constant companion to all sci-fi reading.
Kudos though, to Ms. Grant for the accurate description of neg-G's and the fear of falling.
Having read 2 sequels to this book prior to reading "The Star King" set me up for disappointment. Character development left something to be desired. The best aspect of this book was how salt was the interplanetary currency! Also that independent traders, rather than government representatives and formal treaties, did more for everybody. The premise is too idealistic. People capable of interstellar travel would probably value nontangibles, would have mastered cloning as a technique of reproduction. Still, a fun escapist read; 3 stars.
The Star King starts with a bang, literally, as Jasmine Hamilton fights to keep her F-16 fighter plane in the air. Shot down by friendly fire over the hot Iraqi desert. Hurt on an arrid desert, she prepares for anything but what occurs--she has an out of body experience, a transcendent encounter with another wounded warrior. Painfully, Jas and Rom save each other, with a shared passion that will leave you limp... Rom B'kah's otherworldly perspective of the unusual woman with dark hair is one of meeting his destiny. He is in the midst of a battle of galactic proportions with life-threatening injuries and has just witnessed his brother's death. Her presence both encourages and dooms him, he survives because of her but the physical ramifications of lingering too long in a hostile environment make him an outcast from his family. Abruptly, twenty years later, Jas' youthful fire has been extinguished. Now she's a dutiful mother stung by divorce who long ago gave up victory rolls in an F16 for a minivan, a surprisingly-talented artist who paints promising but only half-finished paintings. Then earth receives visitors from an advanced civilization. Among them, Rom re-appears, and Jas' real life could begin--if her golden, aristocratic ET weren't hardened by cruel fortune and a fruitless search over time and space for the mythic desert angel who once saved him. ..............
Susan's interpretation of an alien arrival into earth's politics is wel done --for example no one automatically speaks our languages. And this story is above all a Clean ROMANCE (No adult situations). She doesn't bog us down with lengthy technical data about how things work or descriptions of weird life forms. However for those very same reasons this story fals into Romnce category and not the Scify category, which is a shame because the book has a great promisse as such. And even though the story is not original (it has been over done in this genre) it was fairly well fleshed out. The few cons: Do not get me wrong, I think romance can happen at any age but Jas has been miss represented and her character acting out of character: An F-16 pilots are 30ish+ then add the 20 years till meting Rom so that makes her 50+ year old woman, who still has her period and thinks missing it might mean she is pregnant. She has two 19 year old kids, acting like her siblings. And the attitude (read naivete/stupidity) of a 19 year old. She also acts like a know it all sage, the toughest macho guy on the block, psychologist and passionate, gentle soul artist. In short she is so perfect, no character devalopement is possible. It is also anoying a bit. The good part is that Rom is well fleshed out and all the supporting charaters are too, including the vilan. It is a decent read for scify (3*), and pretty good read as a romance (4*) so I give it 3.5* as a whole.
Careening out of control in her fighter jet was only the start of the wildest ride of Jasmine's life; spinning wildly in an airplane was nothing like the loss of equilibrium she felt when she landed. There, in a half-dream, Jas saw him, a man more powerfully compelling than any she'd ever encountered.
Loved this book. Grant was a new author to me, and I was pleasantly surprised with this story. Strong female main character, she was a fighter pilot. Strong male character, as well. No wimps or simpering characters in this one. All put together in a good space traveling Sci-Fi. I can't wait to read another by Susan Grant.
Haunted by a magical encounter in the desert after her jet was shot down, ex-fighter pilot Jas Hamilton is determined to discover why dreams of the mysterious golden-eyed man have derailed her life. When the two find each other after twenty years, they rekindle a passionate attraction.
Poised on the edge of her bed, Jas waited for the broadcast to begin. Applause signaled the Vash diplomats' arrival. The president, the members of both houses of congress, and heads of state from around the world stood as the Vash delegation filed in. Dressed in their beautiful indigo uniforms, they greeted their audience with their distinctive handshake, gripping each other's forearms and wrists. But they saved most of their enthusiasm for the Secretary of Commerce, whom they flocked around until she was lost behind them.
After a spirited introduction from President Talley, Commander Lahdo stepped up to the podium. His resonant voice boomed, while a translator relayed his hopes for partnership, understanding, and, to no one's surprise, profit. To test her grasp of Basic, she concentrated Lahdo's voice. Here and there a phrase eluded her, a few words that she didn't recognize, but she could understand him. A talent for learning languages was something she'd inherited from her linguist mother, but it had never proven useful until now. Not that Basic was complicated. Throaty and to the point, it was designed to facilitate dialogue between inhabitants of countless worlds. Other languages existed, but they were never used in commerce.
To hearty applause, Lahdo relinquished the podium to the Secretary of Commerce and rejoined his delegation, basking in their adulation, their handshakes and smiles, until a tall Vash stepped in front of him, blocking his path.
A Vash dressed like a futuristic buccaneer.
