Exile – a Novel – Toni V. Sweeney
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
What do you do if you’re guilty of a crime, but not the one for which you’ve been convicted? Aric kan Ingan is a Non-Person, an Exile, stripped of title and citizenship for treason against the Arcanian Empire, a crime of which he is innocent. Caught in the intrigues of a secret society determined to overthrow his uncle’s rule, Aric is accused and arrested, then compelled to watch the evidence saving him destroyed when the rebels threaten to reveal his affair with his uncle’s Terran wife.
Under a sentence of Civil Death, he wanders a lonely decade while his uncle withholds clemency, until at last, destitute and addicted to the two most powerful substances in the Galaxy, he enlists as a guard for a Terran mining colony. There, he meets Susan Moran, TerraFormation’s company doctor, a beautiful woman with secrets of her own, and Miles Sheffield, his former mistress’s younger brother, a brash young Terran eventually becoming Aric’s best friend. Now and in years to come, these two will be a special part of Aric’s life, forging a destiny affecting the future of an entire planet.
Gloria Lakritz – she said:
This is Book #2 of the kan Ingan series and Toni V Sweeney has certainly kicked this series up a notch. I do not want to give any spoilers away. Book #1: Sinner’s plot was of Deroes kan Ingan the Margrave of the planet Archanis marrying Elizabeth Sheffield. It is well over centuries past our calendar, and Earth is known as Terra, and space travel exists for average people all over the galaxies.
Aric, nephew to Deros, had been named heir to the throne at the early age of 12. Imagine his shock and chagrin when his middle aged Uncle falls in ‘love’ and decides to marry a Milky. This is a name they use for Terrans because they are part of the Milky Way. Archanis still uses the caste system to keep the kan Ingran blood pure. Certainly the Elders who are the advisors of the Margrave, will frown upon the marriage and the possibility of an heir to come from this marriage. What will they do to stop this?
Aric is spoiled, self possessed, and outspoken about the pure bloodline and his fall from the throne. As wife of the Margrave, Elizabeth as the Margravine will rule and any children will be heirs. Since Aric was pulled from his mother’s arms and home to be counseled by the Elders as Heir, he is very outspoken in his preservation of the 3000 yr bloodline, so it seems strange and yet almost quite natural that these two young people (as the Margrave is considerably older) to fall in love.
The result of false allegations, Aric is exiled rather than killed when his Uncle thinks he is in charge of an insurrection against him. Though this is untrue, he has no proof to refute it, the proof being burned in front of his eyes. To lose his homeland is the worst kind of punishment for him. Aric goes before the priests and takes a vow of poverty and chastity hoping one day he will be called home and forgiven. Aric is not used to being considered a non-person, and it is painful for him to leave his beloved planet.
In Exile, we watch Aric grow. He has not quite gotten over the fact that he is away from his beautiful homeland and he roams the planets numbly for a time. We meet him unkempt and walking through streets where he meets Jadeen a transvestite. Still, Aric’s soft heart shows through and he gives Jadeen his last coins. In turn a few days later Jadeen returns the favor by giving him a place to stay until the shuttle takes off in the morning.
Aric has taken a new position as a guard, on a Terran mining colony signing on for 5 years. Aric is hired because of his abilities to handle a Hover craft and handle himself with a gun, to fly Dr Susan Moran head of the medical facility on the planet to patients in the area.
There are two nurses at the infirmary who after seeing tall, dark, handsome Aric, tease him incessantly, wanting him to break his celibacy rule. The good Doctor is also attracted, but will try to keep their relationship on a business level. Aric is adamant about his vows, thinking keeping them will get him back to his beloved planet Archanis. But the laws of attraction prevail and heat up our story.
Aric’s new roommate, a surprise addition, is none other than a Milky named Miles… who is Miles Sheffield… Elizabeth’s younger brother. What a web Ms Sweeney has woven.
This book is almost better than the first. World building in a first is always a harder book to love, but this one really blew me away!! Aric is the bomb in this story. Exquisitely written by Ms Sweeney, as she slowly peels off the layers and Aric slowly understands life and himself. The job he signed up for was a 5 year term, so we spend the next five years watching Aric grow. During this time he discovers all he believed may not be quite right, and it is joyous to see him doubt and grow into a better man. But what he truly knows is that he cannot be whole and lead a whole life until he goes back to his home planet and either faces death or redemption.
Oh Ms Sweeney, what a bitter pill to swallow when we thought he could be happy and remain where he was. But I have accepted that he has to do this, and I humbly await your next book in this series to read, Book #3, which comes out in June.
Any reader who loves a mystery check, a love story check, space flights and bloody fighting check, heroes bigger than life check, and a wicked queen… You have it all!
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Reviewer and Review Chair of the Paranormal Romance Guild
Penelope Adams – She Said:
In the first book of the Kan Ingan Archives, Sinner, we were left with Aric kan Ingan having been sentenced to Exile from his beloved planet, Arcanis for treason. In the last scene of the book, we see Aric taking his vows as a non-person, vowing to spend his life in chastity, poverty and personal deprivation until he is forgiven by the both the AllFather and his uncle Deroes, and allowed to return to Arcanis. Exile begins ten years later on the recreation planet of Syriakis where Aric has landed.
Life has been difficult for Aric, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he has become addicted to both nicotine and caffeine, both of which are illegal. He has acquired a pet guardian spider, Niki, who has become his only companion in his exile. While on the planet of Syriakis Aric gets a job as a pilot for a Terran mining colony on the planet of Pyras. Before leaving Syriakis, Aric will meet prostitutes (both male and female), Christian ministers and even a little thief, all of whom will play a part in life on Pyras.
On Pyras, Aric learns he will work as pilot and guard for the resident doctor Susan Moran, flying her to the outposts and doing odd jobs for her around the clinic. Aric also learns he will have a roommate, and imagine his surprise when he meets him, to discover that his roommate is none other than his Uncle Deroes’ wife (and Aric’s lover) Elizabeth’s brother Miles. Aric and Miles get off to a rocky start, but eventually forge a bond that is much closer than friendship and that will be tested time and again.
Ms. Sweeney is one of those talented author’s that writes in multiple genres and always manages to give the reader a story to keep them right on the edge of their seats the entire time they are reading. Sometimes the second book in a series doesn’t live up to the standards of the first book, or is just written as a bridge between the first and third books. Not so in the case of Exile, in my humble opinion this book exceeded the first by leaps and bounds. I liked Sinner, I loved Exile. Aric has grown out of his self-absorbed narcissism into a humble, kind, and caring man. I was conflicted with him in Sinner, not so in Exile, I fell in love with him and wanted him to have a happy ending.
The core set of characters Aric interacts with are a rich and varied group of people. Dr. Moran is a strong woman, she has been hurt in the past but there is something about Aric that she finds intriguing. She is a champion for him, and he couldn’t have asked for a better employer and friend. Her two assistants, Lindy and Karen, give us many moments of comic relief with their antics of trying to seduce Aric and introducing him to Terran customs. Miles is not the most likeable person in the beginning, but he does grow on Aric and the reader as the story progresses.
This book had everything the reader could possibly ask for in a story. I shed more than one tear, I laughed out loud, I worried, and I cheered and in the end was completely satisfied. One warning, there is a cliffhanger at the end of the book. I’m not a fan but it was necessary and so I forgive Ms. Sweeney and can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens. There is some violence, some sex, and some drugs and let’s go for it, some rock and roll. All work well in the story and none are offensive.
You don’t have to have read Sinner to enjoy this book, but it certainly would help, so you know exactly where Aric is coming from. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance, a good science fiction story or just a plain ole good read chock full of scary monsters, cute kids, hunky men and sexy doctors.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Penny we sit here again, after reading Toni V Sweeney’s second book in her series of the kan Ingan Archives. I am feeling stunned after reading this second one, and how this author truly has opened a world that I cannot wait to go back to. How did this book make you feel?
As I said in my review, I enjoyed this book so much more than the first. The world building was so vivid that I really could see every detail of the places Aric was visiting, for me, a died in the wool science fiction hater, that is some accomplishment. The people Aric meets were so interesting that I wanted to get to know each and every one of them. I’ve searched my mind to try to find one thing I didn’t like about this book, and if I had to come up with something it would be just that I have to wait for the next one to continue this journey with these wonderful people.
I agree, spending time with Aric and the people he meets being in exile was wonderful. I loved him in Sinner, but I fell in love with him all over again in Exile. Now as he is growing into the wonderful man he can be, he can make fun of himself and not take himself so seriously; and see some of his old beliefs fall by the wayside. He sees the Terrans as people instead of milkies… He actually could love Miles and be his big brother!!! It will be hard waiting for the third book in the series… I hear tell it will be out in June….
You may have just hit the nail on the head as to why I liked this book so much better than Sinner, Aric changed so much and it was just such a pleasure to spend time with him this time around. Another winner from Ms. Sweeney, all I have to say is keep them coming and I’ll keep reading them.
Good night, Gracie.
Before I say Goodnight to you all. We will not follow up with a Q&A for this Dual Review. Penny and I have an exorbitant amount of questions that really can only be answered we feel by reading the next two books in the series …Bring ‘em on Ms Sweeney… We are ready!!!
Good night George