Sunday, April 10, 2011
RHEA 41070 Gets its First Review, and a Reviewer's Choice Award!
Bock Gammon and his crew of the skimmer Bleak Tempest had just made delivery of their last cargo and were making ready to exit the Phadra System when they're hailed by Talmon Do Lorit, the undersecretary to Chatta Dul II's Rawlstone Emon Ga Veerim. The Rawlstone is extremely ill and in dire need of a package awaiting pickup at a medical facility in the Cortathian Nebula. With the Tempest damaged from a run in with the feline Adrolls, he's given the use of the Rawlstone's luxurious personal cruiser, the Demand, to carry out what sounds, on the surface, like a simple mission. Bock should have known, with a paycheck of four million galactic credits up front and another four mil upon delivery, that “easy” was one thing this mission wouldn't be.
As a freedom runner, Bock is used to carrying illegal or dubious cargo from one place to another. But when he discovers that the “package” he's supposed to pick up is a Replacement – a highly illegal cloned human being that's to be used for body parts by its buyer – he know that if they're caught with it onboard, it could likely mean several consecutive life sentences or even death for both himself and his crew. He'd bitten off a whole lot more than he wanted to chew, but with the Demand locked on course back to Chatta Dul II, he and his crew had no choice but follow through with the deal as made.
Rhea 41070 was born 81 days ago, a fully grown woman with the innocence and curiosity of a five-year-old. Her voice is like music to Bock, and soon they become lovers. The closer they get to actually delivering Rhea to the Rawlstone, the more he comes to realize that he can't just leave her there and walk away, knowing she'll be cut up like a side of beef, her pieces and parts going to save the Rawlstone's miserable life. If there's a way to save her, he's going to find it. What he doesn't know is that a surprise lies in wait that will force him to leave Rhea behind. And at what cost?
Linda Mooney is one of my top five favorite authors, but occasionally she'll write a book that I have to, if not struggle through the opening several chapters, keep turning page after page in hopes of getting to the real nitty-gritty of the story, at which time I know the book will take off in leaps and bounds. Rhea 41070 is one of those books. The first three chapters are devoted to extensive world building, setting the scene and flavor of what's to come, plus extensive character development that you'll be glad to have a feel for when the real kickass action starts tearing up the pages.
The sex between Bock and Rhea is electric. I loved how sensitive he was with her in introducing her to sex. Rhea is rather unassuming at first, but she quickly develops an animated, inquisitive personality that rapidly wins the reader over. Ultimately, she exhibits remarkable courage in the face of such atrocity and loss it's almost unimaginable. Be prepared for some bloody scenes in this book, plus the last few chapters that will dig deep and pull so much emotion from you that you'll need a box of tissues handy.
I sincerely hope Ms. Mooney will consider writing sequels to Rhea 41070 for Bock's crew: Patt, a massive 7-foot-7 Timian with horns, flashing blue eyes, and jet-black skin; and Via, a human who really defies description, from her colorful face paint and multiple piercings to teeth capped with demonic-looking silver spikes. Both of them are tremendously appealing characters, and I'd love to see them find their heart's desire as well. It would be interesting to see what kind of man Ms. Mooney would choose for Via, not to mention, a woman that would “fit” Patt!