Jas sucked in a breath. It was the devilishly charming space-rebel. His lean body radiated strength, purpose, and a powerful, masculine self-confidence that made her head swim and her body respond with deep, aching yearning.
He turned his back to the camera. His hands were fisted behind him and hidden from Lahdo, his fingers clasping and unclasping, baring the intensity of his apparent anger.
Lahdo's uneasy delegation began gathering around their leader, while dark-suited secret servicemen hovered closer, drawn by Lahdo's discomposure. A microphone placed nearby was picking up the argument, barely. Jas grabbed the remote, punched up the volume. The tall Vash 's tone was low but intense. "The Articles of Frontier Trade state that I may trade with whom I please. You cannot exclude me, Lahdo, as you tried today. I will commence contact with the merchant leaders of my choice."
Lahdo fidgeted. "The agreement will be signed next week. Earth will no longer be a frontier planet, and your articles will not apply."
The tall Vash 's hands closed into fists. "But until then, Commander, they do."
Lahdo's tawny skin gleamed with perspiration. He tugged at his collar, and his clipped Basic took on a pleading tone. "It is best that you and your companions leave the planet. I trust that one Earth week will be enough time to prepare the Quillie for departure. Shall my crew assist you in gathering the supplies you need?" Applause exploded, and the Secretary of Commerce relinquished the podium to the British Prime Minister. More words heated words were exchanged between the Lahdo and his antagonist, but because of the noise, she missed them.
"One Earth week," Lahdo said, louder.
The tall rebel gestured to two similarly dressed Vash standing nearby. One was tall and muscular with hard and handsome features like him; the other was much younger and blond. Then the rebel and his friends strode out of camera range, trailed by a battalion of secret servicemen.
Jas flopped backward onto the bed. Her Vash man had just been unceremoniously and undemocratically kicked out of a joint session of congress. For Pete's sake, he'd been kicked off the planet, too, if she'd heard Lahdo correctly. Her thoughts plunged ahead. Lahdo wanted to exclude him. Why? He must not be part of the delegation. She'd assumed all the Vash were, but if he wasn't, it would explain why she hadn't seen him in any of the previously aired interviews. In fact, she'd begun to think she had imagined him.
Without warning, a memory of the rebel's golden eyes evoked a shivery, erotic echo of the way she felt when she woke from the dream. But she clenched her teeth against the unbidden image; she'd endured too many years of unbidden images, fantasies that were more vivid than life. Common sense told her that this flesh and blood man had nothing to do with her dreams, and she couldn't fathom why he affected her so profoundly, but maybe somewhere in his world was her answer.
His world . . .
She sat up, her elbows on her knees, her chin in her hands. She wasn't wealthy, and she wasn't a dignitary. Average citizens like her would have to wait a few years for the chance to travel into space. And even that was conjecture. She massaged her temples and concentrated. It looked like her only way into space was though the back door. But short of thumbing a ride on one of the Vash ships, how would she do that?
Thumbing a ride . . .
Yes - she could hitchhike. Her heart sped up as she analyzed plausibility and risk of such a scheme. It was a rash idea. Insane.
She lurched off the bed and began to pace. All her life she'd been praised and rewarded for making sound, logical choices. Even her unconventional desire to become a fighter pilot had been driven by a sense of duty for her country. Dependable, do-right Jas. Well, except when it came to her love life, but she was smarter now. Her thoughts circled back to the Vash rebel. He was the key. If she could somehow make it worth his while, he might be willing to take her along. She'd bet that he didn't play by the rules like Lahdo and the others. He was an outcast, or better yet, an outlaw -- exactly the kind of individual she needed for her plan. Yep, he was her ticket out of here. And she had one short week to prove it.
Careening out of control in her fighter jet was only the start of the wildest ride of Jasmine's life; spinning wildly in an airplane was nothing like the loss of equilibrium she felt when she landed. There in a half-drem, Jas saw him, a man more powerfully compelling than any she'd ever encountered. Though his words were foreign, his touch was familiar, baffling her mind even as he touched her soul. But who was he? Was he too a downed pilot? Was that why he lay in the desert sand beneath a starry Arabian sky? The answers burned in his mysterious golden eyes, in his thoughts that became hers as he held out his hand and requested her aid. This man had crossed many miles to find her, to offer her a heaven that she might otherwise never have known, and love was only one of the many gifts of....THE STAR KING.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Careening out of control in her fighter jet is only the start of the wildest ride of Jasmines life; spinning wildly in an airplane is nothing like the loss of equilibrium she feels when she lands. There, in a half-dream, Jas sees a man more powerfully compelling than any shes ever encountered. Though his words are foreign, his touch is familiar, baffling her mind even as he touches her soul. But who is he? Is he, too, a downed pilot? Is that why he lies in the desert sand beneath a starry Arabian sky? The answers burn in his mysterious golden eyes, in his thoughts that become hers as he holds out his hand and requests her aid. This man has crossed many miles to find her, to offer her a heaven that she might otherwise never know, and love is only one of the many gifts of...The Star King.