Sunday, February 1, 2009


By Linnea Sinclair
Science Fiction Romance
Bantam Books

OPENING NOTES FROM REVIEWER: I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews for all potential readers. Knowing major chunks of the story takes the fun out of the read. So, while deftly skirting the plot hot spots, here's my take…

COVER ART: My review copy is a PDF ARC, so no gorgeous cover to sit and gaze at for hours, but I've posted the artwork I found on the internet. The cover fit my mental image of the main characters.

INITIAL IMPRESSION: The story kicks off with a Mission Impossible style self-destructing Imperial Security bulletin that Admiral Philip Guthrie, a traitor presumed dead, is now believed to be alive and his capture and/or termination is top priority to the Imperial powers-that-be (i.e. "the bad guys"). Guthrie is, of course, the ex-husband of Captain Chasidah Bergen of the first two books in the series, GABRIEL'S GHOST and SHADES OF DARK. And alive he is. Injured, hobbling, disillusioned, lonely and with the weight of the universe and the hopes of the rebel Alliance on his shoulders...but still breathing. He's dismayed to find he's saddled with a derelict former citrus hauler as his command ship. This scrap-ready heap is named HOPE'S FOLLY, an unfortunate tag that Philip must live with. He hopes it's not prophetic.

MAIN CHARACTERS: Admiral Philip Guthrie, the dynamic silver-haired, steel-tongued warrior was introduced via both of the earlier books in the series. The Great Guthrie is marked for assassination when arch-nemesis Darius Tage assumes control and guts the Imperial Fleet, and Philip becomes leader of the outnumbered and ill-equipped rebel opposition. New to the series is Sub-Lieutenant Rya Bennton, formerly of Imperial Fleet Security Forces Special Protection Services (aka ImpSec) and fully capable of her motto: Polite, Professional and Prepared to Kill. She's assigned herself as Philip's personal bodyguard, much to his confoundment. She's also the daughter of the late Captain Cory Bennton, Philip's long-time friend and subordinate who met an untimely death in the power struggle with the Imperial Fleet. Philip is Rya's childhood hero. Rya is Philip's horrible-brat-from-the-past now all grown up and a comrade in the fight against the Imperial Fleet. They share a magical connection; a love of weapons.

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: There is an assortment of ship's officers and crew that are interesting and well-drawn, and at turns either suspicious or suspect. I had hopes that Chasidah "Chaz" Bergen and Gabriel "Sully" Sullivan would make an appearance, but alas, it was not to be in this story. (I did miss them.)

VILLAIN/S: The biggest threat--Darius Tage--remains off-stage, but his influence is felt in his personal crusade to capture and/or kill Admiral Guthrie. Philip could have reason to doubt the loyalty of just about every member of his hastily-formed crew, including Rya. Rya is a danger, but in ways he doesn't want to think about.

OTHER CHARACTERS: There is a cast of effective and memorable personas, not the least of which is the vessel's former "captain," one of the curmudgeonly four-legged variety the Alliance inherits with the ship. He plays a small role in helping Rya feret out danger. No tellin'. See for yourself.

WORLD BUILDING: This Dock Five universe with its various ports and jumpgates felt familiar from the previous books. The ghost of the flagship's former life manifests itself in the gentle and persistent waft of oranges in the cabins and corridors, which I found a very humorous touch.

CONFLICT: Conflict exists on almost every level, and tension cranks higher with each turn of a page. There are obviously some major issues to overcome if Philip and Rya are to find love, not the least of which are merely surviving, the problems with a superior officer-junior officer relationship, the age difference, the perception of the command staff and crew, and the question if they have true feelings for each other or simply share a deep grief brought on by the death of Cory Bennton--her father, his friend.

ROMANCE: Don't look for a fast and furious fling. Like most of Ms. Sinclair's other SFR novels, the relationship takes time to develop and many questions and obstacles must be overcome in getting there. A major hurdle is Philip's tendency toward self-sacrifice, in more ways than one.

EVIL AUTHORS GUILD STAMP OF APPROVAL: The Evil Authors Guild exists to encourage writers to inflict appropriate amounts of terror, angst and emotional torture into their characters’ lives, and to leave them twisting in the wind at every opportunity. Give this one the gold stamp.

Gritter: nick for a GR-10 plasma cannon
ittle-doos: slang for cobbled fixes; from "it'll do"
Subbie: slang for sub-lieutenant
Star-Ripper: a formidable enemy ship
SUMMARY: Linnea Sinclair is a RITA-Award winning author of Science Fiction Romance novels. If you're already familiar with her work and/or enjoy tormented characters, imaginative future worlds and pressure-cooker tension, you're sure to enjoy HOPE'S FOLLY.

NOTE: HOPE'S FOLLY will be released on February 24, 2009.
Click here to see the trailer posted on YouTube.
To see Linnea Sinclair's website, click here.


  1. God, how I love a derelict starship. And Guthrie's on this one, to boot! Looking forward to HOPE'S FOLLY.

    Great review, Laurie! I appreciate the lack of spoilers. I'm so aversive, I rarely even read jacket copy!

  2. Hi Heather. If you're a Philip fan, like I am, then you should enjoy the new dimensions to his character in this one.

    And oh yes, Hope's Folly is quite the derelict, but she still has a few surprises in store. :)


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