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The Moon's Shadow [Mass Market Paperback]

Catherine Asaro
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2004 Saga of the Skolian Empire (Book 8)
At the age of seventeen the young nobleman named Jaibriol Qox became ruler of a vast galactic empire-- and lost everything he had ever valued.

Born of a clandestine liaison between a renegade daughter of the Skolian Imperialate and a scion of the genetically engineered Eubian Traders, Jai Qox grew up in exile, unaware of the powers that coursed through his noble blood. In the waning days of the bloody Radiance War, which ravaged the galaxy, Jai was captured, and returned to the Traders to play a role as a puppet Emperor in their scheme to consolidate their domination of space.

Now Jai must walk a razor's edge, to seize the power that is his by birthright, without succumbing to its dark seduction, in order to avert a conflagration which threatens to engulf a thousand worlds.

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From Publishers Weekly

This mesmerizing, passionate novel-the eighth in Nebula Award-winner Asaro's (The Quantum Rose) series about the Skolian interstellar empire-focuses mainly on Skolia's rival, Eube, whose rulers are addicted to the suffering of empathic slaves. Teenaged Jai Rockworth, successful claimant to the Eubian throne but also a disguised empath, wants to create a healthy peace between the warring powers, but his inexperience trips him into one crisis after another. Also, his secret is suspected by the coldblooded Corbal Xir, "one of the most feared men in settled space," and Tarquine Iquar, brilliant but unscrupulous Finance Minister, whom Jai selects as his empress. Corbal and Tarquine want to manipulate Jai; other Eubians just want to assassinate him. The Skolians, meanwhile, don't know what to make of Jai, though Kelric Garlin, their leader who was briefly Tarquine's slave, feels that the young idealist may deserve serious attention. In this formidably complicated situation, recomplicated by the characters' suspicion of each other, Asaro skillfully shows the hesitant sprouting of loyalty, trust and even love. Newcomers can count on a lot of background summary (supplemented by family trees and a timeline at the end) throughout this far from subtle narrative. Still, it's fascinating to watch these overwrought people in superheated interaction. FYI: Asaro has won the two most recent Romantic Times Awards for Best SF Novel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Asaro's vast, splendid Skolian Empire saga continues to successfully combine space opera, hard science, and romance. The protagonist here, young emperor Jaibriol III of Eube, is the son of Soz and Jaibriol, the formidable Romeo and Juliet in The Radiant Seas (1998). Enthroned shortly after his release from slavery, he is immediately hip-deep in intrigues, most of them potentially lethal. To consolidate his power base, he marries his minister of finance, Tarquine Iquar, who is older, erotic, wealthy, and not overly honest; yet she is loyal to him to the extent of her capacity to be loyal to anyone. Meanwhile, the Ruby dynasty places Keldric, the protagonist of The Last Hawk (1997), on the Skolian throne; he has a commoner consort and has been provider (i.e., sex slave) to the future empress, Tarquine, in which capacity he scored a major intelligence coup for the Skolians. Both rulers share a commitment to peace between their star-nations, but that just raises the stakes higher than usual in an Asaro book. Good news for Skolian fandom! Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected, but lacking depth June 3 2004
By kallan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I originally thought I hadn't suffered from not reading any of the previous books in this saga, but now I wonder. Perhaps a number of the characters and events would have had a greater resonance and feel more grounded had I known something about them already.
Essentially this is the story of Jai, who has unwillingly become the Emperor of Eube to save a relative's life and in the hopes of bringing peace to the galaxy. He is young, ethical and idealistic. Unfortunately he is also a "psion" (telepath) in a society where the vast majority of the population are slaves and psions are the lowest of the low.
"The Moon's Shadow" did not develop as I thought it would. I was expecting something along the lines of "Daughter of the Empire", where a novice ruler uses her unorthodox grasp of law and tradition to survive and thrive in her unwanted responsibilities. This book is quite different. Jai does not show much capacity for wisdom or compromise, only ethics. Much of the book is therefore taken up with him stumbling from one crisis to the next, many of them created or prolonged by his refusal to adapt to his new situation and take advice. For me the most significant problem with this book was a certain lack of grounding. Time has passed, but we do not know how Emperor Jai has been spending his time. We are told he is increasingly unpopular, but we do not know with who or precisely why. Everyone, even the hardest characters in the book, who spend time with Jai are won over by him and think him worthy of their loyalty, despite their knowledge of his secrets and behaviour that is strange and weak by the standards of his new society. Too much telling and not enough showing, in other words.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mind your manners! May 29 2004
