Author: Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: Novel (284pgs)
Publisher: Carina Press (15th August 2011)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 1/2Hearts
Blurb: Sergei Stolkov is a faithful officer, though his deepest desires go against the Doctrine. A captain with the invading Coalition forces, he believes that self-sacrifice is the most heroic act and his own needs are only valid if they serve the state.
Mike, an operative planted within Cirokko’s rebels, has been ordered to seduce Sergei and pry from him the Coalition’s military secrets. His mission is a success, but as he captures Sergei’s heart, Mike is tempted by his own charade and falls in love.
When the hostile natives of the planet Cirokko make their move, all seems lost. Can Mike and Sergei survive when the Coalition’s internal affairs division takes an interest in what happened in the dusty mountains of Zasidka Pass…?
Warning: This book contains some scenes that some readers may find offensive. Dubious consent/Torture
Review: This is a true Science Fiction war story. Mike is a spy for the Alliance CovOps and it is his duty to infiltrate and pass on the military secrets of the Doctrine. He has his target in his sight and it isn’t long before he has his target in the palm of his hand; but he loses his own heart in the process. Sergei is a Captain in the Doctrine and he has his own secrets and desires that go against what the Doctrine stand for. He fall’s for a translator and unwittingly betrays the Doctrine but still can’t quite find it in himself to hate the translator.
This is not an easy story to read. If you go into this expecting love to conquer all or thinking that everything is going to be nice and easy then you have another think coming. This is a hard gritty read about what it is really like to fall in love with an enemy; it answers questions that you really don’t want to know the answers to. Could you continue to betray the man you have fallen in love with? Could you sit by and listen to your lover, the man you love be tortured for your Cause? Could you forgive the man who betrayed you and caused hundreds of deaths? It answers these questions and some of the answers are not pretty.
Watching these two men struggle with their conscience about what they should do and what they want to do is interesting because both think they are right. There is no obvious bad evil army because, as with most things in life, just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t make it wrong.
So what do I recommend…well, this story has it all, a harsh backdrop, war, abuse of power (dubious consent etc.), blackmail, betrayal, torture, vindication, escape, oh, and don’t forget the hot sex and love, so for me a must read. But, for you, only if you like any of the above and a great gritty read.