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Don’t be fooled by the title of this novel! This is no erotically drooling lust fest…in fact, the term “Forced Mate” refers to a chess maneuver. And, like a carefully executed chess game, this story unfolds in a series of moves, ploys and counter-strategies that will keep you spellbound.
At its heart? The King - in this case, Prince Tarrant-Arragon, a well-traveled and much-maligned ruler who has dropped by the planet Earth to locate his “Queen”, a human-Saurian half-breed aptly named Djinni-vera, who happens to have some rather powerful Djinn ancestors.
Okay. This is fantasy on a mega-scale, and I offer a caveat to the unwary - be prepared to find your mind challenged, your adrenaline pumped and your funny-bone tickled until you’re laughing hysterically. In other words, find a nice quiet corner out of the public eye to enjoy this complex novel. There’s a plethora of charming characters running amok through this tale, and although Tarrant-Arragon and his pursuit of Djinni form the core, they’re ably supported by so many delightful secondary “pieces” that the game spreads evenly across the board. The political moves within the galactic races involved are as complex as the most convoluted chess stratagems, and the determined pursuit of his reluctant bride by an enormously appealing (and handsome as all get-out) Prince is a rich delight. Ms. Cherry’s humor is a delightful blend of British subtlety and French farce, and never brighter than in the would-be seduction scenes. Tarrant-Arragon pursues…Djinni countermoves. Their delightfully British advisor Grievous (read it and figure that one out) plays a crucial role - he may be a pawn, but he’s as important as any Knight on the board.
Having just about exhausted my chess analogies, I’ll simply conclude by wholeheartedly recommending this sparkling and literate gem. If you’re a fan of romance, galactic adventure, and chess - liberally sprinkled with humor - then this unique tale is guaranteed to please. Checkmate!