Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Games Of Command by Linnea Sinclair

The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten – and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship’s sick bay – and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn – Sass’s efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart – and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings … for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for – and everything they now have to live for.

My first Linnea Sinclair book and oh my … what a sensational read it was! I was awed. Any words I may have will not come close to describing the magnificence of this tale, so I will keep my comments simple.

Although this story is categorized as “Romance”, I’m more inclined to think of it primarily as a space adventure. Think Star Wars/Star Trek and you get the idea. There are lots (and I do mean LOTS) of sci-fi jargon, which can be confounding, but I loved every bit of it. *grin* Hey, what can I say … I’m a Star Wars kind of girl.

The non-stop adventure starts right from the beginning and never lets up. No mean feat, that … as this story is 525 pages long! The plotting is tight and the prose very readable (considering the countless sci-fi terminologies). There are many interesting plot elements which weave together seamlessly and coherently - they all testify to the author’s brilliant vision, imagination and writing skills.

There are two love stories here – the primary one between Sass and Branden; the secondary between Eden and Jace.

Sass and Branden are such wonderfully well-developed characters … especially Branden, who is a biocybe (half human, half machine). He isn’t supposed to be able to feel emotions, but he somehow does, and he bears an unrequited love for Sass for twelve long years. He melts my heart for many reasons, but the most significant one are his secret love letters to Sass, to be delivered to her upon his death, which he started writing right after their first meeting. I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed some tears over his impossibly simple yet heart-wrenching declaration of love and devotion. Sass is equal parts sassiness, intelligence, inventiveness, bravery, vulnerability and likeability. She is a worthy heroine – worthy of Branden and worthy of this magnificent story. Enough said.

Eden and Jace are less vivid, which is understandable, as they are the secondary (but vital) characters. They play a huge role in bringing this story together. Their love story is at once tender and heartfelt.

Sass and Eden each owns a pet – furzels they are called – that I imagined look somewhat like plump long-haired cats. They are vital characters in this story too – adorable, smart, funny. I want one too. *grin* (I look at my cat Furball, and I think perhaps he can be a pseudo-furzel – his chubbiness certainly qualifies him. LOL)

This is one big thrilling space ride. If you are a Star Wars/Star Trek fan, please, don’t miss this.

5 out of 5. I love it. It's phenomenal - in a class by itself. Sensuality: Warm

P. S. When I was halfway into the book, I went out and bought Gabriel’s Ghost, which was recommended by Katie(babs). I can’t wait to read it.


Linnea Sinclair said...

Well, goodness me, Jace. Thanks for the great blog posting about GAMES OF COMMAND. For a moment I thought (given your name as Jace) one of my characters had come to life...to haunt me. ;-)

If you want a little more of Kel-Paten, there are links on my site to some old short stories he appeared in, as well as some deleted scenes (yeah, GAMES is a doorstop, as one reviewer noted. Keep in mind it topped out at 127,000 words but was originally about 300,000...)

I hope you enjoy GABRIEL'S GHOST. SHADES OF DARK (book #2) will be out in July.

Thanks again! ~Linnea

Jace said...

Linnea, I'm honoured that you took the time to drop by and leave your comments! I was at your website just now but couldn't stay as long as I really wanted to ... I'll definitely go back for more! I saw Tank and he was just as I imagined him to be. LOL

I don't think I'll ever get enough of Kel-Paten *grin* so yes, I'll gleefully read the short stories and deleted scenes. Thanks!

I don't know how you do it - given the epic-like scale of this story - keeping everything flowing coherently, then tying up the end neatly. I just know I've enjoyed the experience tremendously! You've just gained a new fan for sure.

As for the name ... yes, it's quite a coincidence, isn't it? *grin* As your Jace is a man, and a rascal space pirate at that, I was able to keep my sense of identity. LOL

I hope to read Gabriel's Ghost soon, and will keep a look out for Shades Of Dark.

Please keep writing, and may your imagination never dim.

Kristie (J) said...

Isn't this one wonderful?!? It blew me away when I read it too. I adored Kel-Paten and he was the one I voted for best Hero at AAR - as well as GoC for best SF, Fantasy, or Futuristic Romance. I too found his letters to Sass heartbreaking. Gabriel's Ghost is equally wonderful and I'm waiting with bated breath for the sequel.

Brie said...

Wow Jace, it sounds like a really great book. I'll have to remember to put this in my amazon cart.

