Return – a Novel – Toni V. Sweeney
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
In an attempt to clear himself of the charges for which he was exiled, former Crown Prince Aric kan Ingan returns to Arcanis and immediate arrest. Rescue comes from an unexpected source… his cousin and former betrothed, Pallas, now an adult, very desirable woman.
Aric finds himself owing Her Majesty a debt he can never fully repay, but when he learns she expects more than his gratitude, he’s faced with a choice affecting not only his own life but those of Arcanians not yet born. Marrying Pallas means giving up his beloved Susan but it also will regain him what he lost—the Throne of Arcanis—as well as revenge against TAS. More is at stake now than just Aric’s vengeance, however, for best friend Eby is not only his chief enemy and TAS’ right-hand man but also a rival for Pallas’ affections.
As Aric struggles to make a decision, memories of the love he had for Pallas’ mother merge with his feelings for her daughter. His choice is difficult: Give up his happiness to protect his Margravine and the Throne, or return to Susan and leave his cousin to TAS’ vengeance.
Gloria Lakritz – she said:
Return is the third in Toni Sweeney’s Kan Ingran series. We have read Sinner and Exile. We began with Sinner, the opening story, as we follow young Aric, living on the planet Arcanis. He is heir to the throne ruled by his Uncle Deroes the Margrave (or King). Deroes has taken a bride many years younger, to the dismay of the ruling Elders. Elizabeth Sheffield, an earthling, is not a pure blooded kan Ingran.
Aric is tall, handsome, arrogant, and a society snob. He hates and belittles Elizabeth from the moment he meets her, and all that passion turns to love. Their homeland has underlying issues, as the Elders look to keep the bloodline pure. They even attempt to kill her, and try to prevent her from having a baby. Pallas, a daughter, is born, and Aric and Elizabeth keep up a sexual and loving relationship for many years. Aric is cast out by his uncle not because he learns of the affair, but he is accused of treason unjustly and Deroes banishes him. Aric takes the pledge of celibacy and is an exile.
In Exile, Ms. Sweeney now has many players in place from the first book, and cranks up the storyline. In Exile we watch Aric grow and we fall in love with him. At first he is so numb from having to give up his homeland, he drifts for years from place to place. After many years of wandering, he signs up for a 5 year hitch on a Terran Mining Colony as a protector and driver for Dr. Susan Moran. For 5 years we watch Aric , as Ms. Sweeney peels at Aric’s layers and we see the moth become the butterfly. Dr. Morgan and he fall in love, and he realizes to go forward he must go back and fix on Arcanis what is broken. Miles Sheffield, who is his best friend, and ironically Elizabth’s brother, insists he come with Aric to face most possibly death as soon as they land. This book was outstanding and I did not think this series could get any better.
We begin Return on a spacecraft, as Miles and Aric travel back to Arcanis. It has been 15 years, and Aric has no way of knowing about the current status of things in his homeland. He can only tell Miles that the moment he arrives he will be arrested and detained, or possibly killed on sight. Miles’ job is to find his sister Elizabeth, the Margravine, and his uncle Deroes, and speak on his behalf.
What Aric foresaw was true. Guards were waiting and took him to Tower to await his fate. The Elders were all ready for a hasty judgement and death sentence. Miles went to the castle and was shocked at the news he found, as so many things had changed in 15 years and all that Aric believed did not exist any longer. Elizabeth and his uncle were no longer alive, and his niece, young Pallas was in charge, with the Elders as Guardians. She was a puppet, and they were the puppet masters. But Pallas remembered her Uncle, whom she loved dearly as a child, almost to the point of obsession.
Ms. Sweeney has written scenes in this story that were outstanding. Aric in the Tower at the mercy of the Elders and the Guards was spellbinding. I cried at his treatment, his strength and the thought that he was doing this for his love for Susan, so he could be a whole man again. I wrote here today that I did not think anything could be better than Exile? Well color me red faced… Return was amazing!!!
Aric is a man we disliked a bit at the beginning of this journey, pretentious, spoiled and arrogant. But it was always for his beloved Archanis. This is a man who would give up for himself every thing he loves, for the sake of his country. He did, in Exile, giving up his lover, his life and his country, not to harm the way of life for the people in Archanis with treachery in their government.
He finally drew solace with the good Doctor on Terra, and found he needed to clear his name and become whole before he could go forward. Now back on Archanis, the path is not what he and the reader expected, and my heart hurts for him.
We have another book coming in the series, and now Ms. Sweeney has me sitting with baited breath to see this story’s conclusion, and with a little fear that something else could go terribly wrong. If you haven’t looked into this series you do yourself an injustice.
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Member and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Penelope Adams – she said:
Return, book three of The kan Ingan Archives, begins with Aric and Miles on their way to Arcanis, where Aric is sure to face arrest for treason, but he is determined to clear his name so he can marry the woman he loves, Susan. Miles cannot understand Aric’s need to clear himself, but being the loyal friend he is, he will stand beside Aric no matter what.
Upon landing in Arcanis, Aric is indeed arrested by none other than his long time friend Eby. While Aric is being taken away, he tells Miles to get in touch with his uncle, the Margaravine and plead his case.
Unbeknownst to both Aric and Miles, both his uncle and his wife – Miles sister – are dead, and their daughter, Pallas, is now the ruler of Arcanis. The only way for Aric to gain his freedom and have revenge over TAS for his exile, is to marry his cousin Pallas and forget his beloved Susan.
