OUTCAST
by Evangeline Anderson

March 2006
ISBN: 1-59596-427-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Changeling Press
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After her family’s name is tarnished, Sayana Nakaumura and her little sisters are considered tainted. No will provide them with a job or food, and they are slowly starving to death. Since death is preferable to living with the taint on their name, Sayana plans to take the honorable way out by committing Sun-dak-cho, a ritual involving suicide by poison, but first she has to see to her sisters’ futures.


Unable to find work even with the local “blossom” houses, Sayana is forced to travel to a Gwylo (meaning other) gambling ship where they hold nightly auctions. She plans to sell her virginity for the money to set her sisters up in a convent. Before she can even locate where the auction is to be held, Sayana is accosted by two huge men. Captain Caleb Joiner doesn’t want to get involved, but he can’t in good conscious just sit back while she’s raped. He rescues her from the two men and she passes out right in his arms.


Caleb realizes she’s half starved and asks her to share a meal with him. Though against her customs, she figures she needs her strength if she’s going to go through with the auction. While they eat, she tells him of her troubles and he’s astonished her family is being treated in such a way.


At the auction Caleb once again can’t idly sit back and watch while her virginity is being sold to the highest bidder. He places the wining bid and Sayana is relieved he is the winner. Caleb didn’t actually plan on taking her virginity, but Sayana explains she has to actually earn the money if she wants to redeem her family name. And while Caleb is so different from the men on her planet, she finds him very attractive, and his gentle ways make her feel far less uncomfortable.


When Caleb learns Sayana is planning on taking her life he realizes that he’s fallen in love with her, and doesn’t want to lose her. But will he be able to find and stop her before it’s too late?


This story reveals a culture very different than ours, but is painted in such a way we can understand why the heroine behaves as she does. And watching Caleb fall so quickly for a woman and then to feel powerless to help her will have you hoping he’s triumphant in his pursuit of her.


Reviewed in July 2006 by Jackie.

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