Title: Hope’s Folly
Author: Linnea Sinclair
Genre: SciFi Romance
Stand Alone/Series: third book in Linnea Sinclair’s Dock 5 series but it can be read as a stand alone. But really, you should read Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark because they are GOOD. Look into my eyes: you know you want to.
Summary: Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a ragtag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be if he can get his command ship—the derelict cruiser called Hope’s Folly—functioning. Not much can rattle Philip’s legendary cool—but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She’s the daughter of his best friend and first commander—a man who died while under Philip’s command and whose death is on Philip’s conscience.
Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly minted rebel leader, once she learns the truth about her father’s death? Or will her passion for revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It’s an impossible mission: A man who feels he can’t love. A woman who believes she’s unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.
Why did I read the book: It is by Linnea Sinclair one of my favourite writers who consistently deliver good, fun books.
Publication date: Hope’s Folly will be out in February 2009.
This is officially my first read of 2009 and I can safely say that the year starts with a bang!
Hope’s Folly is the third book in Linnea Sinclair’s Dock 5 series and it continues the story arc that begins in Gabriel’s Ghost where Darius Tage, former First Barrister turns Prime Commander of the Empire, becoming therefore the de facto ruler behind the weak façade of the Emperor. A rebellious Alliance is formed in an attempt to thwart Tage’s corrupt government.
The book picks up right where Shades of Dark left us off, with former Empire’s Fleet Admiral Philip Guthrie, still recovering from a serious leg injury, preparing himself to take his place as a Commander for the Alliance.
Now, Philip Guthrie. He first made an appearance in Gabriel’s Ghost, still working for the Fleet and for a moment appeared to be a serious contender for a villain – not only he was on the other side of the law from the two protagonists of that book, Chaz and Sully but he was also Chaz’s overbearing ex-husband and therefore potential wrench for that couple’s relationship. It was not until Shades of Dark when Philip finds himself fighting alongside Chaz against the Empire that he shows he is true hero material.
Being a member of one of the wealthiest families in the Empire, he has joined the military and worked his way up the ranks fuelled by his strong sense of duty and determination. Now stripped of his status, considered a traitor, his mission is to command the rebels and avenge the death of many of his comrades, including his former CO and friend Cory Bennton.
He is to be made Admiral once again as soon as he takes charge of his new ship: a derelict fruit carrier unfit for battle and that goes by the inappropriate name of Hope’s Folly. But “beggars can’t be choosers” and the Alliance has to make to do with what they can. His immediate concern is to take charge of Hope’ Folly and take it to Ferrin be re-fit as a military ship.
On his way to the shipyard though he is attacked by members of another rebellious faction that support Sheldon Blaine’s claim to the throne and who wish to capture Philip and trade him with Tage for Blaine who is kept at the prison world of Moabar. He is then helped in securing safe transfer to Hope’s Folly by Rya Bennton, former member of Imperial Fleet Security Forces and who is also on her way to join the rebels. They hit it off almost immediately given that they are both soldiers with a similar frame of mind and with a passion for weapons. And Rya takes upon herself the job of being his private security officer – a job that is more dangerous than it seems, since once aboard Hope’s Folly they have to flee the pursuing Empire with the threat of the Blaine’s rebels hanging over their heads, a mole working on the inside to capture Philip; not to mention that the Folly itself is a run-down ship nearly falling to pieces. Add to that the complication of an inappropriate sexual attraction between them and you have the basic plot of Hope’s Folly.
Rya and Philip’s love story is a May-December one. Philip is a jaded 45 year-old who still feels somewhat guilty for not being able to make his marriage to Chaz work. As a friend, he feels more than happy that Chaz has found love again with Sully but he can’t help but to feel that he has failed. And that also leads him to believe that he is incapable of offering that king of love to any woman. When he starts developing feelings for Rya – they come as soon as he meets her – he feels that it is not only inappropriate because of the difference in rank, age and his relationship with her late father, but also he believes he is too old, too cynical to offer anything to her.
Rya is a 28 year old woman, who is strong and capable (as all Linnea’s heroines are). In her previous line of work, Rya’s motto used to be “Polite, Professional and Prepared to Kill”. And this is exactly who she is (except for the polite part perhaps). She is not the usual run of the mill heroine. The first time we see Rya, she is in her current lover’s bed with whom she had a relationship for the past two years, and preparing to leave him, thinking she would miss her gun more than she would miss Matt. Up until that point, all sexual encounters she had were Just for Fun Sex, until of course she meets Philip again.
She had seen him once when she was 10 years old and he has become her “Long-Lost Always-Forever Dream Hero” ever since. All the obstacles that exist between them become dust with the sense of Impending Doom (awesome scene alert!) and the Heat generated between them.
What happens next is a comedy of errors perpetrated by Philip who monikers himself “A galactic class ass” but one that melted this reader’s heart every time he called Rya “beautiful” (which worked wonders on Rya’s insecurity about her weight) or had his innards twisted in jealousy, possessiveness and protectiveness – all of each were equally felt by Rya. And these two buttheads clash until there comes what has got to be the most warped declaration of love right at the nick of time.
The whole story takes place in a matter of days during the transit to Ferrin and the plot is heart-racing non-stop action until the very last page. And Philip, oh Philip is definitely being added to Ana’s list of favourite “Always-Forever Dream” heroes.
Notable Quotes/Parts: a scene where Rya and Philip bond over weapons:
She folded herself down next to him and, he noticed, kept glancing at his duffel.
He arched an eyebrow.
“Is this,” she asked hesitantly, “what I think it is?”
“What do you think it is?”
“Norlack 473 sniper, modified to handle wide-load slash ammo.” There was a noticeable reverence in her voice.
He pulled the rifle out, hefting it. She had a good eye. Norlacks weren’t common. But recognizing it was modified for illegal and highly destructive charges… Then again, she’d seen it in action.
“It is,” he confirmed, amused now by the expression on her face. It had gone from reverence to almost rapture.
“That is so totally apex.” Her voice was hushed. “May I,” and she glanced shyly at him, her eyes bright, spots of color on her cheeks, “fondle it?”
He stared at her, not sure he heard her correctly. Then he snorted, laughing. Fondle it, indeed.
He handed it to her.
She took it, cradling it at first, then running her fingers lovingly down its short barrel.
Sweet holy God. He didn’t have enough painkillers in him to stop his body’s reaction to the smokiness in her eyes, or the way her lips parted slightly, the edge of her tongue slipping out to moisten them, as her hands slid over the weapon…
Additional Thoughts: for those of you wondering. Yes, there are some mentions to what Chaz and Sully are up to.
Verdict: Once again Linnea Sinclair delivers. Hope’s Folly is the perfect combination of an action-packed sci-fi space romp and a heart-warming romance. A keeper.
Rating: 8 Excellent
Reading next: ARGH. I have three dare books to read for the beginning of January (as I was dared by Thea and Graeme), then I need to read LOADS of Manga for our Manga Appreciation Week early January – add to the never ending pile some ARCs ALSO for January and voila: Ana’s impending doom. It doesn’t help that I have the, as Thea says, AWESOME Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr coming my way AND a certain book by a certain author ALSO coming my way. I apologise to my TBR list but as soon as these two books arrive, I am reading them straight away!