Space Studs – a Novel – Toni V. Sweeney
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
As best man at Margrave Aric’s wedding. Miles Sheffield was given a pass to the Pleasure Dome, the largest brothel on the planet of Arcanis. He redeemed it, spent a week there, and returned to Terra, unaware he left behind a single wild oat that sprouted and grew to become the Dome’s most famous employee. Now, it’s twenty-eight years later and Miles has returned to Arcanis to discover his unknown child. Their meeting is less than auspicious. Miles expects blackmail, half-brother Mark is delighted to have an older sibling, and Tam just wants to go to Terra and leave his past behind.
Gaining Tam’s custody, Miles takes him back to Earth to begin the task of adjusting to “normal” life. It’s an uphill struggle for both father and son, from Miles’ wife’s rejection of her new stepson, to the unlawful ways Tam earns his pocket money. Not for long, however…
One night, Tam and Mark disappear, their aircar found abandoned. While their frantic father searches for his sons, their abductors take them to a slave emporium in the outer reaches of the galaxy. The two are sold as sex slaves, and thus begins a struggle to survive, stay together, and somehow escape and find their way back to Earth.
Gloria Lakritz – she said:
Oh my, back to the next book of one of my favorite series Toni Sweeney’s kan Ingan Archives. The name doesn’t tell you much about what it would entail, but reading Sinner, Exile, Return, Retribution, and Downfall had to be one of the most riveting series I have followed in a long time. Aric kan Ingan, his life, loves, travesties and triumphs are documented on and off the planet Arcanis. Ms. Sweeney has given us a flawed man, a prince a pauper, in love, in lust and in torment and made him larger than life. I welcome Space Studs to see what my “family’ is doing now.
Again Ms. Sweeney makes me smile as I open these new pages. Last we read in Downfall, a story through the eyes of Mark Sheffield, the son of Miles Sheffield, oldest friend of Aric kan Ingan.. Mark and Miles have brought Aric’s daughter Susan home to Arcanis and Mark young and virile has time to visit the Pleasure Dome. You see readers of this series know all about the Dome as we had ‘seen signs’ of what possibly occurred there when his father Miles Sheffield was their guest over 20 years ago. At that time Miles was on Arcanis attending Aric’s wedding. Mark’s trip now was the long awaited ‘other shoe to fall’ answer we have waited to hear.
Space Studs opens and rehashes some of the writings about “ what happened at the Dome” now though the eyes of Tam nee Sheffield; step brother to Mark and the son Miles Sheffield never knew he had! Wow this is a biggie. Tam works at the Dome and is the King of the Hill entertaining only male clients who come from near and far to spend time with him. He finally has a way to follow his dream, get an education, see the world. Miles is married on Terra(Earth) to a natural who heritage practices fire and brimstone with No exception. The three return home to Terra and everyone’s life changes . Miles wife cannot forgive him for what was done before they met and married.
Mark loves the fact he has a new older brother and Tam has to learn the ways of being a student, no longer selling ‘his wares’ , and looking at the female sex as an option. Ms Sweeney now pours all her writing efforts into keeping the reader entertained with college life and two loving brother who have found each other but while I laughed at their escapades I waited, knowing what this writer can do, waiting for the ominous black cloud to comes down on me the reader.
Enter Black Cloud...Our two are dressed to go party, and their space car breaks down in a very dark and nasty part of town. They are jumped, drugged and find themselves on a ship going to the Outer Fringes to be sold in a sex emporium as Sex Slaves. Oh my! This story while meant to be an intriguing interlude for myself and the series followers has now ripped your heart out as the two young men are sold and forced into situations that some readers might find uncomfortable. This entire story is as I said told through the eyes of Tam, who has had more experience in this sexual arena and worries constantly of his brother Mark. His devotion to pitting himself in the middle, taking on the hardest of deeds champions his undying perseverance to protect Mark, keep them both together at all costs, and get them back to Terra and back to their father. Is this possible ? How can they get free? At what cost?