(?) Is this book a stand alone or part of a series?

Jace said...

Kristie, I'm so glad I listened to you and Katie regarding this book! :D It's awesome!

Oh, the AAR Poll is driving me nuts (but in a good way *grin*)!!! I haven't finalize my list yet! This book definitely gets my vote for the best Sci-Fi/Futuristic (sorry, Driven). As for Best Hero, I'm quite adamant that Simon Iddesleigh should get the vote ... I simply adore that man! *grin* But Branden Kel-Paten is a serious contender for Most Tortured Hero ... what do you think? *wink*

Kristie (J) said...

Jace: Most tortured is always good ;) It is hard isn't it - to come up with the best in everything. And Simon is a good choice for favourite hero too! I had a real tough time in some categories - some books were sooooo gooooodd. And Brie - this one is a stand alone.

Jace said...

Brie, yes, this is a phenomenal book ... if you like sci-fi/futuristic stories. If you don't, the sci-fi elements and terminologies will be too much, I think. It's more Star Trek than Star Wars, just so you'll have a better idea.

The love stories are beautifully done. Branden Kel-Paten is a to-die-for hero. *grin*

I think this is a stand-alone book, though I can't guarantee it *wink* as I'm a Sinclair newbie myself. I'm going to do more research at her website later.

I'm also asking my bookstore to order in Finders Keepers and Accidental Goddess for me.

Linnea Sinclair said...

I'm tickled you all are talking about GAMES OF COMMAND. Thanks so much for your kind words! Yep, GAMES is a stand-alone **at this juncture.** I have to qualify that because up until this year, I've not done series or sequels at all. But this year, Bantam is becoming more open, so GABRIEL'S GHOST will have one immediate sequel (SHADES OF DARK) and then a spin-off book (HOPE'S FOLLY) and another after that.

I'd like to revisit Sass and Branden but the reality is, sales figures determine what I do, to some extent.

GAMES was an odd book because it was never meant to be a published book. It was a series of emailed adventures I created for a dear friend going through a nasty divorce. Yep, Doc Eden is a real person, as you might have figured out if you read the dedication. I'm amazed how many readers have responded so positively to the tale and the characters.

Doc Eden is obviously my friend Janie. I have no clue who Sass is. ::raises eyes to ceiling and looks innocent::

Thanks for any votes in the AAR poll! Things like that mean a lot to my publisher (yes, they DO notice poll placements and award wins).

Hugs, ~Linnea in thundering Florida

Jace said...

Linnea, I read this book with 2 reading buddies, and all 3 of us rated this book 5 out of 5. *grin* It's not just me who's in awe. LOL We've been discussing this book in our private forum and we're looking forward to reading Gabriel's Ghost next.

What I want to know is ... who was your inspiration for Kel-Paten? *grin* I spent some time at your website today and saw the pic of Kel-Paten meeting Reilly for the 1st time. LOL (The story was funny!) I thought he looked a little like Keanu Reeves. LOL

Linnea, there's a little ambiguity that I hope you can clear up, regarding Kel-Paten and Ralland being brothers. I think Ralland is fully human? If he is, why was only Kel-Paten singled out to be a biocybe?

From the deleted scenes on your website, I read that Kel-Paten was bred in a lab and then experimented on. Ralland came from a human family. I guess this doesn't apply any more (for the book)? I tried to reconcile this fact with their being brothers in the book, and became more confused. *sheepish grin*

Kristie (J) said...

Since Linnea - you have been visiting here - I'd like to add that I too would love to see a sequel to Games of Command. It's interesting that this is a real cross-over book. All your books are shelved under SciFi at the book store I frequent - yet they are also wonderful romances too!

Linnea Sinclair said...

Jace, the concept of 'brother' between Rall and Branden is a genetic one, not familial. They share the share genetic father. Think: sperm bank. ;-)

Branden was part of an experiment, yep. PATEN is PA-10. He was the 10th embryo. The others--as far as Sass has heard--died at various stages of life. He was the only one to reach adulthood.

Based on what Sass knows.


Jace Serafino (your, uh, namesake) knows a bit more, or believes he does.

I'm sure UCID knows a LOT more but that's deep intelligence and on a need to know basis. Captain Sebastian has no need to know. She's heard rumors as lots of others have.