By lb136
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Catherine Asaro's "The Moon's Shadow" is the final volume of a quartet within her fabulous Skolian Empire series that tells of the events in the aftermath of the Radiance War. (Newcomers are advised to read "Primary Inversion" and "The Radiant Seas" first.) While the first of these, "Ascendant Sun," was a classic space opera, in "The Quantum Rose" Asaro riffed on the once-high-tech world gone medieval theme, while "Spherical Harmonic" can perhaps best be described as a resurrection myth containing a quantum physics monograph (or perhaps the other way around).
And now in "Shadow," one of the best of the entire series, the author returns to her romantic side--plenty of sex, plenty of space opera. Above all, though, it's a novel of manners. The red-eyed Eubian "Highton" aristocracy speak with indirection and false politeness. The biggest faux pas one of them can make is to say exactly what they mean. And suddenly among them comes their naive and reluctant new young emperor, Jabriol III, who has to grow up and take charge in a hurry (a typical Asaro theme), dealing with potential assassins and dubious allies, all the while trying to start peace negotiations with the Skolians (he's half Skolian himself); more important, all the while trying to figure out what's going on. A tall and complicated order indeed.
Most delicious of all, though, readers are reintroduced to perhaps the most complex character Asaro has ever created, the Eubian finance minister Tarquine Iquar (who fans of the series will remember from "Ascendant Sun"). She's smart, she's tough, she's conflicted. For the second time in the series she appears on the book cover. Despite her age (which of course she doesn't look a bit of), she's not too old to do some growing up and taking charge herself. She knows the language of indirection, and she redirects it her way. She has plenty of secrets of her own. Will she reveal them? Indeed, dear reader, that is for you to discover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sheep in Wolfs clothing April 24 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you haven't read THE LAST HAWK, ASCENDANT SUN and THE RADIANT SEAS you will probably miss a lot of the important story threads and character development in this story, as in a sense this is the story of the massive change in the Eubian empire that these previous novels were leading to.
At the end of the Radiance War Jaibriol Qox-Skolia was still a school boy on Earth. When he saw his parents die in a shuttle crash he opted to trade himself to the Eubians in exchange for his uncle Eldrin, the Skolian Ruby Prince who had been captured in the war. For Jai was the true heir to the Eubian empire, but he was also everything they despised - a "provider" psion and a Ruby Prince - both secrets of his past and heritage he had to keep from everyone in the empire if he was to survive even a single day.
This is the story of how Jai learned to survive as Emperor Jaibriol III and the difficult path to peace he finds at the heart of an empire that is the epitome of everything he hates. This is one of the best books in this series, but its true strength lies in the way it builds on previous events. In other books we have been given glimpse of the violent and corrupt Eubian empire and its vicious rulers the Highton caste but in this novel we get to know them in all their depravity and glory as Jai learns more about his father's people than he ever wanted to know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great blend of sci fi and romance Jan. 8 2004
Format:Hardcover
Jaibriol Qox III has just assumed the carnelian throne of the Eubian Empire. He is the rightful heir to the throne, his DNA says so. But no one else is aware that his DNA also says that he is the son of the late Sauscony (Soz) Valdoria, the hated Imperator of the Eubian Empire's sworn enemy, The Skolian Empire. Jaibriol (or Jai as he likes to be called) was born in exile where his mother and father, Jaibriol II, fled after faking their deaths. In the aftermath of the crippling Radiance War, he now believes his parents are really dead and that he has a duty to see that they didn't die in vain.
Realizing he is the only chance the warring worlds have for peace, he reveals himself to the Eubians and thus takes his place as Emperor. But it is harder than Jai thought. He is young and inexperienced. The Hightons, the ruling class on Eube, speak in a florid meandering language that is full of subtext and hidden meaning. Jai can't seem to master the subletites so he blunders constantly. Making enemies early on, he quickly becomes the target of assassination plots
But Jai gains unlikely allies in the woman he makes his empress, Tarquine Iquar, and his wily adviser Corbal Xir. All three have devastating secrets that if they came to light mean sure death. In Tarquine and Corbal Jai gains access to the experience and ruthlessness necessary to run his empire. But he manages to maintain his own internal idealism and need to meet the Skolians at the peace table.
If you haven't read any of the other books of the series, then this probably isn't the best place to be starting. In the previous seven books, there is so much back-story, so much explanation of the events that lead to Jai taking the throne, that you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you tried to start here.
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