Saturday, July 27, 2013

Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and Alternate History

Warrior Prince
Nancy J Cohen
The Wild Rose Press (Faery Rose), $15.99
ISBN: 9781612173573

Nira Larsen arrives at Drift World on Orlando’s International Drive for a make-up job interview though she is confused as the theme park’s log cabin employment office seemed to materialize in the parking lot out of thin air. Algie Morar welcomes Nira and asks her to test her skills on odd looking Jek by making him appear more human. When Nira resists Algie’s mental Confounding commands, the Drift World employee needs to know how so he directs Jek to restrain her. Drift Lord Warriors led by Commander Zohar Thoral rescue Nira while Algie escapes.

Like Algie, Zohar wants to understand how Nira resisted the Confounding but does not imprison the bewildered human; instead they seek to learn who she truly is. As she begins learn the truth behind ancient mythology, Nira is falling in love with Zohar and while he feels the same way. However, a malevolent force invades the earth through a schism in the Bermuda Triangle, the Drift Lord and the human know they must team up to save the planet, but neither trusts the other with their respective life or heart.

The first Drift Lord romantic urban fantasy is a super thriller as Nancy J Cohen brings ancient mythology to a city known for modern day mythos. The Cohen world feels real due to the warriors, their adversaries like the Trollecks and the mystery of Nira. Readers will relish this engaging save the planet before the protagonists can consider love. Harriet Klausner

Ghost Planet
Sharon Lynn Fisher
Tor, $7.99
ISBN: 9780765368973

Environmentally compared to earth Ardagh-1 is Eden. However, there is one major problem with this otherwise idyllic world: a native species hooks onto a human by taking the form of a dead person the outside knew. The alien spirits are meek followers of their “host”. Psychologically the colonists struggle with a deceased loved one following them everywhere they go New Seattle Counseling center chief psychologist Dr. Grayson Murphy issues the “Ghost Protocol,” which bans the colonist from interacting with their ghosts.

Dr. Elizabeth Cole arrives on Ardagh-1 to help the unsettling humans with their mental traumas. She thinks the “Ghost Protocol” is a mistake. Additionally the new psychologist is attracted to her supervisor until she realizes that Dr. Elizabeth Cole died due to a malfunction upon landing in the ocean instead of a pad. Her host Dr. Grayson Murphy ignores her existence, but unlike her new docile peers she plans to learn what she has become.

Ghost Planet is a great romantic science fiction with a strong premise that Sharon Lynn Fisher executes perfectly. Elizabeth is a super protagonist even though we (and she) know she died by chapter 2 as she keeps the fascinating storyline focused. Character driven, readers will appreciate this engaging tale. Harriet Klausner

1635: The Papal Stakes
Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon
Baen, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451638394

In 1635 Rome, Cardinal Borja y Velasco of Spain has taken control of the Vatican. However, he is upset that Pope Urban VIII escaped. United States of Europe (USE) Ambassador Sharon Nichols and her husband Ruy Sanchez provide sanctuary for the beleaguered Pope and his retinue near Padua while Borja sends assassins to kill the Pope so that he can replace him as His Holiness.

Sharon finds radio contact with Colonel North fails. At the same time among Borja’s prisoners are Frank and pregnant Giovanna Stone. North dispatches Commander Harry Lefferts and his Wrecking Crew on an extraction mission.

The latest 1630s Ring of Fire alternate history (see 1634: The Galileo Affair collaborated with Andrew Dennis) is an exhilarating entry with a strong Papal Stakes plot enhanced by a profound look at seventeenth century Catholicism. The storyline is extremely complex as theological debate and armed combat (including targeted assassinations) combine to a fabulous thriller as Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon prove a deft pairing. Harriet Klausner

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