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Noah's Ark (Chronicles of Kassouk) Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Set in the future, a group of human settlers leave the Mars colony on Noah's Ark looking to find a virgin planet to populate. Everyone has a secret and the beauty of the journey is that all the secrets are left in the past once the mission starts.
Trixie is the caption of Noah's Ark. She's surrounded by a competent crew and Kostas is the military man on the mission designated to protect them. While in jump space, Noah's Ark is attacked, forced into regular space, and crashes on Kassouk. The settlers soon discover remnants of previous inhabitants - a citadel along with an extensive tunnel system and a duranium mine. Shortly after landing, an alien race known as the Godds (from Godda) approach the settlers. The goods, Ktal and Khur, need the humans to mine the duranium ore and in exchange they'll use the weather satellites to make life hospitable on the planet. They also assist the human geneticist, McClure, in populating the planet with animal life.
Reluctantly, Trixie agrees to help Ktal. Life settles into a "normal" routine. Trixie and Kostas decide to explore their attraction and enter into an affair. McClure, however, wanting to further his own agenda, discovers Kostas' secret and threatens to expose him. It's a secret that could destroy Kostas' affair with Trixie and his credibility with the other settlers. When the godds send their enforcers, the situation grows perilous for the humans. Can love and hope win in the end?
Having read the other books in the series, I was anxiously awaiting the prequel and Schartz delivers. She engages the reader right from the opening. Her writing style is crisp and easy to read.
Schartz excels at world building as she layers the humans' discoveries staring with the citadel, then the godds, and then tossing in the zerkers.
The dialogue adds a rich authenticity to the story. It's the little touches which bring the humanity into the story from Viking the cat to Tabor's horseback riding lessons.
For me, the most rewarding aspect was the characterization. Trixie is brave and daring, having finally turned her back on her father and her family's "noble" heritage. Kostas is a true match for her, giving her the space she needs to make her own decisions. He's tender when tested and not afraid to brave the dangers of the new planet.
The love scenes are vivid, capturing a sense of primal urgency as Trixie and Kostas dare to claim each other's hearts in the same manner that they dare to claim the planet of Kassouk. "Noah's Ark" keeps the reader turning the pages eager to find out what will happen next. The story does not disappoint!