Trial By Fire: Survival

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Categories: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks | Date published: 06/21/2007


In this first volume of the two-volume fifth novel of the series, Merline, a Gaean spacer-fighter, crash-docks a lifeboat in Columbia, and gets captured, after learning that Slade, a Second Corps captain, deals in illicit drugs. Callously and secretly, Slade confines the prisoner of war in a military penal work force, figuring that she won't survive incarceration with fifteen hardened male criminals. Hogar, a former Second Corps captain serving a twenty-Earthyear sentence for a murder committed in a red haze of rage, fights the other inmates, and prevents gang rape. Unable to protect Merline from assault by lecherous guards, he nonetheless teaches her how to survive a ghastly situation. Hogar deals cannily with a guard, so as to tip the Commander of Second Corps that a potentially explosive political problem exists. The investigators arrive too late to save Merline from suffering a heinous assault by a sadistic officer. Marlenn, Commander of Second Corps, informs Merline that the war just ended. In the battle of wits between the mistreated prisoner of war and the Commander seeking to conceal what happened to her, the quick-witted woman strikes a deal with Marlenn. He accedes to her demand that she and Hogar be allowed to marry, so that Hogar can take advantage of a Gaean law that confers Gaean citizenship on Columbians who marry Gaeans. Marlenn arranges for the newly wedded pair to fly to Gaea. While experiencing a difficult transition back to civilian life, Hogar discovers that Merline will be the captain of her family's rock-hopper ship. After winning a fierce battle with his scalded pride, he agrees to serve as Merline's second officer. While Merline struggles to rebuild a business destroyed seventeen Earthyears earlier, Hogar contends with the overt hostility of Riley, a partially disabled Gaean crewmember, who hates Columbians. The Mate tries valiantly to understand and conform to customs wholly foreign to him. Thrust into the delicate position of assuming the responsibilities of a Gaean family-head while serving as his wife's second officer, Hogar avoids the pitfalls abounding in a new life as fascinating as it is difficult. Slowly but surely, Hogar gains the profound respect of the wife he loves, and the four crewmembers, all of whom bear painful emotional scars. Having won Riley's trust, Hogar prevents a tragic outcome when Riley seeks to wed Danica. He also manages to secure a bride for Dean, Merline's nephew, in classic Gaean fashion, albeit with a few variations of his own. The competitive Columbian slowly metamorphoses into a Gaean family-head who feels at home in his new world. This stirring narrative forms part of an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.