In this sci-fi debut, a veterinary student is abducted and thrust to the forefront of an alien war.
Lianndra Ross, a student of veterinary medicine in Saskatchewan, has won a free trip to California. The timing is perfect. She just broke up with Scott, her boyfriend of two years, and needs some time to herself. When she gets to the gorgeous Bodega Bay, she decides to kayak. A rare tiger shark attack strands her on a buoy. Luckily she’s rescued by the dashing, exuberant Michael Laughlin, who passes by on a jet ski. She reluctantly begins spending her vacation with him—in a gallery, among redwood trees, and horseback riding on the beach. While snorkeling, Lianndra, Michael, and his two friends Trent and Cassidy are kidnapped by armed thugs. They end up in a warehouse filled with shackled men and women in what appears to be a human trafficking operation. Things become worse—and stranger—when the captors employ advanced shock collars and a strict exercise regimen to keep everyone in line. Months into the imprisonment, the captives meet those in charge, and the visage of their keeper is a shocker. In her debut, Horn reveals an elaborate world in stages and sets the scene with small details, like when Lianndra sees “small crabs going about their business while darting fish flashed where the evening light penetrated the shallow water.” Horn delights in sensory textures, from the “cries, screams, sobs” of the prison warehouse to the “queer double glottal stops” required to pronounce the name of the belligerent aliens who use humans for sport and cannon fodder. Mythical gryphons factor into the narrative in a unique, dramatic manner that all but ensures audiences return for the sequel.
A sensual, perfectly paced blend of action and sci-fi biology.