Joy debuts in hardcover with this semifuturistic fantasy romance set in a society ruled by women.
After rescuing her southern estates from near ruin, the noble She-lord Green Tamryn returns to Capitol Town, where she finds herself attracted to Jorlan Reynard, a young nobleman who is unusually handsome but more headstrong than is considered seemly in a male. Both are members of the aristocracy, descendants of the women who landed their spaceship on Forus centuries earlier. Although the original settlers brought sperm for procreation, the sex act is now used. Patrician families marry off sons like Jorlan according to strict rules of protocol. Though obviously intended as a satire of traditional gender inequities, the author’s rearrangement of sex roles is murky; the women, for all their swagger, show undue concern with their appearance and clothes. To save the estate belonging to Jorlan’s grandmother from the clutches of Green’s archenemy, the evil Claudine D’anbere, Green pushes through a marriage to Jorlan by foregoing the standard “ritual of proof” of his virginity. Although Jorlan resists Green’s domination, their passionate wedding night makes clear to her, if not to the befuddled reader, that despite his brave talk he is not only a proper virgin but in love. Meanwhile, the treacherous Claudine embarks on a smear campaign, hoping to overturn the marriage’s legality and destroy Green. After pages and pages of highly charged lovemaking and the use of a natal accelerator, Green gives birth in three months. Although her child is a boy, she breaks with tradition and makes him her heir. Jorlan, who has secret powers of enlarged sensitivity, asserts himself to help Green defeat Claudine and is rewarded by Green’s acknowledgment of his equality.
Lots of steamy sex enlivens a plodding storyline.