In Scott’s (Dancer of the Nile, 2013, etc.) sci-fi romance, an independent, career-oriented woman must accept a handsome soldier’s help as she escapes a war-torn planet.
Andi Markriss would rather contemplate a career move off-planet than fill in as substitute bridesmaid at the wedding of the princess of the planet Zulaire. The planet’s three Clans, the Obati, Shenti and Naranti, have been at peace for 400 years, so she’s surprised when handsome Capt. Tom Deverane of the Sectors Special Forces shows up saying he has orders to escort her from the planet due to an imminent civil war. She says that it can wait until after the wedding, but a group of rebels attack before the reception is over. Andi and Tom are shocked to learn that the famously neutral Naranti are behind the coup, and the pair realizes that they must reach the capital to pass on this vital intelligence. In the midst of rebellion without transport or communications, their journey becomes more difficult and dangerous. Tom and his fellow soldiers are anxious to follow orders, but hotheaded Andi, a civilian, stays true to her values and insists on rescuing several friends along the way. As Andi and Tom repeatedly come to each other’s rescue, they get little time to explore their steamy, budding romance; ultimately, Tom rescues Andi by helping her find the courage to save herself. Scott, an experienced romance novelist, distinguishes herself first and foremost as a gripping storyteller; the conventional romantic undertones only distract a little from a well-constructed sci-fi escape novel. Andi’s strength and reluctant vulnerability make her a compelling heroine, but many of the secondary characters are a bit underdeveloped. However, the overall story makes up for this with a vibrant setting and an engaging depiction of Zulaire’s intricate political system.
A fine work of science fiction that’s only occasionally hampered by its romance-novel conventions.