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About Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwall

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.


Review of Winter’s Orbit

Winter’s Orbit is a captivating blend of scifi romance, political intrigue and mystery.

Mystery first.  Who killed Prince Taam?  What really happened?  Why?  Lots of questions.  Originally deemed an accident, troubles for our heroes seem to point to something more.

Iskat (Kiem’s world) is the ruling world in an alliance of several worlds that includes Jainan’s world Thea.  The Resolution that binds the worlds is about to be renewed and the Auditor is present to make sure that everything is in order.  When he points out that things may not be in order, things get complicated.  As part of the Resolution process, the Auditor is also collecting remnants (ancient alien artifacts).  This is not a casual bit of the Resolution process – the remnants will play a role in the story, giving the story a part of its scifi aspect.

Of all the characters, Prince Kiem seems the least devious.  He is charming, sometime playboyish, and really prefers to stay away from it all.  But when he ends up in an arranged marriage with Prince Jainan, he will not be able to avoid all the plotting.  Jainan appears, at first, to be extremely serious and timid.  Not at all the type to get involved in intrigue.  But both are swept up in the scheming and cannot avoid the intrigue, plotting and maybe even an assassination attempt.

Winter’s Orbit is as much romance as mystery.  Maybe more.  Kiem and Jainan both think the other does not want the marriage.  At he same time, they are attracted to each other.  As they become more acquainted, misunderstandings will continue to get in the way of the romance, while at the same time they start to fall for each other.  Ultimately, their relationship will be integral to solving the mysteries, overcoming the intrigue and making everything right in the universe.

I really liked that the story placed no emphasis on gender or race or sexuality.  Everything was accepted.

What I also really liked is the hopeful, happy ending.

Thanks to the publisher who provided an advance copy of this book.



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