Retribution – a Novel – Toni V. Sweeney
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
Arcanis is in civil war. The Margravine has been deposed. A plague rages. Sent by TerraFormation with a vaccine to help the war-torn planet, Miles Sheffield is reunited with his best friend and his niece, offering them refuge on Earth.
When Pallas and the other women on the FSS Clara Barton are abducted and sold into slavery, Aric, Miles, and the crew begin a search taking them through the Emeraunt Galaxy and beyond to the law-forsaken depths of the Fringes. There, on the desert planet Bel-Ammon, Aric will find not only his missing wife but an old enemy he never expected to see again. He’ll launch a fight to the death for possession of his own wife and make a decision affecting not only the Throne of Arcanis but the eventual fate of his own family.
Gloria Lakritz – she said:
This series that Ms Sweeney has written has captured me hook, line and sinker. Aric kan Ingan from the first book has been a tortured hero. We have watched him grow, love, and suffer. We have watched him give up what he wants, only to give to his country what he has been born to; his life. Now my heart stops as I open Retribution and read. Miles Sheffield Aric’s brother of the heart hears the news that Arcanis has been hit with a plague. We left Aric on Arcanis to marry his niece Pallas for the sake of the planet and the people, giving up his love Susan whom he left waiting for him on another planet.
Miles is now married, with a young son, working on Terra. He realizes time and life have gotten away from him, and he has not heard from the couple in quite a while. He has been chosen to bring medical supplies and antidote to the stricken planet. He learns that there has been a bloody civil war and Aric and his wife Pallas are believed dead. Their ship crashing in a fiery ball on the planet Aleron. He boards a hospital ship, “The Barton”, and travels to the outreaches of Arcanis. They are told they are not to land, but send the needed medical supplies down by ship.
Miles cannot let it rest about the loss of Aric, and flies the ship to Aleron, to where their ship was lost, and views the crashed hulk below. He must have closure, and lands to check out the site, to joyfully find that the bodies he finds, Aric, Pallas and Asher, are in a sort of suspended animation. The syringes they find had been injected for a cryogenic hibernation. The three are the only ones in the crew of eight alive. They are brought back to the hospital ship to recover and this is where the story takes us on our next adventure only the devious mind of Ms Sweeney can bring us. With our hero Aric, just when you think the fat lady will sing, she screeches!
I must say, many points that were left opened during the series have been answered in this book. I loved the care that the author has taken with this story, and the finesse of drawing out all the substance from these characters, they are certainly not one dimensional. We learned about Aric in Sinner, we suffered deeply with him in Exile, and we wept for him in Return. The emotional roller coaster Ms Sweeney has wrought has brought Retribution to a heady conclusion.
As the ardent follower of this series, I am bereft, as I felt the loose ends were tied up too quickly. I think that it was a bit rushed to its conclusion. Please do not let me say that this was not a great story or ending, I think it just got there a little too quickly for the pacing of the series. For example, the scene in Exile was so outstanding when Aric stood before his accusers to lose his life. The pain, agony of his incarceration the reader could taste, and feel his pain as their own. Ms Sweeney has spoiled me with descriptions I cannot put to words and do her justice. There were scenes here in this book that had the capabilities of doing the same, but they seemed shortened. I would have liked a longer fight scene with Eby, after all we waited long enough for it.
Ms Sweeney is an outstanding author and talented in all phases of genre. I will read anything she puts to paper and never feel loss. There are two more stories to round out this series and I will be of course on line to read them… Outstanding series – a read again and again.
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Reviewer and Review Chairperson for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Penelope Adams – She Said:
We’ve followed Aric Kan Ingan through three books, watching him as he was groomed to become the heir to the Margrave of Arcanis, seeing him fall in love with the woman his uncle the Margrave married – Elizabeth Sheffield – only to be betrayed by her and exiled from his home.
We wept when we watched him wander from planet to planet in his exile, finally settling on a mining planet and falling in love with Susan, a doctor he was assigned to guard. We laughed and rejoiced as he met Elizabeth’s brother Miles and the two soon became close friends. Our hearts were broken as he left Susan and returned back to Arcanis, and what was most likely a true death.
Those same hearts broke even more as we watched him almost be beheaded, only to be saved by none other than Elizabeth’s daughter – Pallas – who. since her parent’s death. had become the Margravine of Arcanis. Could we have been any more heartbroken than Miles when Aric and Pallas decided the only way to save their beloved planet was for them to marry, knowing Aric loved another? At the end of the last book, we watched them say goodbye to Miles as he went back to his home planet of Earth, and they began their quest to once again rule Arcanis.
In Retribution we catch up with Miles, who is now working in Research and Information for TerraFormation. He has married a natural, named Debra, and they have a three year old son, Mark. Miles is called to his boss’s office and told that communication with Arcanis has been cut off for the last year due to a civil war. Now it has been discovered that a deadly plague has struck Arcanis, sure death for all the citizens. TF is planning on sending a hospital ship with a vaccine and Miles is asked to join the mission due to his relationship with the ruling family.
