Chasidah ‘Chaz’ Bergren is a former captain of the Empire’s Sixth Fleet, on the run from a corrupt justice system. She has been framed by a powerful and ruthless group of people to secure her brother’s silence about a horrific breeding program for violent monsters called Jukors. Now Chaz is fighting to clear her name and prevent more atrocities from occurring. Strong and independent, Chaz has some insecurities that still haunt her and affect her relationship with Sully.
Gabriel Ross Sullivan ‘Sully’ is a rare human Kyi-Ragkiril, a telepath. Kyi-Ragkirils are feared and hated thanks to a recent war with the alien Stolorth. As his lover, Chaz is one of the few people who know Sully’s secret. If known the information could turn Sully’s entire crew, not to mention the entire Empire, against him. Sully himself is both fascinated and repelled by his talents. His struggles to find a middle ground affects his relationship with Chaz, especially once her ex-husband, Admiral Philip Guthrie, shows up.
Chaz and Sully have to deal with increasing levels of treachery and betrayal as the groups opposing them continually raise the stakes. Determined to silence them forever, these groups will stop at nothing, including framing Chaz’s brother in an attempt to draw them out of hiding. Chaz and Sully fight for their survival, the survival of countless innocents, and even the survival of the Empire. However, the one thing that might be in the most jeopardy is their relationship.
Shades of Dark is one of those rare entities; a sequel that is as good, if not better, than the original. It is a sequel to Gabriel’s Ghost and it picks up the story a few months later. Not much has changed in that times, including the strong characters for which I am very grateful. The author has the ability to write very real characters with unique strengths and weakness. Thanks to his telepathy, Sully and Chaz are connected at an incredibly deep level. Despite this the insecurities and miscommunications that occur in all relationships still exist, helping to define and give life to the characters. The supporting characters are also well written, including the alien Taka’s and Stolorth’s. The story is more complex this time around, as the insane logic behind the Jukor breeding program is fleshed out. The author allows the characters (and the reader) to gradually uncover the various pieces of the puzzle, resulting in an intriguing storyline that draws the reader in. The climax of the novel is unexpected and avoids the trap of trying to tie up to many loose ends. Indeed, there could possibly be another sequel tucked away somewhere in the author’s mind; a prospect that both intrigues and excites me. This story is a compelling page-turner and a novel that firmly places Linnea Sinclair in my select group of must have authors.
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