Again Ms. Sweeney has kept my rapt attention, has made me laugh out loud and again has made me cry more than a tear or two. I hear there is going to be another in the series. Bring it on Toni!
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Penelope Adams – She Said:
Readers of Ms. Sweeney’s Kan Ingan Archives have learned that you never know what is going to happen with each offering, you could have pain, you could have laughter, you could have suspense, no matter what you will be guaranteed a good story. This sixth entry in the series is no exception; this time around Ms. Sweeney gives her readers a little bit of break from Aric and Miles’ stories to tell us the story of Miles’ sons, Tam and Mark.
At the age of 28 Tamis Ney is the star of the Pleasure Dome, the largest brothel on the planet Arcanis. Known as the best at what he does, he has clients on a waiting list for a visit with him. While Tam is proud of his accomplishments, he has had only one goal in mind, meeting his father, the Warrior Miles Sheffield and going to Terran to attend school and leave his past behind. Tam is about to get his wish but he just might learn the hard way that the old saying “be careful what you wish for because it might come true” is more than just sage words.
After raising the Margrave Aric’s daughter, Barbara, as his own Miles is escorting her to Arcanis to meet her real father and his oldest son, Mark is along for moral support. While on Arcanis, Mark is given a pass to visit the infamous Pleasure Dome, chance would have it that the prostitute who is assigned to him happens to be Tam’s sister and immediately notices the similarity between the two men.
Knowing of Tam’s heritage, she tells him of who is in her rooms, when the two men meet there is no doubt they are brothers. Now Mark wants to introduce his half-brother to their father and try to persuade him to not only acknowledge his son but to help him get to Tarran. Mark will discover that having a long lost brother is not always a good thing but that a blood bond between brothers, no matter how recently acquainted, will always be unbreakable.
I have read every book in Ms. Sweeney’s kan Ingan series as well as those in the Rivan the Heretic series, which tells of the family’s beginnings, and have loved them all. This book is a bit of a departure from the heartache and action we are used to in both those series, its story is milder and tamer, but not to worry it’s still a good story. The story is Tam’s, told to us with little interjections scattered throughout of explanations by Tam himself. I found that to be an interesting twist and enjoyed his little asides.
The first third of the book is mostly a review of what we know from the previous books, told to us by Tam so we get a different slant on the story. While the review is good for reader’s not familiar with the story and a refresher for those who have, I’ll admit that while I liked the way it was presented, I could have done without it. While I’m confessing I’ll add that I didn’t find Tam as interesting a character as his father and Aric, but then who could be since those two are bigger than life? Tam is a smart, sensitive young man and his loyalty to his brother and father are beyond reproach. Even though he may not be bigger than life, I liked him, a lot; I cheered for him and cried for him.
In the end, for me a book is all about the story. Any little picky things that bother me are ultimately just that, little picky things, if I’m told a good story, I’m happy. This is a good story, while it may be a softer version of Ms. Sweeney’s usual ones in this series, it remains a good story told in an unusual style, which makes me a happy reader.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Hi Penny, come in an get comfy….We have just finished reading one of our favorite series called the kan Ingan Archives and the next chapter in it. Toni Sweeney using tongue and cheek in the title by naming it Space Studs. First, I must say I loved how this story began. The last book Downfall’s ending gave us a bit of what was to come through Mark Sheffield’s eyes. He had gone to Arcanis, with his father Miles to accompany home Barbara the Margrave Aric’s daughter. She had been taken home by Miles when Aric took his baby son home and rejected his daughter when he lost his beloved wife in childbirth. Mark being a young man, was shown the Pleasure Dome and this was to change his life and his fathers forever. Space Studs opens with the same beginnings, with Tam being woken, and seeing this bit of story though his eyes.
O.k. here is where we are going to have to agree to disagree, I wasn’t thrilled with the whole recap thing. I loved the style it was done in with Tam’s little interjections but the rehash was just redundant to me. I know, I know, anyone who hasn’t read the series would need it to catch up and yes, I know, anyone who did read the last book might need a refresher, but it just seemed to take up too much of the book for me. I did enjoy Tam’s snaky little remarks, which ran throughout the book, those were fun. I found this book to be a kinder gentler version of the kan Ingan Archives that we are used to, it was nice to have a chance to breath a little but I did miss my heartache that goes along with our dear Aric.
