Trilby Elliot never quits. Sure, her interstellar cargo hauling corporation (total employees: one) is nearing bankruptcy. She knows all about the militant Ycsko picking off little Indy freighters like hers all across the galaxy. So what if the heir to the biggest merchant trading corporation in the known galaxy is a bit miffed because she dumped him a few months ago. Her badly outdated ship is held together with spit and a prayer and her only companion is a protocol ‘Droid who doesn’t know when to shut up. She’s forced to land on a jungle planet where every native species is nicknamed “vampire” just to repair her ship without customs officials breathing down her neck about “illegal customizations.” You would think that Trilby would be a bit down on herself, but she has something most corporate drones and “legitimate” traders only dream about: freedom.
Whatever the situation there is always a silver lining, and Trilby’s comes in the form of a ‘Sko fighter ship crash landing not two miles from where she sits. The price she could fetch in Port Rumor for salvage on a ship like that could drag her ship out of the crosshairs of the Repo-Men. If it’s not too bad, she just might be able to afford those new, not technically legal missile pods she’s had her eye on. You never can be too careful, but if there’s one thing that Trilby has learned in her life it’s that no matter how careful you are, you are bound to be surprised eventually. Expecting a dead or dying ‘Sko fighter pilot, she instead gets a strong, muscled, perfect specimen of a man wearing a Z’fahrin uniform. He is tall, dark, and handsome, just like in the storybooks, but the storybooks rarely come with so many complications. The Z’fahrin Empire had, until three years before, been at war with Trilby’s own Conclave. That war was over, but no one made peace with the ‘Sko. As she dropped the pilot in sickbay so her ‘Droid could take a look at his wounds, she couldn’t help but wonder what a Z’fahrin lieutenant was doing flying a ‘Sko fighter.
Rhis Vanur is used to people taking his orders. He has been bred for one thing, his whole life dedicated to one purpose: to fight for the Empire on one of its interstellar ships. This is his only reason for being, and he is good at it. The Z’fahrin are a proud race, and Rhis inherited their arrogance and swagger in spades. Not only is the Empire the greatest civilization in recorded history, but Rhis is far better than any of the worm fodder they try to pass off as officers in the Conclave. Rhis has the respect of his peers, but respect from the Empire is another thing altogether. The Z’fahrin culture and social pecking order is based on clans and family, genealogies that date back to the founding of the Empire. Rhis’ parentage is unknown, and there are many in the Empire who feel that he is unworthy of the officer’s badge he wears.
Rhis was captured by the ‘Sko during a covert raid and it took every bit of his technical and physical abilities to get himself out in one piece. Well he was in one piece, but the ‘Sko fighter he had stolen wasn’t, and he was forced to crash land on a backwater pothole of a planet. When he awakes, Rhis finds himself staring at the insides of an antique shuttle nearly thirty years out-of-date and covered with duct tape and lumpy spot welds. The Careless Venture is captained by a short, definitely female spitfire with full, pouty lips and golden hair that makes her look like some sort of air-sprite. She is confident, at least as intelligent as he is, and definitely not prepared to follow his orders. He needs her ship, however, and has to somehow convince her to take him back to the Empire and his ship, the Razalka. Or take her ship by force.
Linnea Sinclair weaves a tale of interstellar intrigue and romance in her book, “Finder’s Keepers” Trilby and Rhis soon find out that they don’t know the half of the problems they will encounter. Their first step may be finding the Razalka, but that ship is captained by T’vahr the Terrible, the most ruthless tactical genius ever produced by the Empire or any other worlds. What will his reaction to Trilby and Rhis’ appearance in his domain? Why are Trilby’s old friends disappearing in the space lanes? Everyone knows the ‘Sko want to control the known universe, but why are they attacking Indy freighters instead of preparing to fight the regular military? And what is Rhis hiding? Trilby knows he’s not being totally honest with her, so what was he really doing in that ‘Sko fighter?
“Finder’s Keepers,” published by NovelBooks, Inc. is a fast-paced science-fiction romance. The characters of Trilby and Rhis play off of each other well, giving the reader a sense of the depth behind their personalities that is so often missed in modern fiction. Ms. Sinclair conveys the characters’ past experience not as just background but major developmental influences in their lives, making them who they are today. Despite the futuristic setting, “Keepers” never bogs down with unnecessary technical jargon, yet one never feels that there is something going on that you just don’t understand. Sinclair weaves the plot tightly, giving the novel an even, fast pace throughout. I was a little unsatisfied with the conclusion, I felt that a few plot points were left hanging, but “Keepers” was a very fine book and I would recommend it to any fans of Science Fiction or Paranormal Romance. “Finder’s Keepers” should be on anyone’s list as a quick-paced, enjoyable read.
All the best reading,