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Fire Sanctuary by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
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First novel published; nominee for Campbell award based on it. Third in Nualan timeline.
  Alfreda89 | Sep 5, 2012 |
Nuala is a radioactive planet, whose inhabitants are descended from a scientific expedition who were unable to leave after the radioactivity damaged their ships beyond repair and have struggled with their species' fertility ever since. They are ruled by a hereditary monarchy, with a brother and sister of the Atare family ruling in each generation and the titles of Atare and Ragaree passing down the female line. Nominally part of the Axis (a federation of planets currently at war with two other groups), and close to the front line, they are abandoned to their fate when the front line shifts. After the bombs have rained down on Nuala, the Atares have to re-build their city and make a deal with the desert tribes to help them become self-sufficient in food, whilst also dealing with a rival aristocrat's treachery.

I have never heard of this author before, but I really enjoyed this book. Apparently there are a couple of sequels, but looking at Amazon it seems that her books might not be published in the UK (this copy came from America). "Fire Sanctuary" reminded me of the Darkover novels and is the sort of thing I used to read when I was a teenager, so even though I hadn't read it before, reading it made me feel somewhat nostalgic. ( )
  isabelx | Dec 22, 2011 |
As a Nualan Princess prepares to wed an Axis warrior, the pair discovers that enemies abound, both from Nuala and from off-world. Survival is foremost on everyone's mind.

Fire Sanctuary was the first published of Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's Chronicles of Nuala, so the reader may notice a little bit of style change between this and the other novels of the series. This story takes place on the same planet; however it is many years after the stories told in the other two books in the series, so it fits in at either end of the series right now, or as a stand-alone novel to be read at any time. Some of the characters in this novel are related to some characters in the other two novels.

I found the novel to be skillfully written, the characters well developed. As with the other two novels, this one grabs the reader and won't let go. Fire Sanctuary is a suspense-filled page turner that readers of science fiction won't want to miss.

After awhile, I discovered that, despite what I had thought at the beginning of this book, my affinity for these characters turned out to be as strong as my affinity for the main characters in the other two books; I just took longer to realize that fact. Realizing that I want to read more Chronicles of Nuala didn't take nearly as long... Now that I've finished the series, there's that sadness of leaving friends behind but also a hopefulness that Ms. Kimbriel will want to write more stories of this interesting world.

Recommended to adult readers of science fiction and fantasy, and to those looking for something a little different from mainstream fiction. I'm on the edge of my seat now... This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com. ( )
  1dragones | Aug 22, 2011 |
interesting but slightly confused in places with too large a cast it becomes tricky to remember who is who and to whom they are related. A fair amount of mild romance (though not sex) peppers this entertaining soft SF exploration of life on a radioactive world - and through it, the usual questions of who to trust and the meaning of love. Technically and chronologically this is the start of the Nuala Series, but has been published third in the ebooks, and doesn't relate to either of the other books significantly - it can be read as a standalone,

The basic world premise isn't too complicated, a world was discovered and a colony founded in haste, some 5000 years ago. Unfortunetly the scientists discovered only too late how high the background radioactivity was, and also the presense of a metal devouring microbe that destroyed the arriving spaceships. The ruling Empire took it's time in attempting rescue and subsequent galactic wars haven't improved it's standing with the survivors. Our two heros, Moran and Lyte, don't really care about such history. Moran is there to renew his aquiantance with the beautiful woman he met when she was abroad, and Lyte to keep his head on him. This all falls by the wayside when the local war expands to bomb the planet, just as a political coup is attempted.

It's a complex plot that slowly unravels as the story progresses, and it mostly makes sense. The action follows various characters from time to time and it is mostly clear who is involved. This is not my favourite style of writing, but it works well enough. The intricate clan structure and personal relationships are carefully revealed without massive infodumps of names. The guise of an ignorant stowaway provides many excuses for the natives to explain loval customs.

Enjoyable and inventive if not totally beliveable, it is an fun look at anotehr way of living. ( )
  reading_fox | Jul 11, 2011 |
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Nuala means survival. Survival against all odds, all enemies, all fortune. Moran, a decorated soldier is about to marry a Nualan princess, but heirs to power and wealth have enemies, both homegrown and interstellar. There are those who would kill to keep an Axis warrior from marrying a Nualan ... and who think it's the perfect smoke screen to conceal where the border is about to shift.… (more)

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