Publisher: Blue Feather Publishing
Jordana Laren lives on the edge. As a freighter pilot, she'll take just about any job, no matter what side of the law it's on. When she's not working, she can be found in a bar drinking, fighting and chasing women. Her latest questionable job ends when her ship is stolen and she's marooned on a harsh penal colony with no food, water or weapons. Things only get worse when she learns that an enemy from her past is on the planet and intends to kill her. Rescue appears in the form of the Noorthi, a group of women who are religious mystics with legendary secret powers and, unfortunately for Jordana, a tendency to be pacifists. All Jordana wants to do is get off of this planet alive, but the Noorthi proclaim her their Ratha, their prophesized protector, and she finds herself trying to devise a plan to save all of them. Eventually she finds herself drawn into a world of crime and political corruption that she wants nothing to do with, but she never could resist a damsel in distress and she has a ship full of them. Jordana is a reluctant hero, but she'll play the part to help the Noorthi, possibly to her death.
Fans of Lawson's first book Possessing Morgan will be surprised if they're expecting to read another mystery. Instead she has created a speculative fiction story that unfolds like an epic and it seems to have shades of influence from the Star Wars movies. Jordana is very reminiscent of Han Solo, a rogue with a heart of gold who can't resist a cry for help, and she has her own Princess Lea in Beri, the hereditary leader of the Noorthi. The story isn't derivative, but many scenes will feel familiar. Jordana seems particularly inept at what she's doing, but she's surrounded by a supporting cast of friends that gets her out of trouble. The story also has undertones of an old Western with cowboys and bad guys, only it's set in space. The pace is good though and many of the characters are appealing. Although sexual activities are referred to, except for some general descriptions, they are very few; however, there are some surprises in that area.
The Chronicles of Ratha: Children of the Noori is intended to be the first in a series. It will be interesting to see how Lawson develops the characters and situations in later books.