Review of "Of Honor and Treason" by C.J. Merle
Publisher: Speculation Press
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0967197937
Rating: * * * 1/2 stars

The Yseret, the rulers of the Norda Homelands, wish to send their warriors to conquer the Human Lands. Zsar't'lac, the Qtesark, the genetic messiah of the Norda, refuses to lead the invasion, a decision his people cannot understand. To further the revolution his bearer is leading, Zsar't'lac decides to go to the Human Lands.

In the Klimar Empire, the emperor is trying to gain control of the Dorlan wealth by marrying the last living Dorlan to his daughter, though neither of them wish the joining. Eivaunee Dorlan walks a fine line with the emperor, forced to be cautious in case any of his actions might be construed as acts of treason.

The conflict between the emperor and the Dorlans in the Klimar Empire is introduced in the prologue. The emperor loved Eivaunee's mother, Omani, who killed herself after he raped her. Eivaunee's father is killed when his ship is sabotaged by an agent of the emperor.

In general, the characters are believable and sympathetic. The emperor does his best to remember Eivaunee as a child, though that does not stop him from plotting against him. Eivaunee, who hates everything about the emperor, maintains his family's allegiances as well as building his own. Zsar't'lac resists his mating urge to the Yseret while his would-be mate, Sing'm'li, does his best to support the decisions his lover has made.

While the story is very engaging, the alien race of the Hsassan is overwhelming at first. Many questions are raised that are not answered, the same questions that Eivaunee seems to have. The Qtesark is the genetic messiah of the Norda, but what that is is never defined. The Hsassan seem to have many traits that are only mentioned once that really do nothing to enhance the story. They feel as though they were added somewhat arbitrarily.

The Humans are stereotypically decadent in the Klimar Empire. Even Eivaunee, the Human protagonist, seems excessively reliant on money to solve problems and buy allies instead of using his obvious charm. After the
prologue, there doesn't seem to be much further or new conflict making that portion somewhat predictable.

Overall, the history of the universe and the various cultures have been developed in such depth that a sequel seems needed, perhaps even an entire series. The ending was somewhat disappointing considering the effort that went into creating this elaborate world. The names leave a bit to be desired as they are generally full of unpronounceable letter combinations. However, I found "Of Honor and Treason" to be an enjoyable novel and have recommended it to my closest friends.

--J. Anne Mauck-- Inscriptions Magazine

Inscriptions Magazine (Volume 4 Issue 35)
ISSN: 1522-3728