The second book in the Dancer series, published 1983.
DAEMEN: a forgotten place at the very edge of the galaxy, a dying planet where people lived by luck alone. This was the number-one stop for Rheba, the Senyas fire dancer, and Kirtn, her Bre’n mentor, as they sought to fulfil their promise to return a whole shipload of ex-slaves to the widely scattered worlds they called home. Twice Rheba and Kirtn had achieved the impossible—first surviving their own home system’s fiery doom, then escaping the lair of the evil Loo-chim bringing with them the odd assortment of beings who were now their shipmates. Having blasted free of the Loo-chim, Rheba and Kirtn assumed the worst was over. Then they landed on Daemen …
Rheba and Kirtn have escaped their slavery on the planet Loo. They promised to bring the other escaped slaves home, if they can find their homeplanet. The most honest way to do that, is to draw a number to which planet they will go first. But their little spaceship is not meant to carry so many people aboard, and they have only one choice of acquiring what they need: the planet Onan. The same place where they met Trader Jal, and became slaves. The same place where Rheba is perhaps wanted for setting fire to a casino without a license. But it is the only planet in reach, and where they might find a navigational system. They need it to find the homeplanets of their new crewmembers.
A strange but pretty boy/man is very curious about Rheba and the technology of the ship. Kirtn doesn’t trust him, especially not when he sees Rheba is drawn to him. His name is Daemen, just like the planet he is from. He claims to be The Daemen, and to be Luck. He is so certain his homeplanet will be drawn in the lottery first. And he is right.
Back at Onan, they have only enough credits to buy 3 licenses to steal, 1 license to murder, and 2 licenses to perform. And to pay for harbor fees for 4 days. That will leave them precious little to get out again. But the 2 illusionists from Yhelle are skilled thieves, or takers, and will try to steal enough to be able to buy a new navigational system and what else they need for so many different people. With the help of Daemen, they manage, while Rheba and Kirtn with the help of the strange snakelike creature named Fssa perform in front of a crowd. The J/Taals and their clepts will be their protection, with their leader M/dere wearing the circle of the license to kill.
To their own surprise, they manage to steal a lot of jewellery and credits, but Daemen brings in the most. Enough to buy a new navigation system. But for that, Rheba and Kirtn will have to go back to the casino, and deal with the new owner. The deal is done, but they are warned against Deamen, not to trust him, and to space him as soon as possible. But both Senyas and Bre’n are bred to procreate and to nurture and protect children, and Rheba cannot see Deamen as other than a child. She will bring him home safely.
But will he be welcome on his homeplanet?
Daemon is not exactly welcomed back, and Rheba and Kirtn will escort him, make sure he stays safe or comes back with them. But unfortunately, they are ambushed and transported across the planet to another settlement. A strange planet, with strange customs and ancient machinery that is on the brink of malfunctioning. They will need their wits and Rheba’s Fire to escape and to survive.
Ann Maxwell invented a strange and captivating world again. Science Fiction is not really my thing, but she keeps sucking me into the story. I have to know what happens with Rheba and her mentor. She keeps growing as a fire dancer, getting more and more powerful, but still she does not dare to acknowledge the feelings for her Bre’n. She has no memories that their relationship should be more then it is at the moment, that it is meant to evolve into love and being lovers. Not exclusively, they also have a mate of their own species, to have children with. But for now, the only other Senyas they know is the child they found and rescued on Loo. He won’t be able to be a true mate for Rheba for many years. Of course Kirtn knows, but he is not allowed to tell her. As in all important things, it is the Dancer’s Choice. And when she is ready, when she is old enough, she will know what to do instinctly. And in the meantime, Kirtn will burn in silence.
If you like to read about strange new worlds, where no man has gone before, you should try to locate a copy of this old series. You will not be disappointed.
Warning This is a three book series, and it will never be finished. After book three, there is no closure, you really do expect more books. Both for the storyline, and for the personal relationship. Still, I really enjoyed reading them.