It was her last chance:
Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.
It was his last year of freedom:
Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.
The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith is an amazingly detailed work, brimming with feeling. It encompasses the tale Amber and her sister, Nicci after their mother dies and leaves them with nothing. The two girls are forced into becoming planetary colonists on a test flight to another world. Meoraq, one of the best Sheuleks on Gann, perceives an explosion as a sign from God and chooses to explore the commotion. That’s when a snarky girl that tries to get things done meets with a devout man who is used to getting what he wants, and then the adventure begins.
Amber is many things, but mostly a protector. Self-conscious and motivated, she sees the reality behind situations. Meoraq, on the other hand, was a little more difficult to figure out at first. Ultimately though, he appears to be a man trying to find his way out of the monotony of his duties as a Sheulek. He’s a religious man in search of guidance.
My attention was drawn to this book by its unique plot. Depending on what part of the book you’re in, it does alter paces. Fortunately, the stories detailed enough to ensnare the reader, despite the changes in pace. I never had a hard time making sense of the plot, either. The only thing that might bother some readers, i.e., trigger warning, is the fact that it gets a little dark and rapey toward the end of the book. If that’s not your cup of tea, R. Lee Smith’s work might not be for you.
I love this book! It’s not a spaceship shootout, which is a refreshing change. Smith writes some rather deep books, many of which I’ve already read. I’d recommend The Last Hour of Gann for those that like thrilling adventures. And if you like romance and science-fiction, this one’s a nice, slow burn.