01/07/2009. Contributed by Kelly Jensen
pub: Baen Books. 400 page hardback. Price: £14.44 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-41655-514-8 reprint edition. 592 page paperback, Price: $ 7.99 (US). ISBN: 978-141659-158-0.
check out website: www.baen.com
The thirteenth instalment of the award-winning 'Skolian Empire' series, 'The Ruby Dice' features Kelric, Imperator Skolia and Jabriol, Emperor of the Eubian Concord. Both want peace, but neither trust each other. Their cultures are at odds with one another.
The Aristos of the Eubian Concord 'use' psions as the worst kind of slaves. The Ruby Dynasty that rules the Skolian Empire produces the strongest psions. With a history of bloodshed and war, it seems impossible that these two men could have anything in common. But both have secrets, deep and long held - secrets that could not only unite but destroy them.
The first half of the book sequences events such that you discover the strengths and weaknesses of Kelric and Jabriol. Then the plot contrives to bring them in close proximity to one another in unexpected ways - the result being the conclusion of the novel. The final pages make for gripping reading as every character grapples to make the 'right' decision. I finally put the book aside with a lump in my throat and a tear in each eye.
'The Ruby Dice' is tensely plotted and lushly written. If you are not familiar with the 'Skolian Empire' novels, have no fear and jump right in! Asaro does a wonderful job of filling in background details of her characters lives, not only enriching their story and development, but further enticing you to go back and read ALL the 'Skolian Empire' novels.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA