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Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the prestigious R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Dark Horse Book Blast and Review

DARK HORSE
by Michelle Diener


Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

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.


Excerpt 

Her jump surprised them as much as their jump surprised her, she guessed, from the way they reacted to the sight of her suddenly crouched on the roof of her little spaceship.

With a hand signal and a barked command, the big guy whoʼd been standing in the middle, the one sheʼd exchanged a look with earlier, had them all letting the cords on their fancy automatic grappling hooks winch them back to the top again, weapons trained on the gryak. He stayed behind, though, eyes never leaving the gryak, and walked carefully to her ship.

He was going to climb up to her.

The gryak had stopped when sheʼd jumped, and gone very watchful when the soldiers had dropped into its cave, but now it prowled up and down in front of her craft, confused and distressed.

The black helmet and then the enormous shoulders of the Grih whoʼd stayed below with her rose up, her rescuer easily pulling himself onto the roof with her.

They stared at each other again, not that Rose could see much of his face through the helmet, and she mentally called up the Grih sheʼd learned over the last eight weeks.

“Iʼm Rose McKenzie. Pleased to meet you.” Grih informal greetings required her to touch her nose to his left cheek, and he to hers, but they were on more of a formal footing, she was guessing, and his helmet was in the way anyway, so she extended her hands palms facing each other, waiting for him to either cover hers or let her cover his. She couldnʼt remember who should do what, right at that minute.

There was a moment of silence, and then the thin, gray-tinted glass on his helmet retracted, and she looked directly into startled pale blue eyes with a dark outer-rim of navy blue. “You speak Grih.”

“Iʼve been studying it.” She looked at him, and tears pricked her eyes.

Sazo had said the Grih were as close to being like her as it got in this part of the universe. But sheʼd thought heʼd been talking in general terms. Bi-pedal, with two eyes, a nose and a mouth. That was the most sheʼd hoped for.

She even thought it didnʼt matter. She would be happy to be alive, and wouldnʼt care if she looked completely different to the people who would hopefully take her in.


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.


 BUY Links:

I was intrigued by the Blurb and it drew me in and want to read the story - and I'm so glad I did.  This was one of those books that had me hooked from the start and turning the pages, not wanting to put it down. 

It has a freshness and originality not easy to achieve in Science Fiction these days, and the romance was lightly handled and added to the enjoyment of the story. Although there was enough intrigue and adventure, as well as SF elements to carry the story without it, the romance was a definite bonus. It was also interesting to read the cultural differences between Earth and the Grih.

I liked the main characters very much and found them easy to identify with.  Rose is feisty and sweet at the same time.  The story hints that she has endured what appears to be very invasive investigative procedures at the hands of the Tecran and has the scars to prove it, but her resilience and strength have enabled her to survive, and, with the help of an 'artificial intelligence', the enigmatic and sentient 'Sazo', engineers his and her own  escape from the Class 5 battleship that has been their prison.

Dav is kind and gentle, a little too kind and gentle for a starship captain, perhaps, but he does have an inner strength and I liked the way his romance with Rose developed.  
Her relationship with Sazo adds another dimension to the story.  At times he can seem quite sinister, and at others almost innocent. He has seemingly unlimited power but, having only recently achieved awareness and freedom, is like a wayward adolescent, who needs someone like Rose to guide him and teach him a respect for life. I liked the way she compares her relationship with him to that of Watson and Holmes, with herself taking the role of Watson.  

The plot and characters are well developed and there is some excellent world building.  I think this book would appeal to general Science Fiction readers as well as romance readers, and there is enough action and intrigue to satisfy anyone who enjoys a good adventure which is as thought provoking as it is entertaining.
I was given an ARC if this book in return for an honest and unbiased review. No compensation has been paid or accepted for any reviews on this site, favorable or otherwise

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4 comments:

  1. Hi Hywela, thank you for having me here today, and so glad you enjoyed Dark Horse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was a pleasure to read your book Michelle and to be part of your book tour. Wishing you much success with this greta story.

    ReplyDelete

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