Rebels and Lovers
In my eyes, nobody does a better job at writing a fine science fiction romance than Linnea Sinclair. Her heroes and heroines are marvellous, strong characters, the tech talk is fun without being overwhelming, and the world-building with all its political implications captures me each and every time. Rebels and Lovers is the fourth installment in the Dock Five series, and it’s a very enjoyable read.
Devin Guthrie, an accountant and computer specialist, is brother to the Admiral Philip Guthrie who recently joined the rebellion and whose adventures were described in the earlier novels of the series. He may belong to one of the most powerful families in the Empire, but when his autocratic father calls him back to their home planet, he drops everything. He does try, however, to avoid the engagement his parents are urging him into. All plans go haywire when the Guthries are informed that Devin’s oldest nephew Trip has been kidnapped, his bodyguard murdered. While everyone else suspects the political leader who has recently usurped power, Devin wants to follow clues that suggest Trip left on his own account just before the kidnapping took place, and might be on his way to join Philip and the rebellion. Accompanied by the family butler Barthol, a former Imperial agent, Devin flies to station Dock Five.
It’s not Devin who first comes across Trip at Dock Five, however, it’s Captain Makaiden Griggs, a former Guthrie employee. Kaidee used to pilot Guthrie yachts, so she knows the family well, but she has no idea that Devin has loved her for years from afar, prevented from making a move by her seemingly happy marriage to another captain. Two years ago, Kaidee’s husband Kyler was fired for some shady dealings, and she left with him. What Devin does not know is that Kaidee filed for divorce soon after, that Kyler died and that she is now stuck with his debts, desperately trying to keep her freighter ship, her only valuable possession, from being seized. This is not made any easier by the new ruler’s heavy restrictions on travel, and Kaidee finds herself stuck on Dock Five when she comes across Trip. She manages to save him from being captured by some thugs, Devin and Barthol turn up, and together they must find a safe way off the station, back to a Guthrie ship.
As usual with a Sinclair novel, the action works just fine for me. Fights and chases alternate with claustrophobic scenes in basements or malfunctioninng spaceships, and funny scenes with gripping or romantic ones.
Devin is a love. He was honorable enough not to destroy a marriage, and accepting this, he tried to get on with his life. When he is reunited with Kaidee, he is ever so determined not to let her go without attempting to win her love. At the beginning of the book, he is a crack in his own fields but a bit unsure otherwise; it’s lovely to see him come into his own. Kaidee is a very strong character and immensely likeable, too. I especially enjoyed her strong sense of loyalty and her dry inner monologues. That said, the romance was not quite as moving as I have come to expect from Linnea Sinclair books. This may be because although Kaidee already likes and respects Devin a great deal, and even fantasizes about him a bit, it takes quite a while for her to see him as a real lover.
While I had great fun reading Rebels and Lovers, it did not quite grip me as much as many other Linnea Sinclair novels have done. Still it’s a book I recommend highly, though I should add it’s probably even more enjoyable if you read the other books in the series first.