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Lisanne Norman
book cover

book 2

Who recommends: Linda, Shelley, Lynn, Leila
Who discommends: JW, Barbara

I really enjoyed TURNING POINT thought it felt like there should have been more. The second book, FORTUNE'S WHEEL, had everything to make up for it. In this book the h/h went to the Sholan world and had to try to get the Sholans to accept their mental bond, which normally incurred the death penalty.--Linda

For the Sholan book 2, FORTUNE'S WHEEL - if you have not already read this the following will have spoilers, so stop here if you are planning on starting the series from scratch. This is also a little long - I was trying to condense a 700 pg book.

FORTUNE'S WHEEL picks up right after the end of TURNING POINT. Carrie and Kusac are on board the Sholan battleship, the Kalhossa (sp?), and Carrie is learning about Sholan culture. This is very stressful for her, not because of the Sholans, but because of the humans' reaction to her link with Kusac and her worries over the reaction her father will have. Carrie is also a virgin and she is worried about joining with Kusac - something that is necessary for them to do because of the link they share.

Among Leska pairs it is necessary for them to spend physical time together every several days to allow their bodies and minds to reconcile all of the shared memories and emotions they have experienced. Without this sharing they could (and would) die. In fact, Leska pairs actually wear special jewelry in case of accidents, to alert emergency personnel that there will be another affected person nearby.

Carrie knows her father will disapprove and is worried about facing prejudice by others. In trying to give her the time she needs, Kusac cuts off their link and almost dies. Luckily, Vanna (their friend and doctor) figures out something is wrong and gets Carrie to Kusac. The love scene that follows is very tender, although Kusac is shocked to learn Carrie is a virgin. He had just not considered it - Sholan women can control conception and Sholans usually start pairing off at puberty. Sholans are very open about sex and monogamy is not considered a necessity unless a couple wants it for a set period.

Kusac realizes that Carrie's views on sex and marriage are very different from his people's and that she is feeling very insecure. He decides he wants her for a life mate as well as for his Leska. Life mating is marriage among the Sholans. This is complicated by several factors. Kusac is the son of the head of the telepathic clans on Shola. In addition to being the head of the sixteen clans, his father is also the head of Alien Relations. Kusac's Mother is the head of her clan and Kusac is her heir. In addition, he has the responsiblity of providing the clan with his heirs. To this end, his father has arranged a marriage between him and another aristocratic Sholan female. Kusac decides this will not happen and proposes to Carrie. He does not tell her about the arranged marriage because he is worried about adding to her stress.

Kusac's mother arrives on board the ship and welcomes Carrie into the family. She gives them her support, but privately tells Kusac she is not sure if his father will void the marriage contract. Carrie's father also arrives on board. His reaction to Carrie's realtionship to Kusac pushes Carrie over the edge and causes a gestalt psychic reaction in her link with Kusac. This gestalt causes physical changes in her and in Kusac. The most noticable is that Carrie develops Shloan eyes - her pupils are now like a cats. The reaction also triggers changes in Carrie and Kusac's body chemistry, bringing their bodies into closer rhythm. Although they do not know it at the time, it also changes them both genetically, making them fertile with each other.

Along with Carrie and Kusac's relationship they are also in the middle of a political situation. The Valtegans (enemy aliens that Carrie's people had been resisting) had wiped out two Sholan colonies. Some of the survivors mistakenly blame the humans and make an attempt on Carrie's life. Garras, Kusac's captain, calls in a friend, Kaid, who is a Warrior Guild member, to guard Carrie. Carrie and Kusac think Kaid is their assistant - there to help them as they acclimate into society.

The politics are fairly complex. Here is what you need for this book - they actually start coming to a head in the next volume. Society on Shola is split into Clans and Guilds. As a telepath, Kusac is a member of the Telepath's Guild. But, because of Carrie's abilities, Kusac and she can both fight - which is something Sholan telepaths are not capable of. Shola also has a department of Alien Affairs, the military, the Warrior's Guild (a sub-guild made up of warriors in service to Varta, the Sholan god and Varta priesthood) among others. Kusac and Carrie are of concern to several of these guilds. The military is interested because they can fight, but they do not know how to train telepaths. The Telepath's Guild wants to control them because it fears change. Alien Affairs is interested because of the relationship with Keiss and Earth. The Warrior's Guild is very interested. If they can get Carrie and Kusac and the other human/Shola Leskas that have started appearing to switch guilds and join with the Warrior's Guild, the Warrior's Guild will finally have independence. Add several humans and the human governments trying to deal with the sholans and vice versa and it is quite a mix.

Kaid has his hands full keeping Kusac and Carrie safe from everyone who either wants them gone or to use them. Kusac is beginning to realize he must know who their friends are and that he might have to break with all the guilds eventually, just so he and Carrie and the other Leskas do not become tools. Most of this comes to fruition in FIRE MARGINS, but the different factions get sorted out in FORTUNE'S WHEEL.

Back to Carrie and Kusac's personal relationship. He and Carrie get to Shola and stay at the Telepath Guild for a while so that their talents can be measured and Carrie can learn some control. This also gives Carrie a chance to learn about Shola. Kusac's father is refusing to let him out of the marriage contract.

Kusac's bride-to-be shows up and causes a scene and Carrie finds out about the engagement. She goes ballistic. Kusac finally gets her to calm down, but she is in despair. She goes along with Kusac's mother and sister in a desperate plan - there is a loophole in Sholan law that says she can challenge for the right to marry Kusac. She challenges the other woman, who agrees. This is supposed to be a ritual combat to first blood. Soon after the challenge, Carrie discovers she is pregnant. If this had been known about ahead of time it would have prevented the challenge and Kusac's marriage to another woman. Kusac is furious. He did not understand that Human women do not control their fertility and that the leska link makes them even more fertile. He and Carrie have a huge fight.

Meanwhile, Vanna ends up with a human male leska, which would have been great if they knew or liked each other, but the link was a complete surprise to both of them. Brynne also has a hard time with Sholan sexuality and is not happy that Vanna has no intention of giving up her relationship with Garras. (Garras is essentially her husband and is understanding about the link and the physical compulsion. Unfortunately, Brynne is not understanding about the fact that Vanna is not going to give up Garras. Many leskas love each other, but are not in love and have primary relationships outside of the leska bond).

Carrie has her challenge and wins, but the other woman (can you tell I cannot remember her name?) loses it and illegaly turns on Carrie and attacks her. Carrie manages to defend herself and kill her attacker, but the damage is done - she has a miscarriage. Carrie and Kusac withdraw to the family estate to grieve and this temporarily stops a lot of the political maneuvering around them. Kusac and Carrie do reconcile with each other and with Kusac's father, who is horrified by the near tradgedy of losing Carrie (Kusac would have died also because of the link). He welcomes her has Kusac's wife and as his daughter.

Kusac and Carrie emerge stronger in their relationship at the end of the book and the politics carry over until the next volume. I will finish that one and write another description if I have not managed to thoroughly confuse you yet.

Two pivitol points I forgot - there is a desert religious cult on Shola that advocates killing telepath and is gaining ground. It becomes very important later on. Also, four Sholans survived the attacks on the two colonies and were taken prisoner by the Valtegans and sold as slaves on a backwater planet called Jalna. In book three a rescue mission made up of humans (because the species on that planet is humanoid) from Keiss is assembled by the Sholan military.

More to follow...--Shelley (18 Jun 02)

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