Author ~ M.A. Church
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 30th December 2016
Genre ~ SciFi, M/M Romance
Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight and the other veiled in shadow.
Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan Kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.
The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.
Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.
In Enemy Hands is a sci-fi story of enemies to lovers.
Varo is sent to Helkan to negotiate a mining treaty. If unsuccessful, he is to kill the royal family or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately for Varo, when faced with his Helkan contact, Adlar, his body reacts rather **cough** prominently. When the king refuses the treaty, instead of moving his ships away Varo gets caught up in two freak space accidents that land him on the planet, where Adlar, the King’s brother, and deadly assassin, pursues him.
How to give an overall view of this story? Mmm, the Helkans are eco -friendly vampires. Whereas Varo’s people are industrialized users of their planet. Hence, enemies. When Varo crash lands on Helkan, he gets an education and must overturn more than his assumptions.
Onto the technical elements. The copy I read is not a final version, therefore cannot comment on the regular things. However, by reading In Enemy Hands in two large chunks, I noticed; the author tends to repeat things like descriptions, thoughts, and aspects of behavior. The repetitions come in flurries and were occasionally, distracting.
While reading, I suspected (but I could be wrong), that the author is a fan of sci-fi series such as Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Day of the Triffids, Avatar. All of which were awesome, and I saw influences of these through the scenes.
Anyhow back to the story.
Both men are likable, and Adlar is positively jaw dropping. Initially, though, Varo acts like an arrogant prince, who can’t understand why he’s attracted to what he should hate. He flip-flops between lusting and believing Adlar to be some sort of animal. However, there is more than one way to break an enemy, and Adlar chooses seduction over torture. Thus, their relationship is a slow burn sprinkled with moments of indecision resulting in lustful trysts.
The scenery on Helkan is a delightful mixture of beautiful and deadly. I loved the layout of Adlar’s home - I want one.
The transition from enemies to lovers is a sweet, lustful one fraught with contradicting thoughts over action. Like most stories, at some time shit hits the fan. For the most part, this is done rather well. However, towards the end I’d have liked to have seen more made of the action scenes. Kudos though for sticking with the couple rather than interplanetary conflicts.
In Enemy Hands has a charm that I found built up as I read. Its characters are distinctive, and the story is one worthy of the Sci-fi channel.
Meet M.A. Church
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.
She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
You can also email M.A. Church at - firstname.lastname@example.org