zaterdag 13 november 2010

Jayne Castle – Obsidian Prey

The seventh book in the Harmony World series, published in 2009.

Obsidian Prey

Two hundred years after the closing of the energy Curtain that allowed interplanetary travel - cutting off all contact to Earth - the planet Harmony is thriving. Thanks to an abundant supply of amber, which powers not only electrical machines for everyday use but also psychic abilities in the colonists, Harmony has created a stable, progressive community. But when that stability is threatened, resolving an ancient family feud and a fresh lover's quarrel might be the planet's only hope.

Three months ago, Lyra Dore suffered a heartbreak and a hostile takeover - both at the hands of the same man. A descendant of her ancestors' fierce rival. Cruz Sweetwater charmed his way into Lyra's heart and gained access to her pet project, an amethyst ruin. Then he took over the project and took off. When Cruz walks back into her life and requests a private meeting, Lyra convinces herself he's there to crawl and beg forgiveness. Wrong again - he just needs her help. With the project he stole from her.

Five innocent men are trapped inside a chamber in the amethyst ruin, and Lyra is the only one who can reopen the door. Reluctantly she agrees to help. Then Cruz wants her to apply her talents to the rest of the ruin - because no one else can work it. Lyra and Cruz are both harboring psychic secrets. Unknown - and dangerous - powers pulse within the amethyst ruin, and the closer Lyra gets to them, the more at risk she becomes. And now she must decide whether to trust her guts or her heart.

Lyra Dora is a tuner of amber, and a very good one at that. She is one of the rare ones, she can tune any colour of amber, but her speciality is amethyst amber. Once exploring the underground alien jungle of Frequency City, her dustbunny Vincent led her to an amethyst amber ruin, something not found before. But as an independent prospector, her find is confiscated by the authorities, who hand it over to Amber Inc, to secure and investigate it. And it was the man she loved who took it from her. She never knew he was a Sweetwater until he walked out on her, otherwise she would have listened to her grandfathers warnings about that particular family.

Lyra is not the sort of woman to leave it at that, take the money offered, and keep her mouth shut. No, she files a lawsuit against Amber Inc, and nearly got bankrupt because of it. She hired a lousy lawyer and Amber Inc’s expensive ones wiped the floor with him. But she did get a lot of press out of it.

And now, three months later, Cruz Sweetwater, CEO of Amber Inc, comes back into her life. Not just because she broke his heart as he claims, but because he needs his help. The company has been unable to find anyone who can work with amethyst amber, so they have been unsuccessful to work with it and discover its secrets. She knew that of course, the head of the lab, an obnoxious dr. Webber has been trying to get her to work for him for weeks now.
The door of the amethyst amber building has suddenly closed, trapping 5 innocent people inside. And as much as she loathes AI or the Guild, she will save them. Of course, the press has a field day with this all, thinking they got back together.

And that is certainly Cruz’s intent. The very first time he set eyes on Lyra, he knew she was the one for him. But at the time he was just doing his job, and trying to keep her safe. His family is one of Old Earth’s most powerful psychics, hunters by nature, and high in the echelons of the Arcane Society. But they also have the ability to recognize their lifemates. The only difficulty is to convince Lyra of that fact. She distrusts him now, and with reason of course.

After Lyra opens the amethyst amber chamber, and frees the people in there, Cruz goes back home with her again. And there he tells her one of the artefacts has been stolen from his lab, and a lab tech murdered. Some one is trying to set it up like she is the one behind all this. Of course he doesn’t believe it for one moment, but she will be needing his protection. Of course, sticking close to her will also give him the opportunity to find out who is behind it all. So it is not so strange Lyra keeps doubting him, as he always has multiple purposes, and still wants her help with the amethyst amber artefacts. He suspects she has hidden some of them before his company took over the chamber from her, and of course, she has. Some of the most powerful relics ever discovered, but as she believes them dangerous, she doesn’t want to turn them over to the government to be used as weapons. Lyra wants to have control over what will happen to them. And to her astonishment, Cruz agrees. But he does ask her a large favour in return. To accompany him to his grandfathers’ birthday party on Amber Island, to meet his family.

I loved this story a lot. It combines the Harmony world with the Arcane Society very nicely. I absolutely loved Vincent, the painting dustbunny. The story is very fastpaced, with lots of action, and some nice love scenes. But it certainly was Lyra who got my admiration. She just doesn’t give up, is a very strong psychic herself. I love the humor and the witty banter, she knows she is playing with fire by teasing Cruz, but that won’t stop her. She even accepts a consulting job with his biggest competitor, knowing he will not like it. But it is her career, her life, and he has no say over that! But of course, Cruz does not meakly accept it, he doesn’t trust that man not to take advantage of Lyra, so he just goes with her.

The last two scenes in the book are great. Hooray for the dustbunnies!

I really love this world Jayne Ann Krentz has created, and I do hope there will be many more books. For now, I only have Midnight Crystal left.

9 stars.

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