Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sikaran Shield Lord
Reverend Joanna Z. Ray
ISBN: 1 85821 878 0
224 pages (including front and back matter)
Sikaran Shield Lord, by Reverend Joanna Ray, is a fascinating novel that relates the adventures of 22 alien Sikaran mercenaries who belonged to the Isithan—warriors who trained for the military early, had leadership qualities, displayed courage and were willing to live by a strict code. Passing the initiation and becoming a member of this “Brotherhood of the Sword” was a long, difficult challenge that many failed to meet.
The presentation of the storyline to readers is via the notes, diaries, and logs of the various characters. Ultimately, the individual writings reveal a sequence of events that link the present and past, a skilled approach that keeps readers turning the pages with questions and anticipation. The main plot involves the Sikaran aliens intermingling with humans as they travel across the galaxy to the Naiobi colonies in order to provide them with security. The Sikaran mercenaries spend ten months on the McBride, a grain vessel, adapted for war, where new friendships are formed between the aliens and humans; however, there are negative experiences as well as positive ones in which readers will see a wide range of emotions from both groups.
As the plot unravels, readers will be held captive by the colorful characters and the ability of the author to breathe life into them through vivid description and realistic dialog. My favorite character is definitely the alien called Shield Lord Marayshan, a strong, handsome warrior who speaks what he thinks and seems to be the best at whatever he is involved in—including the martial arts. All the alien mercenaries are experts in this field, but only Marayshan has the added ability to tell jokes that nearly everyone finds entertaining. He wins others over quickly by his display of both courage and humor. Through a type of flashback, the author provides background information about Marayshan’s younger years as well as the same for his best friends, Nava and Avernyi.
For the romantics, there is a powerful love scene between Marayshan and Triatha whom he rescued years earlier at the Gloshan Camp. Though he still loved his deceased wife, Triatha was very special to him as evidenced by their time together. As mercenaries whose people had signed a treaty with the Gloshans, the aliens were required to fight for them. But we also see the frustration of this Brotherhood as they witness the horrific treatment and torture of the prisoners. They wanted to help them but were bound by a contract; however, the passage of time changed the situation and the alien mercenaries changed sides.
When the aliens join the police force at the Naiobi colonies, they are there to help the humans who live there, moving forward from the past when they were on opposite sides in the Sikaran-Interspace wars. Marayshan is now the governor of the colonies, and the adventures he and his friends experience there with humans will continue to entertain and intrigue readers.
After finishing this book, I am convinced that individuals will be eager to read the sequel entitled “One of the Good Guys.” In the meantime, I highly recommend this book.
Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers
May 7, 2010