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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.
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.
This is one of the author's best of the Skolian saga books. I especially enjoyed the dialogue in this book - Asaro conveys fear, uncertainty, horror, anger, love with such a subtle... Read morePublished on April 15 2003
Loved this book! First Catherine Asaro book I bought in hardcover, and it was worth every penny. I started the series with "Quantum Rose," because I was looking for a crossover... Read morePublished on March 14 2003
On the planet Delos, The Eubians exchange prisoner Prince Eldrin of the Skolian Empire for Jai Rockworth the heir to the Eubian Concord. Read morePublished on March 2 2003 by Harriet Klausner