Thursday, March 13, 2008

GABRIEL'S GHOST by Linnea Sinclair

There are two covers for GABRIEL’S GHOST, the old one-

-and the new one. I prefer the old one.


You know, sometimes I think maybe Linnea Sinclair watched too many monster movies when she was a kid. GABRIEL’S GHOST is several years old, but it won the prestigious Rita Award. It was one of her first big novels published and the only one I had never read. So, it was interesting for me to see how she’d progressed from the Jukors in GABRIEL’S GHOST to the alien zombies in DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES. All things considered, I think maybe Linnea Sinclair watched just the right amount of monster movies when she was a kid.

Chaz is a court-martialed captain serving time on a penal colony on an alien planet for a crime she didn’t commit. It’s the kind of prison which needs no bars because the environment and inhabitants are not exactly friendly to humans. Confronted by a monster guard in the woods, she kills him in self-defense. Soon after, she’s rescued from further penal misery by a ghost from her past, Gabriel “Sully” Sullivan.
Sully was a pirate rogue she used to play cat-and-mouse with in the shipping lanes of space and now they’re bantering back and forth face to face. The Empire is breeding Jukors and using Taka females to do it. The Jukor offspring rip their way out of their mothers during birth, killing them. Okay, I know every mother thinks her offspring is ripping its way out when she gives birth and it’s going to kill them, but in this case they really do. And, of course, the Taka females aren’t exactly allowed the choice of breeding these little monsters. In exchange for Chaz’s help, Sully gives her a ride off the penal colony planet.
First, they join up with Ren who is a blind Stolorth. Because he’s blind, he can’t do the telepathy thing. However, he’s still pretty good as an empath. His species is notorious for raping and destroying human minds. Humans absolutely hate them, including Chaz. His species is the Enemy. His loyalty to Sully starts softening Chaz’s attitude, however. So, off they go into the wild black yonder. Along the way, they have to commandeer a space ship which, unfortunately, is flown by someone Chaz knows and a sweet, innocent lieutenant. Naturally freaked out, she doesn’t want to have to kill them, but they have to have that ship. Ren comes up with a shocking alternative which Chaz has to concede is not as bad as death, but it cripples her growing respect of her new comrades.
All this time, Sully has been cautiously wooing Chaz and their banter and insecurities make it real and riveting. They’re both from families which have basically rejected them for not staying in the family business. And, oh yes, Chaz has yet another ‘ghost’ from her past which makes trusting Sully difficult – an ex-husband. This ex wanted children but didn’t want to help raise them, so Chaz refused to procreate and he divorced her. Chaz and Sully both have this issue of people they love only loving them *if* they do what they want, regardless of their own feelings. Will these two mature beyond that into the beauty of unconditional love?
The plot builds as this group gathers more allies who have a hard time trusting each other because of past battles and species prejudices and so on. Will their common goal keep them together? They may all be killed before they find out.
This novel is Sensual in the Heat Level and well done.
GABRIEL’S GHOST is the first in a trilogy. The second novel, SHADES OF DARK, is coming out this summer, but I already have it on file in electronic form. I’ll be reviewing it for you next month. Be sure to stop back in.


Kimber Chin said...

I prefer the old cover also.

The new one is a little to Silhouette Nocturne for me. Not that there's anything wrong with Nocturne... unless your book isn't a Nocturne.

But what I really want to know is about the cat. She looks so fluffy and soft, I can't wait for Touch-a-vision monitors.

Kimber An said...

I'm still hoping for my own Holographic Recreational Center in which I can play a part in my favorite novels. Then, I could pet the kitty for real! Well, sort of.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Great review, Kimber An.


Kimber An said...

Thanks, Gwyneth!

Linnea Sinclair said...

Thanks so much for reading Gabriel's, Kimber! I'm tickled you enjoyed the adventure. Sully and Chaz are dear to my heart and it's a great pleasure to be able to continue their story in SHADES OF DARK, and the play with...oops! I mean write Philip's story in HOPE'S FOLLY.

Stay tuned! ~Linnea

Kimber An said...

You're so welcome, Linnea.