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Christopher W. Wilcox Sr.
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Spyder, the irreverent cyberpunk turned Head of the Guardian Science Support Staff, finds himself the de facto ambassador to the Ursars, a race of twenty-foot tall, telepathic and telekinetic purple bears. Forming unbreakable bonds with Korin, son of the Clan Father, Spyder soon finds there are some things that are worth more than your own life. Family, friends, and Clan, Spyder risks them all in a life-or-death struggle against the marauding Grays.
The rising red sun cast its crimson light over the rolling hills, highlighting the ridge crest that had been the favored roost of the seven Guardians from Sol. It was still empty. The Æthereal had been recalled for something they called the Grand Council, which Korin thought sounded a lot like a full gathering of the Clans. Glancing back at the empty ridge crest, Korin hoped they would remain gone for a long time so the Clans could once again find peace and serenity.
The initial excitement from contact with the long-lost Guardians of Sol had quickly faded when confronted by the reality of having seven of the massive Æthereal living among them. First of all, it had come as a psychological blow to the collective psyche of the Clans. For millennia, they had been the undisputed masters of their world, easily coexisting with all other life forms. Being suddenly confronted by the virtually immortal winged dragons who towered over even the largest member of the Clans was more than intimidating. In fact, the Clans were afraid of the arrogant dragons, who had gone out of their way to enhance that fear through the flagrant display of their huge teeth and claws. The first time the Æthereal had loosed a blast of flame across the ruddy sky, it had frightened many of the Clans so greatly, they had hidden their cubs.
The problem had been exacerbated by the refusal of the Æthereal to adopt any other form that would be more suitable to their surroundings, and less imposing to the Clans. The Æthereal had made it abundantly clear they regarded any other form as beneath them and spoke disparagingly of those other Æthereal who had adopted lesser forms to fit in.
The one blessing had been the Æthereal had gone elsewhere to feed. They claimed the shifted light spectrum from the red sun interfered with their appetites. Korin was grateful for that since the idea of seeing them consuming enough food to support those huge bodies was enough to give him nightmares for years.
Korin returned to Clan Home. It was typical of the dwellings used by all Clans, built entirely of natural materials carefully shaped to meet their needs. It contained chambers for the cubs, as well as various other rooms for the adults, kitchens, and communal spaces for their various activities. Once the cubs returned, it would be a very noisy place once again. For now, however, it only held the adults. He ducked his head as he entered the dwelling, since he was slightly taller than the doorway. As he expected, Clan Mother was waiting for him.
“Are they still gone?”
“Yes, Clan Mother, they are still gone.” He could see that Clan Mother had spent time with the other females because the patterns in her fur were new. Why anyone would spend hours manipulating the structure of individual hairs in a pelt to change their color was beyond Korin, but he had to admit the rippled pattern of the striping that now graced Clan Mother’s fur was quite beautiful. He supposed that decorating someone’s fur and transforming a stone into a striking piece of art were part of the same creative drive.
The booming voice of Clan Father came from behind Korin. “It has been almost one hundred days since the Æthereal left us. That is too long. Either those arrogant flying lizards have decided we are not worth their time, or something has happened.”
Korin dipped his head in respect to Clan Father. While not quite as tall as Korin, Clan Father was much more heavily muscled and there were white scars across his muzzle from one of his earlier battles to secure Clan leadership. While they may be civilized, there were still some legacies from the past too inbred to overcome; leadership through ritual combat was one of them. “I agree, Clan Father. Have the probes given us any insight into the cause for this prolonged silence from the Æthereal?”
“…adds a whole new dynamic to the Æthereal universe and this reviewer, for one, was absolutely enthralled by it. The Ursar are a wonderful addition to this literary world—invariably charming, completely fascinating, and a perfect match for humankind despite the sizable physical and culture differences between them and us.
If this series continues to improve, Love Romances will need to come up with a new rating of five and a half hearts just to do Mr. Wilcox and this fabulous series sufficient credit. This reviewer so enjoyed revisiting the Æthereal’s human partners, and watching their relationships develop—with one another and with the Ursar—that he truly hated to finish the book and set it aside.
This reviewer’s advice? Grab the nearest dragon and fly, not drive, to the nearest place to pick up a copy of this novel. If you like dragons or even giant purple bears, this book is not to be missed.”
Reviewed by Saje, LoveRomances.com, Rating: 4 ½ hearts
“I loved this book. This is the third book in a trilogy about the Æthereal. The plot was unique, creative, and interesting. The Ursars race enchanted me with their honor, culture, and intelligence. The political situation added an interesting angle to the cultural exploration of a newly discovered race. I liked having characters in the last book used again in this book. It was fun seeing how married life works for Spyder and Katherine. It also was interesting to see the relationship with these newlyweds with the other newlyweds, Danny and Katarina. Their evolving relationships and personal growth add a lovely and interesting touch to this intriguing tale. The expanding story that spans this series, leads me to hope for more books from Christopher W. Wilcox Sr. If you like fantastical, intelligent creatures in a modern setting, definitely give this series a try.”
Reviewed by Gretchen, Fallen Angel Reviews, Rating: Five Angels
“Christopher W. Wilcox Sr. is quite a talent at world-building in this near-futuristic science fiction series. He has the capacity of creating many new species and making them believable to the reader, yet without bludgeoning us with details. His characters are likeable and inspire our empathy, and the plot is sufficiently realistic and intertwined with current events such as the threat of terrorism. This reviewer plans now to read the first two entries in the series and is anticipating the upcoming fourth installment.”
Reviewed by Annie, Ecataromance.com, Rating: 5 stars
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 226
Paper Weight (lb): 10.6
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