This is my review of all Toni Sweeney’s novels: Toni Sweeney writes the most original books I’ve ever read. This author’s imagination outstrips most writers by the circumference of a whole planet. No novel ever disappoints. Others say:
“I can honestly say that I totally fell in love with these two characters…I totally recommend this book. I did not just like it I loved it and it was Sinbad and Andi that made me want to keep reading.”
–Linda Tonis, Paranormal Romance Review Team
“This is a must read for anyone that likes the Fantasy genre.”
–Raven, Reviewing Vixens
“ I highly recommend this entire series.”
–Merrylee, Two Lips reviews
It’s been over a dozen years since I wrote a story about a Navajo woman whose husband was accused of being a spy, and the halfbreed smuggler she hired to find that husband and prove his innocence. It was to be a one-shot story, a single novel, and then I was going on to something else.
Although the novel was released as an audio book (as The Last Voyage of Sinbad Singh) in 2000, I still wanted to see it in print. The ending practically begged for answers to the questions…You’re just going to leave it like that? What happened next? So while I was struggling to get Sinbad’s Last Voyage (its original title) published in paperback, I decided to write the answer. Sinbad’s Wife was the result, a tale in which Andrea Talltrees suffers more angst and trauma than a soap opera heroine before being reunited with her beloved Felidan. A good many reviewers questioned the things happening to her, but—hey!—it’s fiction and it’s sci-fi, so who’s to say it wouldn’t, or couldn’t, happen that way?
In the meantime, in 2008, Double Dragon Publishing accepted Sinbad’s Last Voyage and The Adventures of Sinbad series was off and running—or flying as the case may be. Like eating peanuts, however, I couldn’t stop at just one or two. Oh no…I had to write a third, Sinbad’s Pride, a slight play on words, meaning both the Felidan social unit, as well as the hero’s smug belief in his own ability to “get around” the Federation. Sinbad’s Triumph followed in which Sin, with the aid of microsurgery and computer implants, overcame the physical handicap left him in the previous book after he crashed his ship into a mountain during a dogfight with a rival smuggler.
During all these tales, the children he and Andi produce (and there are quite a few of them because Felidans are notoriously potent—they aren’t called one of the three most sexually aggressive species in the galaxy for nothing), as well as his illegitimate son Adam, and Andi’s children with her former husband, the deadly Tran, are growing up and getting into their own forms of trouble. Their adventures, some good, some bad, one terminal, are interspersed throughout Sin’s story.
Now comes Sinbad’s War. Sin met Andi during one war, now they’re together during another. The Terro-Albegensi War brought them together. The Terro-Severani War will pull them apart because this time…there’s a more personal involvement…
Sinbad sh’en Singh, smuggler-turned-shipping magnate, has become quite the family man, knee-deep in sons, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, complacent in his quiet but profitable life—and then a Federation emissary arrives, announcing the Fed is once more at war, and he’s been sent to obtain sh’en Singh Shipping’s Darters for its nearly destroyed fleet.
Not surprisingly, he’s refused, until Felida itself is attacked and there are casualties in Sin’s own family, among them his beloved Andi and new daughter Milagra.
The whole universe is about to discover there is nothing quite so dangerous as a Felidian who’s lost his mate.
But wait!—there’s more. Sin’s a grandfather now, too old to enlist, or so his sons think. The Old Man proves them wrong. Pulling a few strings, he’s out there in the Front Lines, flying a Darter and fighting alongside his cubs, getting his revenge against the planet who took his mate and youngest child from him.
There are forces at work none of the sh’en Singhs know about, however, and the results of that war are both good and bad…for Sin, and for his sons…
New characters are introduced and some old ones brought back, and yes, there’s a Happily For Now…don’t ask how, just read the book.
Sin raced down the cobbled path to the junction and the walkway to the Pride House, speeding across it to Kas’ front door. The house was undamaged, the door shut but unlocked. He pushed it open, stopping in the foyer.
No answer. Turning, he left the house and ran up the hill. He could see the Pride House silhouetted against the mid-morning sky, dark clouds billowing from the roof. His legs stiffened and went numb, refusing to work. Sin fell, sprawling face down among the stones. For a moment, he lay there struggling futilely, once again cursing Tsan-Hsi for causing the wreck taking from him the power to move by himself.
The doctors had warned him he shouldn’t get over-excited. Any too-quick movement, such as the frantic motions he was now making, caused a confusion in transmission, scrambling the impulses the microcircuits sent out. Mind and body had to work in coordination and at the moment, they weren’t doing that.
I can’t help it. Nothing had ever made him feel as he did now, not even those death-facing rushes when he was smuggling. He’d never had such a gut-wrenching wash of emotion as he did at that moment, as if his entire body were being ripped apart inside. It was fear, pure and simple, not for himself, he’d never felt that…but for his mate and his cubs, somewhere in the burning building above him.
