Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tour Review/Giveaway!! Escapee, by Edward Hoornaert

Welcome to the Escapee Blog Tour, 
sponsored by 
Bewitching Book Tours!!

For my stop, I am presenting a review of this novel! There's also a
tour-wide giveaway!! 

(Repelling the Invasion, Book 2)
Edward Hoornaert
Kindle Edition, 262 pages
Cover Artist: Eerilyfair Design
April 19, 2016
Romance, Science Fiction

This follows book 1, Guardian Angel of Farflung Station.
The books in this series can be read in any 
order, or as standalones.

A Disillusioned Soldier

Hector Dukelsky, an upper-class career officer, yearns to fight a righteous war instead of defending corporate interests on Banff, an isolated mining moon. That dream seems dead when his entire command is slaughtered while he’s away, leaving him alone in smouldering rubble with no chance to survive, let alone strike back at the enemy.

A Pilot with a Chip on Her Shoulder

Catt Sayer, a working-class fugitive from the law, earns a meagre income carrying supplies on a decrepit airship, but her hard-won life vanishes when invaders capture Banff. While searching for survivors, she rescues Hector and flies him to safety. But he doesn’t want safety. He wants her to risk her life on a hopeless journey to attack the enemy headquarters.

A Dying Moon

Catt is sure Banff will kill them long before the enemy can … yet she agrees to Hector’s scheme, certain he’ll quit after experiencing one of the moon’s eruptions or ferocious storms. But he doesn’t quit, and slowly his noble dream—and his love—conquer her heart. She pits her life and love against Banff’s lethal environment, even though the only reward for success will be the opportunity to face ten thousand enemy warriors.

Purchase Links

Complimentary copies of this novel 
were available for reviewers, but I
was so intrigued by it that I
preferred to buy my own copy. All 
opinions are my own.   

It's been a while since I've read a good science fiction novel.  I was therefore very interested in this one, as it combines romance with science fiction, which are two of my favorite genres. And what a terrific story it was!

The author states, in one of the posts on his website, that he actually based the plot of this novel on that of a famous romantic film of the 1950s, "The African Queen", which starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. The characters both start off hating each other, but, by the end of the movie, have fallen madly in love with each other. 

In Escapee, Catt Sayer is an airship pilot, and she rescues Hector Dukelsky, who is the commander of a fort on Banff, a moon circling a planet in an unknown galaxy. 

The fireworks begin as soon as they meet, although Hector is much more mild-mannered than Catt. 

The other characters in the novel are Lance, who is Catt's android co-pilot, and Kelaini, an enemy invader. Two animals are included, as well -- a kitten and an alien animal known as a "skoot", who acts like a very affectionate dog, although he resembles an alligator to some extent, and has six legs.  The comical actions of this strange animal made me laugh at certain points in the story.

The world building in this novel is very well-done, and totally convincing. Furthermore, the airship, its mechanisms, and the current technology, were all meticulously detailed. Yet, these technical explanations were not too long, nor did they take away from the story.  

What truly makes this book shine, aside from all the SF elements, is the characters and their relationships. Hector and Catt are total opposites -- he's a highborn career officer, and she, a peasant fleeing from the law. He's a stickler for duty, even if it's unpleasant, while she's a devil-may-care survivor. She basically flies the airship by the seat of her pants throughout most of the story, since her 'fadar' (short for 'far radar') conks out during one scene. 

The dialogues between these two are incredibly funny at times, with Catt determined to show Hector who's boss, while Hector is equally determined to get her to help him with what she views as a suicide mission -- a surprise attack on an enemy base. 

I just totally adored Lance, the android! This name is short for "Lancelot", which strikes me as a rather comical reference to the tales of King Arthur, and the whole knight-in-shining armor thing. 

Lance immediately reminded me of a combination of three other science fiction characters who are very familiar to all of us SF fans -- Mr. Spock and Data, from Star Trek, and C-3PO, from the first three Star Wars movies. 

Lance, is, of course, perfectly logical, and perfectly efficient. Yet, he also had me in stitches at times. Of course, he takes everything literally, since he's an android, not a human. Paradoxically, he's constantly trying to come up with good jokes, but doesn't quite succeed. And he has the unfortunate tendency to call Hector "Captain A-Hole", which is Catt's nickname for Hector. Lance has heard her call him this on many occasions, so he's picked it up himself.

Catt is very fond of Lance, and considers him her best friend, instead of a very lifelike machine (he looks like a hunk and has a very sexy voice) programmed to serve as her co-pilot. In spite of his nature as a machine, Lance, too, seems to feel something for Catt. Their friendship certainly has some poignant touches to it.

At one point in the story, I laughed out loud at a dialogue between Catt and Lance. One of his replies to her instructions would have been worthy of Mr. Spock, Data, or C3PO: "If you order it, I  believe I can hit a human over the head with non-lethal intent. It will require altering built-in algorithms so I can calculate the safest speed to produce unconsciousness, rather than serious injury." 

Kelaini, the enemy pilot, and a Proximanian (from a neighboring planet), is also funny at times, although he's also rather crude and disgusting in his behavior toward Catt.

Another aspect of this novel  I really enjoyed was its subtle psychological  underpinnings. The initial struggle between Catt and Hector is based not only on male-female power struggles, but on class differences, as well. It's clear to see that Catt has been traumatized by her experiences with the abusive patroon in her past. Hector is disillusioned with his military career, and wonders if he might be a lesser man than his twin brother, who is nicknamed "Duke". 

The novel has quite a bit of action, especially toward the end, and it made me keep swiping the text on my Kindle app nonstop, while volcanoes erupted, missiles flew close by, and our heroes valiantly attempted to do some damage to the enemy base. The author's descriptions here were very vivid, and created the necessary tension. 

Hoornaert also does something very interesting in this novel -- he has invented a funny substitute for "the F bomb". For instance, both Catt and Hector (never Lance, interestingly enough) use variations of the word "plark" a lot. Catt especially seems to love to use this word, with such exclamations as "Plark it!", "Shut the plark up", and "Plarking patroon manners!"

Although I did think that the romance was a bit rushed, thus making it less believable, I also think that, all in all, Escapee is a great story, one that seamlessly combines two seemingly disparate genres -- science fiction and romance. It contains great characters, many touches of humor, and a very interesting futuristic backdrop. I would definitely recommend this very entertaining novel to anyone who, like me, loves both science fiction and romance! In fact, I'm seriously considering re-reading it in the very near future! I'm also planning to read the first book in this series, and looking forward to the third!             


What kind of guy writes romance? A guy who married his high school sweetheart a week after graduation and still lives the HEA decades later. A guy who's a certifiable Harlequin hero -- he inspired NY Times bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson to write her favorite Harlequin Temptation, Mr. Valentine, which is dedicated to him, and was a Rita Award finalist. (This book is currently available as a Kindle edition, under the Harlequin Blaze label.)

Ed started out writing romances for Silhouette Books, but these days he concentrates on science fiction romance. He's been a teacher, principal, technical writer, salesman, janitor, and symphonic oboist. He and wife Judi live in Tucson, Arizona. They have three sons, a daughter, a mutt, and the galaxy's most adorable grandson.

To view the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!


  1. Wow, this is a very thorough review. Your enthusiasm bubbles through loud and clear. Thanks very much!

    1. Hi, Ed!

      You're very welcome! Thanks for the compliment, too!!

      I am very enthusiastic because this is a really GREAT story! Also, "The African Queen" happens to be one of my favorite movies, too, and I think you did a terrific job of using the basic story with an outer space setting!

      Now I want to read the first book in this series, as well as the third one you've just finished!

      Live long and prosper, and may the Force be with you!!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!! :)


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