Who did I model Kel-Paten after? Well, since I've 'known' him for almost 20 years, not Keanu Reeves but yeah, an older Keanu Reeves might not be a bad image model. Back then... a younger Tom Selleck? I didn't really have one image. Tall, dark, handsome, and forboding? I think Stephen Youll's original cover has him really well (minus the longer hair). The new cover, not at all.

Does that help? :-) ~Linnea

Linnea Sinclair said...

Kristie, my books have all been shelved in the SF sections to date. This summer, with SHADES OF DARK, I'm supposed to be switched over to the romance shelves. You might notice that GAMES has 'romance' on the spine under the Bantam Dell logo. The 'switch' was supposed to start with GAMES but didn't. I'm told it WILL happen with SHADES.

It's more than just placement although honestly, yes, romance readers buy more books than any other genre reader. It has to do with incentives each bookstore offers. When a book is 'sold' to the chain books stores, the shelving determines which 'buyer' buys it. The SF buyer--who has a promo budget--buys the books shelved in SF. The romance buyer--who also has a promo budget--buys those for the romance shelves. They're almost like different divisions in a company. The romance buyer simply has more budget and promo ops because romance is 54% of all paperbacks sold (or some similar number). SF is about 7%.

Now many individual store managers (not buyers, who work at the regional corporate level) hand-shelve my books in both aisles. Many who know my books may put one or two in SF, buyer-designation not withstanding. But the 'incentives' comem from corporate, and that's what I'm hoping for.

Make sense?

Sequel--again, Bantam is just starting to be open to that from me. My next two books under contract (out in 2009) are for Gabriel's Ghost follow-ups. So it would be likely 2011 or later if I did a sequel to GAMES.

I was doing 3-4 books a year but my health couldn't take it. I'm down to two at the moment. Plus Bantam schedules things months (MONTHS) in advance. A book may be done but they don't have a slot open until a year later.


Jace said...

Jace, the concept of 'brother' between Rall and Branden is a genetic one, not familial. They share the share genetic father. Think: sperm bank. ;-)

Oh, but of course! Why didn't I see it before?! My poor confused mind thanks you for clearing that up, Linnea. *grin*

Now many individual store managers (not buyers, who work at the regional corporate level) hand-shelve my books in both aisles. Many who know my books may put one or two in SF, buyer-designation not withstanding.

That explains why I found GoC and Zombie Blues shelved in Romance, and Gabriel's Ghost in Sci-Fi. I guess this shelving standard applies, from US all the way to Malaysia. *grin*

Linnea Sinclair said...

Both ZOMBIE and GAMES has "romance" on the spine but were sold to the SF divisions of the bookstores. Technically they should all be in the SF aisles until the summer, with the re-issues. But yep, some managers know my work and they put me in romance because I have a large number of romance readers AND SF readers.

Hey, I'm two for the price of one! ;-)

Malaysia? Wow. I'm in Florida, USA. Do you know that author Susan Grant (also writes SFR like I do but for HQN) flies trans-Pacific for United Air Lines as Captain Susan Grant? ~Linnea

Jace said...

Hey, I'm two for the price of one! ;-)

And I, for one, am so glad for it. *grin* I'm still not over how heartbroken Kel-Paten (or was it you) made me feel! LOL

Do you know that author Susan Grant (also writes SFR like I do but for HQN) flies trans-Pacific for United Air Lines as Captain Susan Grant?

How cool is that?! I bet she gets lots of inspiration for her stories while flying her planes. *grin*

There's another question that's been niggling at the back of my mind. I hope you won't mind my picking your brains a little. *grin* Do you get some kind of sales statistics for your books sold outside of USA? Do you know exactly in what countries your books are sold, and how many are sold there?

My reading buddies and I wondered about this on several occasions. See ... 3 of us live outside of USA - 1 in South Pacific, 1 in Austria/Switzerland and then there's me in Malaysia. We've always wondered if authors knew how many fans they have worldwide. *grin*

Linnea Sinclair said...

I only get total sales, Jace. No breakdowns at all except by quarter. Would LOVE to know where and all, but nope. No clue.

Some authors DO get that info. Some get the breakdown by country AND by chain store (ie: Barnes & Noble, etc). Bantam doesn't supply that. Wish they did!

All good questions, BTW. I don't mind them at all. ;-) ~Linnea

Jace said...

Linnea, thank you so much for indulging my curiousity. You're a gem. *grin*

Jam said...
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