Taking a deep breath, Sin forced himself to relax. When he tried to move his right leg, it slid easily beneath him, bending to push himself upright. This time, as he ran toward the gate, his movements were smooth and effortless.
Part of the wall was gone, a pile of stone and mortar in its place. As he went through the arch, still upright though the gate now lay in the courtyard, he could see a section of the roof was on fire. The front door had been knocked off its hinges. For a moment, a buried memory flared in his mind. The day the soldiers took Da away, they broke down the door. For a moment, the devastation of that day overlaid itself on what he now felt. That had been the first and last time the Pride House had been breeched…until now.
Sin climbed over it into the foyer, staring around at what had been only a few moments before a beautifully decorated reception room. The blue-tiled floor was covered with dust and debris. One of the white columns lay on the floor broken in three pieces. One outer wall was aflame, collapsing and sending a shower of sparks and smoke upward as the fire beneath it was smothered. Near the stairs leading to the landing lay a body struggling to sit up.
“Allan?” Sin ran to his brother, kneeling to roll him over.
“God, Andrew.” Allan groaned and put one hand to his head. “What happened?”
“The Severanis attacked us. Is everyone all right?”
“I don’t know.” Allan sat up. With Sin’s help, he got to his feet.
“Where is everybody?”
“The wine celler.”
There was noise coming from that direction. Sin looked up as four servants led by Ana appeared. Behind them, he could see the four young D’Vahn guards attached to the Pride Chief’s household, Chandalay’s pale frightened face, brightening as she saw Allan, and the three children, Adirana and Sean, and Crys with his floss-pale hair. “Oh, Master Andrew…” Ana began tearfully.
“It’s all right, Ana. Where’s the Mistress?” He looked over their heads, searching the doorway for Andi. Why isn’t she here? “Where’s Andi?”
“Master Andrew, she’s not here.”
“Where is she?” His voice rose.
Allan put a hand on his shoulder. “When we heard the siren, I got everyone to the wine cellar. Andi started upstairs to get the baby. I went after her and then…everything exploded.”
“You mean…” Sin pulled away, running up the three steps to the landing. The door leading to the bedrooms was blocked, a jumble of broken stone and charred beams wedged in the opening, others thrown into the hallway when the roof collapsed. He refused to believe the truth of what he was seeing. Andi was somewhere in there. Had she’d gotten to Milagra? Was she holding the baby in her arms when the deadly bolt of light exploded the roof?
He caught at a beam, wrenching it from the rest. Several small pieces of marble rolled out, releasing a cloud of dust. Sin dropped the burned beam, staring at the mass of wood and stone.
“Andi. Andi…no, NO.” His voice rose in a cat’s-scream of grief. “Allan.” He looked at his brother. “Help me!” He began to fling pieces of marble and granite onto the floor.
“Andrew.” Allan scrambled over the rubble. “Andrew, it’s no use.”
“She’s trapped. We’ve got to get her out. Milagra!” He was ranting, seized another marble slab, heaving it free. “Damn it, Allan, help me!”
“Andrew, stop it.” Allan caught his wrists, shoving him against the wall. “They’re gone. No one could be alive in that.”
Hands raised to toss the marble, Sin turned to look at him. Allan’s grasp tightened on his wrists. There was no sound in the foyer except Sin’s harsh, heavy breathing. The servants were staring at him in horror and disbelief.
“For God’s sake,” Allan hissed. “Control yourself. Don’t break down before the Adz-Bahni.”
A kh’ta may mourn the loss of a mate. It’s permitted. He told Andi that when she cried for Tran and apologized for showing such a Terran weakness. Taking a deep breath, Sin looked past his brother to the little group at the foot of the stairs. The slab slipped from his fingers, crashing to the floor. A marble chip broke, struck his boot, bounced and lay against the tile. He looked down at it and back at Allan.
“You’re right…always right…sensible Allan.” The words were rushed and breathy. “Da would’ve been proud of you.”
Allan released him. There was movement in the doorway, Adam and Nils Van Lewen appearing. Adam ran up the steps.
“Pa?” He turned to Allan. “Uncle Allan?” His gazed swept the little group. “Where’s Andi and Milagra?”
“T-they were upstairs,” Chandra whispered.
“No.” Adam also turned to stare at the doorway.
“I’ll get my men,” Nils said. “We’ll help you clear away…”
“Don’t.” Sin’s harsh whisper silenced him. “I don’t want it touched.”
Chandra came up the stairs to Allan’s side. She leaned against him, pressing her face against his shoulder. Allan put his arm around her.
“The Pride House has stood for seven hundred years. In ten minutes it’s been destroyed.” Allan’s words were soft, but bitter. “It’ll take forever to rebuild.”
“We aren’t going to rebuild,” Sin told him. “Everything stays as it is. We’ll move into Grandsire’s part of the House.” He closed his eyes. God, Andi, how can I survive without you? “I never want to set foot in this side of the House sh’en Singh again.”
Sinbad’s War is available from Double Dragon Press.
Find Toni at: http://tonivsweeney.com
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