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Review: Temerity – Toshi Drake

Temerity - Toshi Drake

Genre: Sci-Fi

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Can Gratch save his friends and keep his heart safe before the space pirates destroy everything?

Commander Gratch is stressed. He needs peace after almost losing his friends twice to the space pirates. With the crew of the Padua taking time to rehabilitate and relax on the Asyran Moon, Gratch hopes that all will be well; however, a tiny niggle of suspicion rears its ugly head and all Gratch knows is paranoia. Not everything can be this perfect. All hell will break loose if Gratch isn’t ready. But a nighttime flirtation on the beach with Tyr, a mysterious man, distracts him from his worries and fear. 

Until all hell breaks loose and allies become enemies. 

Separated from his friends and with deadly robots intent on experimenting on him, Gratch fights to escape. His only chance at surviving is with Tyr who just happened to be at the right place at the right time, ready to rescue him.

Tyr’s knowledge of the land and his sneaky ways worry Gratch. What if this man with his sly humour and his pretty eyes is only helping Gratch to further the Siwu’s agenda? What if Gratch falls for him only to discover how dangerous Tyr is to his family? Is love worth the cost of an alliance?

Featuring a stoic hero and his sexy spy, Temerity will take you on a ride of nights lost in a jungle, killer robots and love built on trust.

The Review

A true test of a novel is when book 3 in a series isn’t impossible for a new reader to understand. Temerity dropped me into the middle of Toshi Drake’s universe, a sci-fi, familiar sort of interplanetary world. The author gave plenty of backstory information, dropped casually as part of conversations, to help me feel grounded in their universe, and the story itself is fully bound to the “resort moon” of the Asyran planet, where all the actions unfolds.

The book is thus also a spoiler, revealing all of the plot twists of the previous two books. So I’d actually recommend you read Toshi Drake’s previous episodes in the series: “Entity” and “Sanctity” first. These two, like “Temerity,” focus on the relationship of a single couple, supported by the other players, who are both friends and colleagues on the spaceship Padua.

A fascinating quirk that doesn’t get explained fully in this volume is the fact that space travel is mediated by sentient cephalopods called “ship’s hearts,” who bond with the tech officers on spaceships and somehow run them…

In book 3, the crew of the Padua (the ship’s name is the name of the heart that runs it) is on vacation at a lush tropical resort on a beautiful Asyran moon. There is a conference hosted by the Asyrans going on among three major entities – the VCC (Virgo Cluster Corporation), the Maternai of the planet Mechania, and the Paternai. All of this concerns the care and safety of the ship’s hearts – creatures that are essential to space travel, but thereby can be exploited and abused by their humanoid handlers.

Commander Gratch (whose given name we only learn well into the book) is the head of security on the Padua, but also very close to all of his crew. He is enjoying his vacation while the VCC admiral hobnobs with the Asyran High Council and other muckity-mucks. A seemingly chance encounter with a helpful stranger begins to rouse Gratch’s curiosity about the moon on which the resort is located, and on the nature of the conference itself.

Gratch doesn’t see himself as particularly important or smart, but quickly becomes the center of attention as the real nature of the conference is revealed. He and the helpful stranger, whose name is Tyr, find themselves in a life-or-death struggle in the moon’s jungle wilderness in order to unveil a sinister plot and protect the crew of the Padua.

All in all, “Temerity” was both fun to read and filled with intriguing characters. The author presents a healthy dose of moral ambivalence, as the plot spirals around the fine line between good deeds and ego-driven interference. Gratch’s self-deprecation becomes a jumping-off point for his own self-discovery, as he realizes that the lives of the people he loves most depend on him.

I do think I have to read the earlier episodes in the StarStation series.

Four stars.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.

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