Rating: 3.5 stars
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Sergeant Liam Jacks is balanced on the fine edge between madness and sanity. He is routinely plagued by violent nightmares from his time in the war and any peace he finds in the BDSM sessions with his captain are fleeting. Liam is desperate for something, he just doesn’t know what. He serves as security officer for the Santa Claus, a transport vessel that occasionally takes passengers, which is how he meets Hadrian Jamieson. Beautiful, deadly, and mysterious, Hadrian is both elusive and gets under Liam’s skin all at once. Liam isn’t sure what to make of Hadrian, but he finds himself fascinated by the man. But just as an attraction blossoms between them, Hadrian is dragged back into the life he was desperate to escape. Now, in order to save Hadrian, Liam must risk everything, even his life. And in the end, it might not be enough to bring Hadrian back.
The Luxorian Fugitive was a frustrating mix of enjoyable action and eye rolling dramatics. The writing is generally well paced and the book moves smoothly. There are a couple slower areas, but these don’t last long. The action is strong and there are several shootouts and moments of explosive violence involving Hadrian captured my attention. I wouldn’t call them particularly graphic, so don’t worry if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing.
There are actually two separate romances here and the one between Hadrian and Liam is by far the strongest. Hadrian is intriguing and the unraveling of his past serves as a focal point for the story. Liam’s struggles to deal with his actions during the war are poignant and while his infatuation with Hadrian feels rushed, their relationship is generally well rounded. The other romance between the captain of the Santa Claus, Marc Danverse, and a young engineer called Mac, doesn’t work within the context of the wider story. It seems to detract from what’s happening between Hadrian and Liam and while Danverse is a critical part of Liam’s past, he doesn’t always fit into his present.
There are times when The Luxorian Fugitive tips from a space opera into full-blown dramatic nonsense. The kind that made me roll my eyes and want to shut the book. These moments generally involve Liam who, second to Hadrian, is the most complex character. And while I appreciate his complexity, his tendency to slip into overwrought dramatics is annoying to say the least. There is a some BDSM here, so if that’s an issue, consider yourself notified. There’s also what I find to be an excessive focus on jockstraps — and if that’s a turn on for you then you’ll probably be happy.
Overall The Luxorian Fugitive is one of those books that falls right in the middle. It has a fair amount to recommend it, not the least of which are two compelling main characters. But there are times the story loses focus and there are side plots tend to distract rather than add to the narrative. Science fiction fans will probably find something to enjoy here.