Charlotte Boyette-Compo

Dark Star Publications / 200 pages / July 1999

ISBN: 0966820932

Boyette-Compo’s fans are many and vocal. This powerful novel provides more than enough testimony to account for her loyal following. An erotic love story, a space opera, an account of corruption on a universal scale — Bloodwind is an enthralling read from the first paragraph.

A quick note here: I’m considerably less squeamish than most (don’t ask why), but torture is one activity that I simply cannot stomach. I won’t watch movies that contain torture and I prefer not to read about it. And Bloodwindis wall-to-wall torture. Only a very nice request could drag me in on these scenes. How lucky for me that the scenes are so graphic and vivid. Yay. This earns another NC-17 rating.

On to more pleasant things. Boyette-Compo has taken a familiar scenario and made it into something more gripping and realistic than any of its predecessors. A civilisation needs fertile women and takes a very direct route to obtaining them. Anything in the region of civil rights is out-the-door. The elaborate military machine charged with snatching the women appears an unstoppable force. The most lethal weapon in their arsenal is Kamarone Cree, the Iceman.

At first glance, Cree seem to be more machine than man — devoid of all emotions that might endanger his missions. Cree takes great satisfaction in the fear and horror he inspires in others. Love, empathy, and tenderness have been rigorously extracted in the training that began when he was a child. To some, he is the pride of the fighting forces. To those on the receiving end of his cold fury, he is a monster, as much bogeyman as soldier.

So how can it be that Cree is the subject of the sickening torture sessions that open Bloodwind? Well, not everyone holds Cree in such high esteem, and there is rebellion brewing on Frontier Station Khamsin-14 (FSK-14). Unfortunately for Cree, he is standing at ground-zero for the coming explosion.

One odd side-effect of the torture sessions is Cree’s fixation with one of the doctors. Cree, the feared Reaper, is not supposed to have anything so weak as an attachment to a woman. Somehow, you know right away that that isn’t going to stop him from getting what he wants. It’ll be the other things that come along with this obsession that you know will be the true torture.

Boyette-Compo builds a world that, alien is it may be, is almost photo-realistic in its depiction. Every character is vibrantly alive; even the most inhuman seems to have been modeled on an actual person. There is never a moment when
the reader feels a break with this created reality.

It’s a gripping, fast-paced thrill-ride. If all of Boyette-Compo’s books are this rivetting, you might want to start saving for a complete collection. You may never have been as emotionally involved in a book before. It’s a sensation you’ll want to experience again and again.