Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Oronis Knights #1
Published by Anna Hackett on March 16, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
She was sent to forge an alliance with the deadly Oronis knights…and instead finds herself framed for abducting their queen.
Xenoanthropologist Kennedy Black loves exploring new cultures with Space Corps. Everyone in her life has left her, so she happily fills the void with exciting adventures. When she’s assigned to escort the new ambassador to the planet Oron for an opulent ball, she’s thrilled to get an up-close look at the Oronis knights, and their culture of honor and duty to their knightqueen. But she never expected her reaction to cool, controlled Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor, head of the Oronis Knightforce.
And she really didn’t expect a savage alien attack that leaves the knightqueen missing and Earth fingered as the culprit.
Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor lives to protect his planet, his people, and his knightqueen. He came from nothing, and the code of knighthood is the cornerstone of his being. When Knightqueen Carys is abducted by their mortal enemies, the ferocious Gek’Dragar, he’s icily enraged, especially when he finds evidence that Earth, and the far too enticing Sub-Captain Kennedy Black, are involved.
But Kennedy vows to clear Earth’s name by helping Ashtin and his knights find the queen. As she and Ashtin embark on a risky mission to a dangerous jungle planet, they’re forced to rely on each other, and their sizzling chemistry is soon undeniable. But love can’t be an option, not for a knight bound only to his duty and a woman whose heart already has too many scars.
We first met the Oronis Knights in Conqueror, the final book in the author’s totally awesome Galactic Kings series. That series ended with a big bang of a battle when Conqueror Graylan Taln Sarkany called on every single one of his friends and allies to finally bring his nemesis to heel. Among those friends and allies were a contingent of the Oronis Knights, and it’s here in the first book of this new series that we pick up the thread of their story.
And it’s a humdinger, as all of Anna Hackett’s stories are.
Earth needs allies. Its introduction to the wider intergalactic universe was a rough one, as the planet was targeted by the rapacious Kantos. But Earth eventually found common cause with the Eons – after a series of fairly rough starts as portrayed in Edge or Eon and the rest of the Eon Warriors series.
After the rough start to that alliance, Earth is being a bit more proactive, and sending diplomats to possible allies instead of kidnappers as they did in Edge or Eon. It’s been a bit of a process that has not always run smooth – to say the least!
The Oronis are allies of the Eons, the Eons are Earth’s allies, so there are high hopes riding on a diplomatic mission from Earth to Oronis under the aegis of the Eons. Space Corps zenoanthropologist Kennedy Black is guiding, guarding and shepherding a diplomatic mission that goes completely pear-shaped when the welcome ball is invaded by Oronis’ historic enemy, the Gek’Dragar.
The Oronis’ knightqueen is kidnapped, along with her bodyguard. The evidence left behind points to a plot between the Gek’Dragar and Earth. Tensions are high, suspicions are higher, blood is on the ground and in the air, and the Earth delegation is furious at being used by a people they’ve never even met.
The Oronis aren’t ready to see reason – not until Kennedy puts her own life on the line to help the Oronis follow the trail. That she’ll be working closely with an Oronis Knight she can’t seem to resist – and very much vice-versa – is only one of the many reasons that she is determined to see this mission through.
Whether her heart can handle it or not.
Escape Rating A-: Their hunt for the knightqueen’s kidnappers lead Kennedy and Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor from scummy space stations with even scummier information brokers to a jungle planet that seems designed to eat them both alive before they can discover the next clue. They’re in a race against time while not knowing their enemy’s true purpose or how much time they have left. If it isn’t already too late.
Both believe that the lives they have led up to this point mean that it’s too late for any relationship they might have had – no matter how badly both of them want it.
Ashtin is duty-bound to serve his knightqueen and his people. Kennedy is an officer in her own world’s Space Corps with her own duty to serve as well as a drive to explore the universe her people have just barely reached at such a high cost.
This is a quest story. Ashtin is searching for his knightqueen and her bodyguard – who is also his friend. He is praying for vindication of his initial trust in Kennedy and her people. Kennedy is searching for that same vindication, to prove to this man she has just met that her people are worthy of their trust. And that she is worthy of his.
They both believe that a relationship between them is impossible – even as they give into the temptation to taste what they cannot have. Or so they believe.
Not all quests are successful – and they never reach success easily. So even though Knightmaster comes to a close with hope for Ashtin and Kennedy’s personal future, everyone’s hope for the knightqueen’s rescue hangs in the balance.
The search continues, but Ashtin has responsibilities on Oronis in the knightqueen’s continued absence. His best friend, and that friend’s most implacable enemy, will have to work together, however reluctantly, to bring their knightqueen home. If they don’t kill each other first.
We’ll all see what happens in the second book in the Oronis Knights series, coming in July.