vrijdag 16 april 2010

Susan Sizemore - Dark Stranger

Dark Stranger

New York Times bestselling author Susan Sizemore presents an exciting twist on her popular Primes series: the novel read by the one and only Vampire Book Club! Share the thrills as you discover a hidden world where passions and fear run high, and a vampire General and an Empire princess together find illicit, unquenchable desire...

A twist of fate made Zoe Pappas heir to the Byzant throne. Bound by duty and devotion to keep the Empire safe, Zoe is captured while on a secret diplomatic mission and sent to an underground prisoner-of-war camp. In this strange, shadowy place, residents are governed by fellow inmate General Matthias "Doc" Raven, whose powerful magnetism rouses an urgent desire in Zoe. But the intensity of her attraction is matched by her surprise at discovering that Doc has a secret of his own: he is a vampire.

Zoe's presence puts everyone in the camp in danger. Doc knows it, and knows too that Zoe's royal status makes it impossible for her to bond with a vampire. The only way to save her is to help her escape, and lose her forever. But some fires are impossible to quench, even when following your heart is the ultimate taboo....

A great story that kept me captivated, made me want to continue reading well after my lunchbreak.

While on a diplomatic mission to convince the other known alien races who are fighting the Hajim to become allies, and stop fighting the humans as well, her ship is attacted by the Hajim, her fleet scattered and destroyed, and Zoe is taken prisoner with a lot of other military personel. They are send to one of the Prisoner of War camps the Hajim have. Guarded by the Krull, they are taken to an enourmous underground labyrinth. Mimimum food, water and lighting makes surviving difficult, not to mention there are other species kept prisoner. Zoe’s presence makes it possible to communicate with them, as she has learned their languages. She has extensive mind implants for all kind of things, but is camouflaged as a normal Marine Luitenant. The prison camp is ruled by the gorgeous General Matthias Raven, who is also the only camp doctor. Everything is set up military style, with the normal chains of command. Being a Royal Princess, it is difficult for Zoe to just accept orders from sone one else. But no-one is to know who she really is, her presence engangers them all. If the Hajim find out who she really is, the heir to the Byzant Empire throne, even more people will die.

Doc and Zoe are drawn together from the first moment she entered the prison camp. She doesn’t know for a long time he is a vampire, a suprahuman being. Exclusive relationships between men and women are not encouraged, as there are so few woman to each man. And in the dark, which has its effect on most humans, there is little to do but exercise and have sex. Zoe doesn’t want a lover, or a relationship. She has to put the good of the Empire first. But Doc Raven knows she is his bondmate, and although he fights it, especially when he finds out who Zoe really is, he cannot stay away from her. And once they do become lovers, the heat is on!

Finally, they know they have to escape when they find out from the Krill that the Hajim will take all the women away. They must have found out who they are looking for afterall. So with the help of the other races, they concer their prisonguards, only to be rescued by the special forces in the nick of time. But can a vampire marry the Princess of the Empire?

I liked this book a lot. I do like a bit of SF now and then. It is set in the World of the Primes, but then a few centuries further. Humanity almost died out at one point, and is now spread out throughout the galaxy, governed by the Empire, guarded by the navy, the marines, the fleet. Some traditions never die out. Some aliens are friendly, others are not. I am very curious to the next Prime novel.

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