On board ship he discovers the doctor assigned is no other than, Dr. Wayne Thorpe, the man his sister Elizabeth was engaged to before she dumped him for the Margrave of Arcanis. After making contact with Arcanis, they learn while on a mission, Aric and Pallas’ ship was shot down and there were no survivors. Miles insists that while they are on their way to deliver vaccine they stop at Aleron, where the ship crashed, and retrieve their bodies. Miles and Mark must put aside any ill feelings they may have for each other in an attempt to save Arcanis. Their mission will become more than they ever could have imagined.
Normally I would give more of a summary, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Trust me, like all the books in this series, Ms. Sweeney has thrown in a twist or two. We’ve come to expect her to break our hearts, leaving us a sobbing mess and no one should be surprised that tissues should be close by while reading this installment of the Kan Ingan Archives. I will say that we will catch up with old friends and enemies from previous books. Pallas’ guard Asher plays a role in the story and Aric’s one time friend turned betrayer, Ebby is also around.
I fell in love with Aric almost as soon as I met him. He was arrogant, barbaric, vain and hunky, just what a lover of bad boys would want. As I’ve followed his story, he has become more than a character and I’ve eagerly and, at times, not so patiently waited for the next installment of his story.
While I enjoyed this book, I have to say it seemed to have had something missing from the previous books. The story seemed rushed in places, and the ending was a little disappointing, it was too easy. Even with these little issues, this is a good book. Now the problem is, I have to wait for the next one to see what happens next.
These people have most definitely gotten under my skin, I’m completely addicted to their story and while I don’t know what Ms. Sweeney has up her sleeve for them, I’m sure she is going to make me run the gambit of emotions.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Hi Penny, it certainly has been quite a while. I am so glad to be able to have one more glimpse of Aric for this year. This kan Ingan series by Toni V. Sweeney has captured us both. We loved Aric from Sinner and never deviated in our respect for the man and his story. So we have sat here with Sinner, Exile, Return, and now Book 4, Retribution. How do you feel?
Exhausted. Aric has kept me on my toes and Kleenex in business. It was nice this time around to visit with Miles for awhile, He has intrigued me since we met him. I’ve also read the beginning of the kan Ingran saga (The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic) with Aric’s ancestor Riven, and we’ve read well into the future with a new generation with Sar Trant (3 Moon Station / Finer Gentleman – writing as Icy Snow Blackstone), so it’s been fun seeing the bridge between the two. Although I have to say, at some point I would love Ms. Sweeney to give us a family tree tying them together, I suppose that wouldn’t be possible until this series ends so we don’t get any spoilers.
I agree just this series has been exhausting. Aric has been bigger than life and I am not happy having this series come to a close. I love reading Toni’s words. Which one of the 4 books has stayed with you the most? I cannot decide if I loved Exile or Return the most. They were spellbinding…The different colonies and worlds in Exile… The scene upon his coming back to Arcanis in Return, I had to keep putting down. Outstanding.
That’s like asking which of your kids you love the most, lucky me I only have one so I can answer. Without a doubt Return is it for me. Like you, that scene just about did me in, I was reading it at work on my lunch hour so had to spend the rest of the day with smeared makeup. Retribution had the feeling of a bridge book to me, I felt like it was a stepping stone to possibly change the story line or get us somewhere else. Because of that it didn’t seem to pack as much punch but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. While there were parts that were heart wrenching, it was nice to keep the old ticker at least partially in tact for once. I love Toni Sweeney’s writing and I think I would read the cover of a cereal box if she wrote it and feel satisfied when I was done. I can’t wait for what is next in this series and what she has up her sleeve when it ends.
Good Night Gracie
Yes Penny I feel the same way… I will read whatever Toni Sweeney/ Icy Snow Blackstone write… Check out the genres this talented author writes: contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy and historical…all top reads.
Nite Georgie….on to Downfall.
Q&A with Author Toni V. Sweeney:
Since this series is set in the future and on another planet, what kind of research did you do?
Believe it or not, I did a vast amount of research on medieval customs and life, then adapted it to fit Arcanis and surrounds. Some of it I transferred from the Chronicles of Riven the Heretic and “updated” a bit, reasoning that any custom and law would probably change over time. I also had to revise a good bit of the way Earth people were living at the time, since Terra underwent a vast social and political evolution with the Second Confederated States Rebellion.
The reviewers felt the angst in this book was lessened for the reader….Was there a reason we were spared?
Was the angst lessened, or were you so accustomed to it that you just didn’t feel it? Not to give any Spoilers, but I considered the events as much “angsted” as they can get. But…don’t worry, Downfall should give you a helping of angst to last the next year. (Actually Retribution and Downfall were originally one book, and were divided into two parts because the subject changed partway. Perhaps that’s the reason. Just consider Retribution the uneasy period before the explosion.)
For your humble following for this series…myself included, what are the names for the last two books if you have already named them and when can we expect to read them?
The last two are: Downfall and Space Stud.
How does finishing a series of this magnitude feel to the author? Like giving birth, or does it unsettle you?
Right. Now I’m going into post-partum depression. It’s over…or is it over? Already there’s another story clanging around in my head. So what happens on this as yet unnamed mining colony? What’s going to happen to a divorced man whose children aren’t with him and an “elderly” man encumbered by a handful of offspring? Will they take the changes they used to? What if one or both of them meets someone? Could either really trust a woman again? Would either want to? There are some hints in Space Stud but perhaps they’ll never be answered outright. Just have to wait and see.