That is so funny that you felt that way…Previously we saw it through Mark’s eyes. Now, I loved seeing what happened through Tam’s eyes. After all it affected him more than Mark’s telling it. Look at what different lives these two sons had, and Tam didn’t know until that moment…. His waiting outside the door waiting to meet Miles..His sharing that he stole precious moments going to the hill where Miles and his mother stole precious moments together, I wouldn’t missed hearing for the world….Redundant Humph. But I do agree though we got a lighter story even though the subject was dire in some ways. The little additions of adding tam’s snippets was fun as well… I am excited though that this author had planned this was the last story in the series…and now there is another and already started!!!
Yes, the subject was dire at places and we did get a little bit of the signature Sweeney tears in places so I’m good until our next installment. This series has been such a delight I will be sorry to see it end but I understand we must move on. I think this book may have helped ease us into the ending because even though Tam and Mark were characters in the other books this could have been a stand alone story. Ms. Sweeney is taking us on baby steps toward our end and I appreciate it.
Good Night Gracie.
Yes I look forward to the next installment
Q&A with Author Toni V. Sweeney:
Your warning to the submission team about the graphic nature of this story, Do you feel the subject matter it will be detrimental to your readership?
I don’t think so. Because of the way it was presented…told in the third person with insertion of Tam’s POV. I think, while it was graphic, that softened it a little and also made it more dramatic and entertaining. It was kind of a Rashomon-type story, giving two views of the same event. Tam’s irreverent and sarcastic asides added that little emotional something. As I got into the story, I also decided to make it just as wild as I could think of…as the scenes in the slave market and Tam’s encounter with Serge showed. (At least I hope they’re considered wild!)
This is the first M/M entry in this series that I’ve seen, did you find it difficult to switch gears to that genre?
Definitely! I wasn’t certain I could do it and several times, found myself backing down when I tried to “speak plainly.” That was one reason I decided to use the 2-person viewpoint. I hadn’t intended to write the story at all but I got to thinking that Tam’s story really needed to be told. I had originally done it in the third person, but Tam’s own “voice” kept coming through. Incidentally, this is not only the first and only M/M in this series but the first M/M I’ve ever written. I wanted to see if I could write an M/M story. I guess I can, but I really don’t intend to write any more. I’ve got enough genres going as it is.
I found this to be a little lighter than the other books in this series, was this by design or did you hold back?
I just couldn’t make myself be completely serious. In Downfall, when Tam meets Mark, it was a dramatic scene but Tam was facetious throughout. In fact, the only time he’s really serious is when he thinks Miles isn’t going to see him. I realized if he were telling his own story, he’d probably be sarcastic and defensive throughout in an attempt to keep the reader from seeing how affected he was by the whole thing…a real tough little customer…until the later parts of the book when he’s trying to protect Mark and help them both survive. Then his emotion and concern for his brother and his father would show in spite of his “tough” exterior.
Also I felt that, after Downfall, something a little lighter was needed to uplift everything slightly while bringing things to a close.
Penny’s question was a part of my thoughts….Did you worry more about the strong subject matter in this story, rather than amping up the Toni Sweeney angst we have come to know?
I did, for a bit. Then, I thought, “What the heck…” I decided between what Tam was going through and what both boys would suffer there would be enough angst and combined with the subject matter, it’d all balance out.
When will we see the Big Boys again???
As we speak, the Big Boys are on their way to a planetoid called Élysée, which is French for “a state of perfect happiness.” Miles will at last get over his lost love Becky, and get closure from Debra, and Aric will find the peace he’s been looking for since the deaths of Susan, Riven, and Auric but in a most unusual way. I’m planning Regeneration as the last in the series but… Never say never. You just can never tell.
Thank you Toni for the time you have spent with us and for the enjoyment you have given us. This series is truly a masterpiece and I hope we can get word out there to our readers to try it…