They've taken everything from him. Except his name.
The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.
Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.
Hidden rooms, information caches and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeder's Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.
Rachel Leigh Smith's début novel, this book stands head and shoulders above many I've read in the last year, in with a very select group of excellent tales. It tells the story of A'yen Mesu, a Loks Mé slave, as he discovers a considerable amount about who he is, who his people are, and how his future is intricately entwined with those of his people.
The vision of this book is immediately vast, with interspecies conflict, vast empires, and natural, human fear. Humanity doesn't get let off lightly in this story, and neither do the slaves, viciously enslaved by another race. The way in which the Loks Mé are controlled by their masters/mistresses/humans, by magnetic ink tattoos, is a very intriguing part of this universe. Rachel will likely have you in tears and wishing certain people were DEAD before the end of the book.
By no means an easy book to read, the end is very satisfying and clearly there is more to come. Excellent stuff.