Catherine Asaro

Tor Books / 304 pages / Reprint edition (October 1, 2004)

ISBN: 0765378906

What do you do when you find out about a critically acclaimed and wildly popular series when it’s already on…say…volume 5 and it seems like you’ll never be able to jump in there and catch up? Hope for a prequel novel. If you’ve been dying to get started on Catherine Asaro’s Skolian Empire books, Skyfall may be the best news you’ve gotten in a long time. Asaro has used this beautifully balanced little novel to take readers back in time — long before The Quantum Rose, Catch The Lightning, and The Radiant Seas, just to name a few.

Skyfall gets started with a bloodrush and never slackens the pace a notch. Roca Skolian is on the run and determined not to be found until she is ready. Her son Kurj plans to force a vote in Assembly to declare war on the sickeningly cruel Aristos, but to get the votes he needs, he must find Roca and hide her away so that she cannot oppose him. Determined to stay out of his control, Roca travels to a distant planet where she is unknown and she can catch a last minute ship to the Assembly.

Already pretty taut, isn’t it?

But, neither Roca nor Kurj reckoned on Eldri, the Bard of Dalvador. Smitten with the alien Roca, he seizes her and carries her away to his castle, heedless of her insistence that she must catch an incoming ship. Eldri’s confidence that he can return her to the primitive port is literally snowed under when a lethal blizzard blocks the path to the landing site. While Roca frets (and with good reason) over the needless war that is imminent, she and Eldri fall deeper in love even as more immediate problems become apparent.

Not many authors are able to mix up such an emotional and dangerous blend with genuine science fiction, but Asaro handles it with ease. Every character is complex and compelling, whatever their personality, because this is a tale of conflict, suffering, fear, and love. If the love appears to sometimes take on the appearance of hate, remember: these are powerful people in a time of turbulence. And devotion has many conflicting faces even at the best of times.

What Roca finds on the forgotten planet of Lyshriol is destined to shake the Skolian Empire to its ancient foundations. Should she ever be reunited with her “unique” family, the reaction may make the impending war pale in comparison. Roca is not coming back alone.

Move with the impulsiveness and confidence of Eldri and jump right into this story. It’s the perfect hook to get readers caught up in the Skolian Empire saga. Enjoy the non-stop action, adventure, and danger in Skyfall and then see if you can say no to the rest of the series.