02/03/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Bantam Books. 424 page paperback. Price: $ 6.99 (US). ISBN: 978-0-553-59218-4.
check out websites: www.bantamdell.com and www.linneasinclair.com
'Hope's Folly' is set in the reality author Linnea Sinclair created for her stories 'Gabriel's Ghost' and 'Shades Of Dark'. This time the action has moved away from Chaz Bergren and Gabriel Sullivan and over to Admiral Philip Guthrie who needs to get his ragtag derelict cruiser 'Hope's Folly to a re-fit station while evading the Empire who wants his life.
In his crew is bodyguard/security officer Rya Bennton, the now adult daughter of his late best friend and first commander who died under his command. Interspersed in all of this looking for traitors on-board ship and the inevitable romance developing between Guthrie and Rya seen from each other's perspectives.
Space opera with a love twist might be the best way to describe the plot. Oddly, the story doesn't get too cloying and Sinclair balances out the action with the odd romance. Obviously, the concern from Guthrie is he's much older although at about twenty years older and bear in mind how we see relationships in our current reality being double or more these days, its amazing that this would be a problem in the future.
Rya sees it more as fulfilling a childhood romance combined with her training to protect her boss. Both of them try to keep duty above romantic inclination. The military aspect of this is somewhat diluted but as neither are really in the proper forces there, I doubt that should have made much difference.
If there is any weakness its in making the secondary characters well...so secondary. There's enough there to establish them when required but they end up being less integrated to the overall story. Sinclair has a feel for the spaceship where most of the activities go on so you roadmap it in your head.
Whether or not this will attract Romance genre readers to sample Science Fiction and vice versa is hard to say. The fact that Sinclair has seven books under her belt now must establish that there is a market being satisfied. Although I would hardly call this great Science Fiction as it uses the trappings without being an overtly challenging read, it is certainly entertaining. If Sinclair is to garner the more hardcore SF fans then it might be an idea for Bantam to let her loose on SF without so much romance to prove she can do it before she gets too settled in this form of book.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA