Publication Date: August 20, 2014
Princess Shalira was blinded as a result of an assassination attempt as a child. Her best chance to escape her home and cruel stepmother is to agree to an arranged marriage. Princess Shalira convinces Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer, to escort her to her groom. The connection between Mike and Princess Shalira is unreliable, and when complications in the transport arise will they be able to resist the attraction and manage to stay alive?
The author, Veronica Scott, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Readers of this blog will know that Veronica Scott is one of this reader’s favorite authors. [easyazon-link asin=”B00MRLXPQ6″ locale=”us”]Mission To Mahjundar[/easyazon-link] is an entry in the sci-fi genre but has the similarity of feel to the Scott’s series set in Ancient Egypt. [easyazon-link asin=”B00MRLXPQ6″ locale=”us”]Mission To Mahjundar[/easyazon-link] is the perfect marriage of what Scott does best.
Scott wastes no time once the novel begins. We meet Princess Shalira’s stepmother. When Mike meets her, we see through his eyes an overdone and haughty woman convinced of her absolute control. Also through his eyes, we see the Princess unsure and clinging to her horse in a seeming metaphor to her approach of life. Her control is limited and she clings to whatever she can. They meet in an impossibly dangerous situation, and it is one of the first moments in which Princess Shailira leans on him both for literal and metaphorical support. It is a tangible and believable trust that is built with record speed by a skilled author.
Princess Shalira is as strong as any of Scott’s fictional heroines, but she also is probably the most desperate and determined. In the planning of a rescue mid-novel, Princess Shalira requests a weapon before they set out. When one of her companions asks why she needs a weapon, she tells him quite stoically “I won’t be taken alive.” ( Kindle location 2265). This line as much as any, speaks to who Princess Shalira was written to be. She will agree to marry to escape her situation, but she will sacrifice herself for her people if the need presents itself. Oftentimes, in the genre we’re told that someone is who they are without any basis to believe that assertion. Scott backs up her action by layering the character in her writing. Princess Shalira and Mike are real living and breathing people with desires and motivations that ring true to the circumstances in which they find themselves. Despite her obvious disability, she has resolve. When forced to cross a dangerous river, Princess Shalira sits tall and calmly and says to Mike, “I trust you and I trust this horse.” She is a woman who will not be set aside.
Mike is typical of Scott’s male characters. He’s a soldier with a soldier’s mind and with a quick instinct to help those in his charge. Mike wants to protect Princess Shalira, but understands it’s not a wise move to belabor the point. He knows why he wants to do it, and as it has as much to do with his admiration for her, as his need to protect her. Again, the realism in this sort of story line is important. There has to be more of a reason for the attraction than compatible private parts and Scott gives that to her readers without the overdone will-they-or-won’t-they. Can you have strong and decisive characters that an audience will believe if they’re not self-aware? That said, there’s a softness in each character rounding them out and further endearing them to the reader.
Despite the heaviness of subject and urgency of danger, Scott gives us some light elements. The teasing Johnny calls Mike to the carpet on his feelings but also reminds the character not to take himself so seriously. Saium, the guard, knows Princess Shalira well and calls her bluff when she needs it called. Readers know that these characters have good friends and a good support system and if they can only get out of this impossible situation they’re in, they’ll have a good road ahead.
Scott writes wonderful action. Her fight scenes are exquisitely framed and lead the reader on a fast paced wild ride. Scott’s settings are majestic. In [easyazon-link asin=”B00MRLXPQ6″ locale=”us”]Mission To Mahjundar[/easyazon-link] readers are treated to an ancient world in the future ruled by gods and goddesses. [easyazon-link asin=”B00MRLXPQ6″ locale=”us”]Mission To Mahjundar[/easyazon-link] is a delightful and entertaining read for anyone with an unplanned afternoon and a cozy chair.
Veronica Scott is a wonderful author and with each novel only gets better. Pick [easyazon-link asin=”B00MRLXPQ6″ locale=”us”]Mission To Mahjundar[/easyazon-link] up today.
For more information Veronica Scott and her work, visit her website. You can connect with her on Facebook, GoodReads and Twitter @VScotttheauthor.
Series readers can track “The Sectors” and “Gods of Egypt” series on FictFact.