Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
It’s been a year and a year and a half since Bennet returned from T-18. Eighteen months since he last saw Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. Things with Joss are just as rocky as ever since his return from that mission. So Bennet was half relieved when Rosie, his second in command picks up him for his next mission, the evacuation of illegal settlers on the planet Telnos. The religious sect that settled there believes it is just a government plot to control them. However, the Maess drones and ships do show up while Bennet and crew are trying to convince one settlement to leave. Several are killed during the attack, including children, which Bennet sees as a senseless waste of life. As the Shield team moves the survivors toward the cutter, Bennet is hit in the helmet with a laser blast. Rosie gets the remaining survivors on board and leaves the planet, unable to retrieve Bennet.
Back on Albion and the Gyrfalcon word spreads of Bennet’s death. This news hits the family hard, along with Bennet’s partner Joss. Joss goes into a depression because of the way he has treated his relationship with Bennet over the past nine years. He regrets the dozens of affairs that he had while Bennet was off on missions. He makes an ancient sacrifice to the old gods to help guide Bennet’s soul into the afterlife. Among the pieces he buries is a heart scarab, the symbol of a heart place keeper of a mummy, which Bennet particularly liked. When the family attends the midnight watch (the equivalent of a memorial service), Rosie suggests to Caeden, Bennet’s father, that they send another mission to rescue whatever survivors were left to honor Bennet.
When his family does not know is that Bennet survived the attack. He has been living with a group of miners that failed to get off the planet when the Maess attacked. He and the chief miner Ifan round up what is left of the human population on the planet that they can find and bring them into the mines for safety. When his comm link buzzes, he realizes that against all normal protocol, Shield has returned and that he will be rescued. During the rescue however, he suffers a direct laser blast to his knee, once again putting his life in danger. His family, Joss, Flynn and Rosie must now deal with the consequences of Bennet’s return.
This second book in Anna Butler’s Taking Shield series deals with the emotional and psychological effects of relationships and war. Bennet is still trying to process his reunion with his father. Joss, having used different men to deal with the loneliness of Bennet’s absence, finds that they were all pointless. When he learns of Bennet’s affair with Flynn, the question becomes if it is worse to have several different affairs that mean nothing or one affair that means something. Flynn is all confused as to why Caeden is so interested in helping him with Bennet. After all is said and done, it seems no one escapes this drama without some heartache.
The cover art by Wilde City Press has Bennet superimposed inside a Shield badge against a star filled sky. I think it is very appropriate for the book.
EBook, 396 pages
Edition Language: English
Published: July 22, 2015 by Wilde City Press
Series: Taking Shield
Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)
Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)