Kier Mallory is an environmental activists for Peace Warriors, working to disrupt whaling ships and call attention to their actions. When Mallory makes a decision that leads to the deaths of two of his crew mates, he leaves Peace Warriors in disgrace and heads home to his small village in northern Scotland. Everyone there has heard the news about what happened and wants nothing to do with him. At a loss for how to move forward, Mallory goes to Spindrift, a former artist colony by the sea and a place he used to take refuge at as a child.
When Mallory gets to Spindrift, he sees the place is abandoned and mostly in ruins. The only resident is Vivian Calder, son of the former Laird of Calder, who is conducting scientific experiments in the rundown camp. When Vivian tells Mallory what he is working on — he has figured out the secrets of cold fusion — Mallory can’t believe it at first. Something like this would change the world, providing clean, renewable energy that wouldn’t impact the environment.
Even though Vivian isn’t ready to share the news publicly, Mallory can’t help himself and makes a call that changes everything for them. Because not everyone is happy to learn about Vivian’s discovery. The oil companies stand to lose a lot of money and they are willing to do whatever it takes to stop Vivian’s progress. Before the men know it, they face one attempt on their lives after another. It has only taken a short time for Mallory and Vivian to fall for one another, but they may not escape with their lives in order to have a future together.
Oh, I just love Harper Fox’s writing you guys. It is so moving and beautiful and she can create a sense of place so strongly you feel like you are there. Fox just has a way with words that is so eloquent and totally captivating.
I think what I liked best here are these two characters. Mallory is a guy that can be a little hard to like, and I kind of love that. He starts off the book proud and a bit arrogant. He is dedicated to Peace Warriors and only looking to do good things, but his ego gets in the way a little bit and things take a devastating turn. And again, when he learns about Vivian’s discovery, part of him is thinking of himself, of how he can redeem himself by bringing this discovery to light. Twice his impulsiveness leads him into trouble. But what I love is that he is a guy who learns and grows from his mistakes. His remorse is real and he owns up to what he did. But on top of that, he is also just a good guy. When Viv needs him, Mallory is there no matter what. His dedication to Vivian, his willingness to do anything for the man he has grown to love, is a sign that there is much more to him that what we first see on the surface. I just love how Fox has made him a complex and really fascinating character.
Vivian is so well drawn as well. We can tell right away that he is a bit different. From the start he is awkward at interacting and has trouble totally engaging with Mallory. He needs a lot of control over his life and his environment. Vivian is brilliant, a genius who can change there world, but also has trouble with a lot of every day things. I loved the mix of intelligence and naiveté with Vivian. He has lived a very sheltered life and Mallory opens him up to so much more. I loved the way the relationship between the two men makes such an impact on both of them.
Cold Fusion also has an exciting suspense element as Mallory and Vivian face assailants who are trying to kill them. Mallory had no idea what he was unleashing by revealing Vivian’s discovery, and the two must escape killers and hide away together. I think the story balances the relationship elements and the suspense so well. We get a mix of both all along, giving us time to focus on the growth of their love affair, and time for the excitement of the chase. The balance is great and the story manages to be exciting, but also incredibly moving, romantic, and touching. The scene where the guys get together sexually for the first time is one of the best “first times” I have read; it just fits the characters so perfectly. I will tell you, there are times when I wondered if this book would have a happy ending, that is how dire things get at points. I just loved how it all comes together.
As I mentioned, Fox has a way with words, especially in developing her setting. As with many of her stories, this one takes place in Scotland, both in the remote northern coast and in the isolated frozen mountains. Having been to Scotland, I will tell you reading her books gives my heart a pang because she captures the beauty of the country so well. Fox just paints wonderful pictures with her words that make you feel you are right there with the characters.
This is a story that just touched me. I found it lovely, moving, and romantic. At times it was thrilling, at others somewhat haunting. And overall, this story is just so wonderfully done, I couldn’t recommend it more highly.