Chasidah "Chaz" Bergren was on her way up the ladder of the Federated Fleet. She was captain of her own ship and well respected by those under her command as well as her superiors. Or so she thought. When Chaz was accused of ignoring orders which led to the deaths of fourteen of her crew, she couldn't believe it. She was stunned during her trial when her friends deserted her and data was created to convict her. Condemned to spend the rest of her life on the prison planet, Moabar, Chaz has her hands full just trying to stay alive. When Gabriel "Sully" Sullivan shows up to rescue her, Chaz is stunned. He supposedly died two years ago. And why did he want to rescue her, anyway? It is true that both of them enjoyed sparring verbally and there was an undeniable physical attraction, but they had always been on opposite sides of the fence: she a Fleet captain, he a smuggler out stealing whatever he could whenever he could. Still, going anywhere with Sully had to be better than staying on Moabar.
Chaz reluctantly agrees to help Sully track down an illegal jukor lab on Marker, her home planet where her older brother still runs the shipping yards. She doesn't quite believe Sully when he insists that the Federation is breeding jukors there. After all, the Federation had cancelled the jukor project years ago, hadn't they? Who would be stupid enough to keep created animals that could not be controlled and were extremely difficult to kill?
It soon becomes obvious to Chaz that Sully is right - there is a jukor lab on Marker and another lab is being built on a space ship somewhere. Gradually Sully wins Chaz' trust and they are close to becoming involved when Chaz discovers that Sully is a powerful empath/telepath and can change people's thoughts, read minds and kill with the power of his mind alone. The whole Federation has been educated to hate and fear the Solorths because they have this power, but Chaz never expected to encounter a human who wields power like a Stolorth.
How can Chaz trust Sully when he swears that he has not tricked her into going along with his plans? He has already altered a memory and invaded her mind when he wanted to gain information about her ex-husband. However, Chaz soon realizes that Sully hates and fears what he is, too. He fears that he will never gain acceptance from anyone, especially Chaz, whom he has loved for years and years. Little by little, Sully opens up to Chaz and tries to show her that he is not the monster that the universe thinks he is and little by little Chaz comes to believe him, but how much of the truth can Chaz take? How much is love willing to overlook and accept? As Sully and Chaz try to sort out their feelings and fears, they realize that the jukor conspiracy reaches up much higher than they hoped - all the way to the leaders of the Federation itself...
This is the first book that I have read by Megan Sybil Baker and she is now up there at the top with my other favorite authors. This book was simply amazing. It had a very engrossing plotline with a lot of details about the technologically advanced futuristic world that Sully and Chaz live in. Religion, politics, military, you name it, it was discussed and figured into the plot. The world was very real and I loved Baker's characters. Sully was a gorgeous, tortured, dark hero who desperately needed someone to love him despite who and what he was. Chaz was a strong female character, but not obnoxious and not too independent to want to have friends and a special someone she could lean on. The supporting characters included people from all races and types including Ren, a blind Stolorth who was forced to hide from his people or he would be killed; the giant, hairy takas, who were raping and killing human women in retaliation for the federation experimenting on their women; Philip, Chaz' ex-husband, who still loves her and yet cannot change his rigid Fleet training to win her back; Sister Berri, a very devout, almost insane priestess who believes she is on a holy quest, and many, many more. The romance between Sully and Chaz was a wonderful subplot and handled so well by Baker, I was truly impressed.
This report prepared by Debbie
LTD Books, Apr 2002
In the far distant future, Earth is part of the Galactic Empire; a confederation encompassing many worlds and many species, some humanoid and some not, though all are sentient. As captain of an interstellar patrol ship, Chaz Bergren was proud to serve the empire until the day she was court-martialed for failing to obey instructions she claims she never received.
She was sentenced to life imprisonment on the penal planet Moabar and was without hope until Sully, a mercenary she tangled with over the years, rescued her. He needs her expertise as a pilot and her knowledge of the workings of the empire to see if any forbidden genetic engineering experiments are taking place and if they are, stop them using any means at their disposable. As Chaz and Sully work together, the pair falls in love. Even when Chaz learns some things about Sully that the empire taught were taboo and frightening, their feelings are strong enough to overcome the empire's prejudice.
GABRIEL'S GHOST is an excellent science fiction romance that will remind readers of Anne McCaffrey's “Freedom” series. Megan Sybil Baker is a fresh new voice in the sub-genre and she brings fresh ideas to the novel. Chaz and Sully's adventures continue in the author's next book and it will be great to be reunited with these idealistic, realistic and colorful characters. There is a secondary character in this novel, a humanoid with gills, who deserves to have his own story told because he is such a complex and admirable character.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner