Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
Oh man this book was good. I truly enjoyed the world Mr. Coatsworth created. There was so much world building that pulled me into the place and made me feel like I was there. The science behind the hows and whys was sound. It was explained easily so I wasn’t lost, but not so dumbed down I feel like I’m being talked down to. The characters were amazingly developed and had me connecting with them immediately. The overarching plot lines and story are woven in a way that you are along for the journey but can see all the different threads as they’re woven together slowly. The storytelling is superb.
Xander was someone that was a little rough around the edges at first. He had plenty of reasons for those jagged angles and sharp personality that we slowly learn as the story unfolds. But his time with Jameson, Quince and Morgan smooth those out and you find a man that is so worth knowing and has a heart of gold. He cares for people deeply but tends to hide it. He slowly opens up about his feelings as he goes along and I loved watching that unfold. His love for Jameson is sweet as it develops but he’s torn through most of the book. I’ve got some questions about Xander’s feelings for Jameson based on things that happen as they journey through Oberon and Titania. But I have a feeling that is going to be addressed in the second book some.
Jameson grows the most in this book in my opinion. He gives up his whole life and changes everything. I have a feeling there’s some push back coming in the next book, especially because of the things that make me question Xander’s feelings a tiny bit. Ultimately I feel like Jameson is growing into who he’s supposed to be. He wants to see everything turn out alright in the end. I liked his realistic approach to things and how he was very aware of his own lack of choices in many instances. That frank self awareness was refreshing to see in a character. I can’t wait to see how he grows and changes in the next book.
Their relationship is slow building and had some bumps along the way. It’s got some helping hands as well. I’m eager to see how their feelings handle the test of time and the trials ahead for them and the world as a whole. They’re so in love by the end of this book. However there is clearly vastly more ahead for them so it’s not anywhere near a happily ever after. I’m eager to see what happens between these two in the next book.
The world built in this story is expansive. I completely got lost in all of the places, scenery, and problems facing everyone. There’s extensive work put into every detail of the world. This makes for a very rich story and one I couldn’t put down. There’s elements of science fiction and a tiny bit of fantasy and the blend makes for this amazing story that has me questioning and adoring and fascinated and eagerly reading and wanting more and more and more. I’m excited for the next book in the series to see where Mr. Coatsworth takes us next.
THAT ENDING THOUGH! There was a definitive sense of hope at the end of the last chapter. You knew there was more to come in the overall series. However you could tell things were looking up for Titania, Oberon, Xander, Jameson and everyone else. But then you get the epilogue! Oh my goodness that final half a page just blows you away and makes you wail with despair that you can’t immediately start reading book two right this very moment. I will eagerly away the next book because I absolutely have to know what happens next!
Four and a half
I’m so very excited to share the scene Scott wrote you can only find here. Jameson is a wonderful character in the story that I hope everyone connects with as much as I did. We get a glimpse at Jameson’s past and it’s important for him and what’s ahead, though he doesn’t know it yet. Read and enjoy!
The Red Box
J. Scott Coatsworth
Molly asked me to write a scene from one of my characters’ childhoods, so I chose to put pen to paper about Jameson’s childhood on Beta Tau. Here’s the day he first discovered he was different…
“Jameson Tucker Havercamp, you get out here right now.” His father’s booming voice reverberated throughout the house.
Jameson hid in the closet behind his mother’s Skeenfelden gown, its glimmering fabric shining a soft light on the walls around him. At nine years old, he was still scared to death of his father’s anger. And his father got angry often.
The closet door swung open, and Jameson huddled behind the dress, praying his father wouldn’t find him. He was in trouble for sneaking out of church with Todrick Collins, his best friend.
His father had threatened to tan his hide.
The door closed at last, and Jameson breathed a sigh of relief.
He waited for a few more moments, and then got up quietly. He peered at the light streaming through the slats of the door, and edged around the dress. His foot kicked something.
Jameson knelt and picked up a small red leather box. It was old—the leather was cracking at the corners. The box was tied shut with a fine black thread.
He sat back down in the dim closet light and unwound the string. He opened the box carefully and lifted the lid.
Inside was an old photograph—a photograph!—of a beautiful, sad looking woman with silver hair and white wings. He’d seen photographs before. His mother had a few on her bedside table. She had a fondness for antique things.
Mostly people used threedees these days.
Jameson turned it over. On the back, written in neat script, it said “To my dear Lyrin.”
He set it aside and pulled out a RunTab. Curious, he pressed a button.
A holo flickered into life, spinning above the tab… it was a world. Only there was something wrong with it. It was broken. Split in half—half a world.
Jameson stared at it and then at the photograph, wondering who she was. Why she was so sad.
Wondering what it would be like to fly.
With a sigh, he put the RunTab and the photo back in the box and sealed it up again, placing it back in the corner of the closet.
Then he went to face his father.
For the next week, he dreamed of flying every night.
My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!
Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.
Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.
His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.
The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.
A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….
He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.
Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.
The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.
For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.
When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.
“You’re still here.”
“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.
Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.
The man frowned. “I thought—”
“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”
The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.
I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.
He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.