This is a great book with a lousy title. Well, not lousy precisely but it does give the wrong impression of the book. This is an action based science fiction romance written by one of my favorite authors. It’s got space pirates [both good and bad], psychics with varied gifts, a death cult with the fast track on destroying the universe, and an outstanding cast of characters [again, both good and bad.]
The hero is Pyr, captain of the spaceship Raptor, widely known as a ruthless pirate, and as he [and we] find out in the first chapter, dying. A suitably alpha male he has things to accomplish before that happens, specifically he needs to track down a missing crew member. He doesn’t have time to look for a Healer but rushes to capture one when he stumbles across her.
The heroine is Roxanne, a uniquely gifted Physician and Healer. She trained hard to become a Physician with all the medical knowledge of the United Systems at her fingertips but she was born a Healer – a gift from her Koltiri mother. Healers use their own psychic powers to heal – but those powers are limited by the personal stamina of the Healer. As both Physician and Healer, Roxanne is called away from her ship to help fight the Sagouran plague which seems incurable and is burning its way through whole planetary populations.
He’s determined to find the missing crew member, she’s determined to find a cure for the Sagouran plague. The hero and heroine come together while fighting their backgrounds, the bond and each other.
Is there sex? Sure – but not detailed and a lot of it is mental maneuvering before sealing what the author calls a ‘shalsae’ bond which ties the bonded together soul to soul. Even more there is love in many forms between Roxanne and Pyr and their crewmates and kin.
Is there action? Lots! There’s the destroying the pirate base and rescuing the missing crew member; closely followed by the whole ‘save the universe’ gig.
I’d say if you like Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Liaden books, or Linnea Sinclair’s books – you’ll find this a satisfying read.
Sadly this a stand-alone novel. However she has written another futuristic SF novel called Dark Stranger in the Vampire Primes series [or the Vampire Book Club series, depends where you look]. There is also a short story related to Dark Stranger called By Sun and Candlelight [currently only available as an ebook].