Five stars     

 

It all started with that shipment of sunstones..

 

Ming Dalmani is a junior crew member on her uncle’s ship when she is captured by Renasco, the company that monopolizes all deep space shipping. She is robbed of her memories and spends twenty years in coldsleep. When they wake her, she is trained as a calligrapher and sentenced to serve the artificially youthful Holjpip Langelleik as punishment for the “crimes” she can’t remember. Renasco commands that Ming spy on her employer and pass any intelligence on. If she refuses, the price could be what few precious memories remain- or even her life.

Renasco commands that Ming spy on her employer and pass any intelligence on. If she refuses, the price could be what few precious memories remain- or even her life.

Tieg Innig is Holjpip Langelleik’s tone poet. He’s a master musician, but also a man of hidden loyalties, secret goals, and a not exactly spotless past. Many women admire Madame Langelleik’s handsome, aloof musician, but he has eyes for only one….the shy, quiet and gifted calligrapher Madame has just hired.

 

Holjpip Langelleik is the mistress of the planet Mannheim, and also the ambassador of its Renasco overlords. She appears to be in her early twenties, but her shrewd negotiation skills don’t match her smooth face and abundant, gorgeous hair. She’s married to her job and her goals..but what are they, exactly?

 

 

This science fiction romance is masterfully written. Ming and Tieg’s adventures kept me up late, and my husband had to remind me, again, that I needed to sleep. The characters were engrossing- a heroine like shy, quiet Ming is a welcome break from the raft of outspoken women that most science fiction books offer.

 

One character makes several references to the Ancient, but only in passing. I’m assuming that is a reference to God and hope to see more of it in future books. Other than that, there is an element of a group of people who may or may not be Christians (referred to by a different name). The low amount of overt religious content (and no doctrinal positions at all, so far) makes it a great choice for both non Christians and Christians who prefer a “less is more” approach to their christian fiction.

 

This book teems with three dimensional characters. As Ming’s memory returns, her choices become more painful and real. Tieg’s reserved manner hides an inner turmoil. I really liked all three main characters, but I think my favorite character was Holjpip. Her character is perfectly executed. I would tell you more, but that would be spoilers. That’s not to say that this book was perfect. I’ve thought for years that the “man is injured, so woman is forced to see him with his shirt off” trope is old and should have been retired yesterday. Likewise, the passing reference to um, group romantic encounters was plot relevant but in my opinion could have been accomplished by other means. Still, the intricate worldbuilding and interplanetary intrigue were enough to make me forget my objections and look forward to the next book. If you’re a fan of Dune or Star Trek, I think you will enjoy this beautifully intricate book filled with mystery and intrigue.

 

Age recommendation; 16+ due to mature themes.

 

Genre: Christian science fiction

 

Content ratings:

Heat: Reference to a woman wearing a “transparent blue leotard barely suitable for public wear”. At one point a man has his shirt off for medical reasons, and there are romantic thoughts on both sides (but about nothing more than kissing). There is a reference in passing to some kind of group um, romantic encounters, but none of the named characters participate in or approve of it, and the reader is never asked to imagine it.

Profanity: none

 

Violence: there is violence by a protagonist in self defense/defense of others. None of it is gory, glamorized or extensively described.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book with a request for an unbiased review.
Crystal Witness is available on Amazon.

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