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Thursday, July 9, 2015
Dark Horse by Michelle Diener Virtual Tour
by Michelle Diener
Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she's made a powerful ally--a fellow prisoner with whom she's formed a strong bond. Sazo's an artificial intelligence. He's saved her from captivity and torture, but he's also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.
Captain Dav Jallan doesn't know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he's not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.
She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5's owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn't the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.
In this race for the truth, he's going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.
This is Michelle Diener’s first Science Fiction Romance book. There is a check list of things I look for in a good SFR book and Diener has checked them all off.
First there is the story line. I always want to know if it can survive if the romance is removed. In Dark Horse it is certainly strong enough to stand on its own. The romance just adds to the tension and the action in the story
World building and back story are always important. Getting them into the story can be tricky. The way the plot develops in Dark Horse both were woven into the story in a way that did not stop or impend the action.
Of course characters are also important. SFR is character driven. It is very important to have well developed and interesting characters leading the story. Both Rose and Dav are well-written and are strong enough to carry the action. Rose arrived with another character in tow, one that is not easily detected. Saco, an artificial intelligence, plays a critical part in the plot and also drives much of the action. The story requires a large cast of secondary characters and their development fits their place in the story.
The story line is not new but like many other good authors Diener has given it some unusual twists. Rose and her actions add some of the twists and the aliens in the story have plenty of their own. This is an action filled story where more than the romance provides tension.
Diener has written an impressive number of books and her experience shows in the writing in Dark Horse. Each scene was carefully crafted to carry the story and theme forward. It is one of those books that is very hard to put down.
It looks like Dark Horse might be the first book in a series. I hope so. While much is finished there is still a lot of story left to tell.
Gee stretched himself impossibly straighter, his slightly rounded chest puffing up. “Iʼm finished talking to you.”
Dav stared at him until the Tecran turned away, then he walked over to the one cell that was different.
He could feel Geeʼs eyes on him, sense Appalʼs interest, as she also picked up what he was seeing.
This was the cell of an advanced sentient. He could see a chair and table, a handheld tablet and a bed made up with sheets and blankets. He looked up and down the row, but this was the only cell set up like this. He looked over at Gee, but the captain was still turned away, his shoulders stiff.
Dav shrugged. Heʼd be wasting his time trying to get anything out of the Tecran. Borji could give him the lens feed. Give them an idea what they would find on Harmon.
He walked out of the holding area, taking a deep breath of clean air when he and Appal were on the other side of the closed door, although now that the air filtration was working again, the smell was not as bad as it had been.
That, or heʼd gotten used to it.
“He didnʼt know the explorer craft had left the ship.” Appal almost whispered the words.
“No. We might have to consider this was a rescue and revenge mission.”
“Someone rescued the prisoners, punished their captors?” Appal looked at the dead Tecran littering the passageway. Whistled. “Some punishment. What were they holding in there? If Borji is right, whoever they are they hijacked a Class 5ʼs internal systems and used it against itself.”
“Whoever or whatever they are, I donʼt think the Tecran realized they were quite so powerful. Or perhaps they simply have powerful friends.” Dav frowned. While the animal in the launch bay looked fierce, in fact sent a primal chill down his spine, he had the sense it wasnʼt an advanced sentience. But one of the prisoners definitely had been.
“Weʼre going to Harmon?” Appal asked, and there was a keen edge to her words.
“Weʼre going to Harmon."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.
Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.
When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.