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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chain by Viola Grace

Chain by Viola Grace
A Terran Times Novella)
Publisher: Extasy Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (94 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Estelle is a logistical expert, show her a problem and she can solve it. When she is drugged and enslaved, she looks for a way out, sending messages with every outgoing slave and hoping that one will get her plan to the Alliance in time. The escape is on, but she has been shackled to her breeding partner that very evening, linked by a chain they lead the escape until one partner goes on alone. Survivors are offered a place on an Oefric colony world. The shape shifters have a separate town from the arena survivors, and that is where their hospitality ends. Steel leads the charge to design a working village, and since she conveniently made it into the survivors and not the Alliance specialist designation when she landed, let the fun begin. Wyanic is eventually persuaded to look in on the growing village, and imagine his surprise when his true mate greets him when he thought her dead on the ship.

This is another of Viola Grace’s Terran Times stories. It is a story of survival against all odds, and of new beginnings.

Estelle "Steel" Vargas is a logistical expert for the Alliance, and can solve any problem given enough time. Taking a break at a bar, she is drugged abducted and enslaved. But throughout her captivity, she has sent messages with each departing slave trying to effect and escape with help from the Alliance.

When an attack on the arena frees Estelle, who is chained to another captive, her breeding mate Wyanic, they escape. But Estelle is injured, presumed dead and Wyanic mourns her loss. When her friends refuse to let her die, especially since she is carrying Wyanic’s daughter, Steel ends up in the survivor’s camp, and becomes their leader.

I love the world Ms. Grace has built for her unique universe, and it is ever expanding. I always wonder what new species Ms. Grace will introduce next, and in this she does not disappoint. Her settlers are a delightful mix of old friends like the Oefric shape shifters, and the newer, many armed l’nal.

Estelle ‘Steel’ Vargas is a survivor. She uses her logistical talent to create a new society, far from her home planet. She is determined to do whatever it takes for her little band of survivors to prosper, and begin new lives together. The sacrifices she makes, including the loss of a piece of her body to support her unborn child, are heroic. She is smart and courageous, and becomes the leader of her rag-tag group. I loved her ability to create a sense of harmony between her people.

Wyanic is a strong and passionate man. When he loses Estelle, his one true mate, he mourns her loss deeply. In spite of the urging by his friend, Wyanic secludes himself, leading his village but not interacting with them. It is only after he has been suffering a mystery illness and is convinced to seek out the healer in the other settlement that he discovers the wonders of what Steel has done. I loved his shock at discovering that his mate was alive, and his delight in impeding fatherhood. I had to laugh at what his illness turned out to be.

This is one of the best so far from the Terran Times stories. It is a tale of love, and passion, and renewal. It is a romance of survival and new beginnings, and I recommend this one to everyone.

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