The Guardians have marked Zed Anatolius for destiny. They saved his life after an AEF experiment left him a shell of his former self. But even with his health restored, his future is far from secure. What Zed knows about Project Dreamweaver poses a threat to the AEF and his determination to save the other soldiers abandoned by the project threaten him and the crew of the Chaos. Upon reaching space station Alpha, Zed finds himself greeted by the family who thought him dead and a very determined military tribunal.
Zed is excited to reconnect with his brothers and parents, but his lover Felix is left struggling to find his place among the rich and powerful Anatolius family. As he drifts at the edges of belonging, several months of stress begin to take their toll on the always emotionally volatile Felix. When the AEF closes in on Zed, Felix must find the strength to rescue the man he loves. With the Chaos supporting them, Zed and Felix challenge the AEF and risk everything to claim their measure of justice.
Skip Trace is another fantastic addition to the Chaos Station series. The authors continue to create believable action sequences that capture the reader’s attention while offering an emotional gut punch that never feels too saccharine. These books are each direct sequels to one another, so you really have to start with the first in the series, Chaos Station, followed by Lonely Shore. Trust me when I say you won’t be sorry once you’ve started the series!
In Skip Trace, Zed and Felix are caught between two impossible forces: Zed’s family and the military, each of whom want Zed for different reasons. Zed is healthy and sane for the first time in months and more aware than ever that the AEF left him to rot after the end of the Stin War. His loyalty to the Project Dreamweaver teammates is admirable, but this same devotion keeps he and the crew of the Chaos in constant threat of imprisonment and death. And despite the fact he has his full health for the first time since the war, his relationship with Felix is fraying at the edges. Their love for one another is never in doubt, but their ability to sustain that love in the face of so much tension is a constant challenge. Their struggle to save what they have is displayed with poignancy and a visceral descriptiveness that really tugs at the heartstrings. As a reader it is impossible not to love these men and want them to find some measure of happiness together.
So much of the series has been about Zed and his return from the brink of death, but Skip Trace reminds the reader that Felix was a prisoner of war and continues to suffer as a result. As he drifts away from Zed, his ability to cope with his past and the horrors he endured begins to crumble. His mental anguish is palpable and his desperation to find some escape feels natural both to the character and the situation. Neither of he or Zed are incapable without one another, but nor are they truly complete and that is never more evidence than in Skip Trace.
The crew of the Chaos had less prominence in Skip Trace and, while they were still present, the focus was far more on Felix and Zed. Given Felix’s devotion to the Chaos, it’s hard to imagine the one far from the other. His potential separation from the ship added another layer of great tension to the plot.
This series continues to get stronger and there are least two more books forthcoming so I’m definitely looking forward to them. Skip Trace is the best of the books so far and the ending created another potentially amazing avenue for series growth. If you love books with serious heart and enough sci-fi action to satisfy, then definitely check out Skip Trace.