Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Mandala Maneuver by Christine Pope

Science Fiction Romance

From Goodreads:

Alexa Craig is well aware she’s known as “The Ice Queen” -- and not out of admiration -- but her reputation has served her well in her diplomatic career. Alien ambassador Lirzhan understands his people are viewed with suspicion and curiosity by the members of the Gaian Consortium, but the Zhore do not casually reveal themselves to outsiders -- not even to someone as intriguing as Alexa Craig.

But after their ship is attacked during a routine flight, the two strangers must rely on each other to survive on the supposedly uninhabited world where their escape pod has crashed. When Alexa and Lirzhan discover the secret hidden behind Mandala’s wild beauty, they must put duty before desire and risk everything to warn the Galactic Council of a conspiracy that could endanger their lives, their worlds, and the future they have begun to imagine together.

The Mandala Maneuver is the fourth book in The Gaian Consortium series and the second I have read.  Both it and Breath of Life, book one in the series, feature one of the more secretive races in the Consortium, the Zhore.

While Breath of Life is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a Science Fiction world The Mandala Maneuver is exciting Space Opera.

Alexa and Lirzhan are both interesting characters who have to carry the story.  There are several familiar tropes in the story but they are very well used and fit both the characters and the plot.  I loved the tension in the story.  The danger and the discovery made by Alexa and Lirzhan was very believable.  While their escape from the danger did provide some of the tension the pressure put on Alexa after they were rescued really ramped the tension up.

The Mandala Maneuver provides both  SFR and Space Opera.  It is a combination that I love and I found it very well done.

Dark Valentine Press published The Mandala Maneuver by Christine Pope in 2014.

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