THE VAN LAVEN OATH by J. Nelson-Owens


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Romeo and Juliet meet Adam Smith in a futuristic tale of intrigue, incest and supply-side economics.

Prince Comron Van Laven, son of King Crausin Van Laven, is living the good life–at 29, he’s got smoldering good looks, devious cunning and, most importantly, the love and devotion of his father, a man with whom he shares everything (including women)–until a fateful crash on a foreign planet leaves him stranded with Lady Vaush Bastionli, the daughter of the Van Laven’s most hated rival. As fate would have it, animal magnetism trumps centuries of hatred, and the two fall in love. Knowing their families will not permit their romance, the two pledge to keep it a secret until circumstances force them to act. What follows is a high-energy romp through space, replete with laser guns, daring escapes and stunning revelations. At its core, the author’s maiden voyage has all the elements of a good space opera–flawed characters with dark pasts, a story-altering (if somewhat predictable) plot twist and a fully realized futuristic world–but the book is in desperate need of an editor. Distracting grammatical errors abound in nearly every paragraph, and some characters suffer the indignity of having their names spelled multiple ways–on the same page. And while discussions about the economic structure of the kingdoms yield the occasional interesting tidbit, too much of the narrative seems pulled from a Finance 101 textbook. By the end, readers will wonder what’s more difficult to accept–the author’s scornful disdain for the proper use of the comma, the tedious, in-depth conversations about the finer points of accounting or the hints that father and son may be involved in something even more sinister than their incestuous threesomes.

The Star Wars of bodice-ripping business lectures–a decent story fights to be heard over a cacophony of distracting misfires.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2006
ISBN: 0-7414-2945-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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