Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Oronis Knights #1
Published by Anna Hackett on July 26, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
She vows to bring her abducted queen home…even if she has to work with the man she hates.Knightmaster Nea Laurier is tough, dedicated, and lives to be the best Oronis knight she can be. All her life, she’s worked hard to live up to her prestigious family name. She will do whatever it takes to rescue Knightqueen Carys from their enemy, the vicious Gek’Dragar…she just wishes it didn’t involve the most cunning and dangerous man she knows. A man she detested when they were at the Academy, and a man she still detests—Knighthunter Kaden Galath.Now she’s headed deep into enemy space, and the only person guarding her back is a man she’ll never trust.Knighthunter Kaden Galath was born in the darkness and came from nothing. Being a knighthunter—a spy for his people—is the perfect job for him. He uses all his unique and deadly abilities to keep the Oronis safe, even the beautiful, perfect, do-gooder Knightmaster Nea. He’s vowed to always stay alone in the shadows…but Nea might be the weakness he never expected.As Kaden and Nea embark on a mission to some of the deadliest enemy planets, they fight side by side, and uncover each other’s darkest secrets. Following the trail leading to their captive queen, Nea and Kaden will face their most dangerous battle yet, and a fiery passion that will engulf them both.
Knighthunter is a story about not one but two concurrent chases – one of which is definitely more successful than the other.
The Knightqueen of Oron was kidnapped by the Gek’Dragar in the first book in the Oronis Knights series, Knightmaster, which was all wrapped up in the investigation into that catastrophe as well as the romance between Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor and xenoanthropologist Kennedy Black from Earth. In Knighthunter, Knightmaster Nea Laurier and Knighthunter Kaden Galath have been tasked with hunting down the Knightqueen and her dedicated and bonded Knightguard Sten before the Gek’Dragar complete whatever dastardly plans they have for Knightqueen Carys in specific and most likely the Oronis in general.
It’s not like the Oronis and Gek’Dragar haven’t been bitter enemies since pretty much forever. And as the Oronis are allies of the bands of heroes in both the Galactic Guardians series AND the Eon Warriors series, they are the ones on the side of the angels.
The Gek’Dragar, on the other hand, are in league with (probably loosely and with intent to betray at some point) and certainly in the league of the rapacious Kantos, the dastardly enemies of the Eon Warriors.
So we all know where we stand – or fly – in not just this heinous act but also in the war that this is clearly a prelude for.
But, there are also enemies, of the much closer and more intimate kind, closer to home. Nea Laurier and Kaden Galath attended the Academy together. Well, not really together-together, but at the same time.
Each was the thorn in the other’s side for all the years of their schooling, and can’t seem to stand to be in the same room, let alone stuck with each other in a series of cramped two-person ships on the hunt for their kidnapped Knightqueen.
But appearances can be deceiving, and, in the spirit of the best defense being a good offense, Nea and Kaden have been defending so hard against their feelings for each other that it’s looked like a whole lot of being offensive. For nearly a decade of bristling hostility.
Howsomever, the longer they spend together in the here and now, the more occasions when they just miss their quarry, the more they realize that the masks they have been wearing with each mostly serve to hide their true feelings from themselves.
In the heat of that race, even as they chase down a ship that hides from them at every turn, they stop hiding from themselves. And each other.
Escape Rating A-: In terms of the overarching story of the Oronis vs. the ‘Big Bad’, in this instance the Gek’Dragar, Nea and Kaden’s pursuit of a series of fleeing Gek’Dragar ships through Gek’Dragar space gives the reader a tour of the galaxy and a whole host of reasons to understand why the Oronis have such a huge and justified hate-on for their scaly enemy.
Meanwhile, the sheer volume of true enemies that Nea and Kaden have to wade through in their hunt for their missing Knightqueen puts their personal enmity into sharp relief. They’ve never really hated each other, particularly not in comparison to what true hatefulness looks like.
But the heat of their enemies into lovers relationship burns away any misunderstandings between the two of them – and are there ever plenty! Many of which can be laid at the feet of Nea’s snobby, relentlessly demanding douchecanoe of a father. He may have had his reasons, or his own griefs, that created the mess of a relationship he has with his only remaining child, but his treatment of Kaden even all the way back in the younger man’s Academy days has no excuse.
It was also a whole lot of painful fun to watch Nea whack dear-old-dad with a big clue-by-four, but he clearly needed more applications of that device before he gets the point. I hope we get to see those whacks delivered in a later book.
But seriously, the way that Nea and Kaden keep JUST missing Carys and her kidnappers ratchets up the dramatic tension in this one from the first page to the very last, as the hope that keeps getting snatched away comes back into view yet again.
This was great fun both as an adventure and as a romance, and I really loved being along for both rides. It also makes an excellent setup for the next book in the series, Knightqueen, coming early next year. In romances, I tend to find the chase much more interesting than the catch. And this one really kept me going through one ultimately successful chase – and one I hope to see turn successful soon!