Can Aric put behind the love of his life in order to serve his homeland and lead his people? Aric and Pallas must make life changing decisions, and decide if loyalty to Arcanis and its people is more important than their own personal happiness. Miles will also be pushed to either stand by his friend and niece in their decision or move on with his life.
Ms. Sweeney continues to weave her spell on the reader with the third installment of what can’t be called anything else but an epic journey. She started the journey with background in the first book, gave us a look into Aric’s mind and heart in the second book, and takes our heart into her hands and is none to gentle with it in this offering. Her writing is so masterful that the reader can’t help but get involved in the characters; it takes no imagination to picture the settings, since she paints them so vividly. One feels like they are there.
I’m not ashamed to say, I started crying from almost the first ten minutes into the book, and there were moments that I had to put the book down, I was so overwhelmed.
I read a lot of books with a lot of varied and different characters, and Aric is quickly becoming one my favorites. He went from someone that I really didn’t care that much for in the first book, to someone I’ve not only fallen in love with, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for as well. The man would do anything for his home land; give up his life, his love, his personal freedom, whatever it takes. I’m pretty sure he is going to break my heart beyond repair before this series is over, but it’s too late for me to protect it now, he has a very firm hold on it.
Pallas was a child when last we saw her; she has grown into a beautiful, smart and confident young woman. She has allowed the council to make her decisions for her, but she knows in Aric she has an ally that will make her and their homeland what they should be. It doesn’t hurt that she has loved Aric her entire life, so helping him is not even anything she has to think twice about. She is the total opposite from her mother, yes she can manipulate people and circumstances to get what she wants, but she doesn’t do it for her own purposes. She knows Aric is not in love with her but she also knows that together they are unstoppable so she is willing sacrifice her own heart.
Miles flitted in and out of the story, he stood by Aric when needed, but also started to discover the pleasures that life can hold for him. His loyalty is unquestionable and you can’t help but like the man. He gave the reader a break from some of the more intense feelings that Aric and Pallas were stirring up and I thank him for that.
I don’t like science fiction, I don’t like fantasy, this series has sprinklings of both and I love it, I don’t know how Ms. Sweeney managed to pull that off but I’m glad she did. Readers should be cautioned there are a couple of scenes that are intense and this is not a book for the faint of heart but boy, the rewards far outweigh the uncomfortable moments. There is also the dreaded cliffhanger in the end but we do get some closure so I’m willing to live with it. Please hurry with the next offering Ms. Sweeney, I’m on pins and needles.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Well I see Penny, this book 3 Return by Toni Sweeney has affected you as much as has me. This third Book of the kan Ingran series was even more than we could have hoped for, but I fear for Aric. Ms. Sweeney had me mesmerized with her depiction of the torture of Aric in the Tower scene, that was so painful to me that I couldn’t breathe.
That had me crying big time. I too, fear for Aric, but I’m also starting to worry about Miles. I have a feeling there are going to be rocky times ahead for him. He is starting to grow on me, I would hate for something to happen to him. I also worry about Pallas’ body guard. He is such a trusting young thing, just like his father.
Miles has lost a love himself on Terra when he and Aric were stationed there. He is still angry for the loss and is yearning for something to fulfill him. I still am not clear about the mix up he had filling out that Questionnaire in the Pleasure Dome. Was it an electrical glitch? A miscommunication, or something purposeful? Elby has turned out rather badly, and I sense he will have some part in the conclusion. And yes, the Pallas’s White guard… Hmmm, all the pieces are coming together. I cannot wait and am almost afraid for this conclusion!
Yes, I don’t have a good feeling about how this series is going to wrap up. As I said in my review, I feel sure Aric and company are going to well and truly break my heart. Can’t wait to find out though. Ms. Sweeney keep them coming and I’ll keep reading them.
Good Night Gracie.
Toni Sweeney we are banking on you (NO PRESSURE) !!!!!!
Good Night George
Q&A with Author Toni V. Sweeney:
Return has a couple of scenes that were painful to read. What is your method of writing those scenes, are they just another scene in a book, or do you have to separate yourself from the world to do them?
I know just which ones you mean, and they were very difficult to write. I got a little squeamish, and stopped and started several times and really had to think about it before I actually wrote it.
Kimi makes a shocking appearance in this book (trying for no spoilers) was that planned from the beginning?
Originally, Kim appeared only in the first book, Sinner. Neither he, nor any of Aric’s relatives were even mentioned in eitherExile or Return. Then, when I was revising Exile, I realized that during his exile, Aric would undoubtedly think of the few people he cared about, so I started adding little snippets here and there about them. Then, when I was into the fourth or fifth editing of Return, it suddenly came to me that Kim needed to be there, and I realized exactly how he was going to be re-introduced. That meant going back and revising description of him in all the previous books, of course.
Aric’s friend Eby is now a true enemy….was that forseen?
Eby was always a dubious friend and he was included in Return (and in Retribution) from the beginning. The origin of his family’s hatred of the kan Ingans is mentioned briefly in Sinner, and is told in detail in Blood Curse (the Chronicles of Riven the Heretic). (A bit of a spoiler) Eby’s presence is going to be felt forever in Aric’s family.
The mistake in the Pleasure Dome with Miles….Was there a glitch or on purpose?
It was a glitch, but the entire episode was a last minute addition, but it’s definitely going to come back to haunt Miles…in about twenty-seven years. Let’s just say, he’s going to be surprised at the wild oat he’s sown! I’m writing that story as we speak.
OMG Ms Sweeney you are killing us!!! We await the next in the series with baited breath. Thank you so much for allowing us to pick your talented brain.