Who I Recommend This To: Espionage SF freaks.
Narrators: Christie Nowak, Clive Catterall
Publisher: Librivox (2009)
Length: 3 hours 55 minutes
This is the story of a Terran Intelligence agent, Race Cargill. No, I don’t have to kill you for knowing that. He has been on the planet Wolf long enough to earn some scars, family ties, and some serious enemies. We enter Race’s life at a time of boredom. Yes, he has been desk surfing for 6 long years behind a nice security fence in the Terran Intelligence headquarters on Wolf. A blood feud left him too marked in more ways than one to continue his normal espionage job – the one he excelled at and still dreams of. Fortunately for him, his sister drags him back into it in order to save her little daughter; his niece.
The women of Wolf are beautiful, and deadly. The fashion and culture dictate they wear stylized fetters on their arms to show they belong to some clan or house. Those women who are unfettered….well, while more mysterious, they are also shunned by polite society. Race comes from the Terran culture, one that looks down on the fetters, no matter how stylish. So imagine the blow to his scruples when his sister dons the fetters and marries into a Wolf family. Ripe with conflict, complex with alien culture, this novella shines out as intriguing scifi espionage.
Oh, and there is torture too. Yes, don’t let me forget about the torture. She was magnificent; Race was unaware of her skill. Do you think he broke? I won’t say, as that would ruin a plot point. And the mystery torture lady shall remain a mystery too, just so you have some thing to look forward to. There is also the mystery of the toys, that aren’t toys. And of course the door through space, that allows for some convenient and much needed travel. This book has several things going for it and definitely encourages me to pick up more Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Christie Nowak read all but the last three chapters, at which point the book abruptly is taken up by Clive Catterall. Even though the main character providing the point of view is male, I quite enjoyed having a female reader. In her strong voice, Nowak provided a variety of voices for the characters. When the reading abruptly switched to not only another reader, but the opposite sex, I had to realign who all the characters were with the new voice. However, with that said, Catterall also gave a fine performance with a variety of voices for the characters.
What I Disliked: There’s a mysterious side character we get introduced to twice….. and then she disappears from the story; the narrators abruptly switch towards the end.
This month is the tail end of The Science Fiction Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. Stop by his blog for more SF goodness.