Reviewed by Ian Lipke
This was not her bedroom…The memories rushed back: Valentin, poison, her grandmother, the hospital, small gangster bears, muscled warmth around her, a bass heartbeat against her ear.
Silver allowed the deluge to crash over her… (82)
This is a pretty amazing story! It combines elements from the best that romance writing has to offer with a thriller’s suspense-filled moments in a paranormal soup that is enlivening and no doubt healthy. If stirring one’s brains and thinking is good for us, then this is the tonic we need.
Nalini Singh has done it all before. Readers of the Guild Hunter series (Angel’s Blood, Archangel’s Kiss and many more) or the Psy-Changeling series (Visions of Heat, Caressed by Ice and again many more) will attest to that. This is the beginning of a new enterprise. We learn that in October 2082 Psy, human and changeling agreed to cooperate to unite their divided world. Known as the Trinity Accord, this spirit of cooperation is “the fragile foundation of all their hopes and dreams of a future without war, without violence, without shattering loss” (1). But it is not all positive. Others seek to spread chaos and death and division.
This is Nalini Singh’s Age of Trinity. This book is also our introduction to a huge bear with the unrequited passion of a Titan, an outwardly cold and severe maiden with a mind of flint or burnished steel who decides what the bear is seeking has been right there with her all the time, and that her awakening is a very satisfactory process indeed. Increasing sound levels crash in on her ‘good times’ to threaten her with destruction, her grandmother grows fiercer by the minute – she was a scary piece of work from birth is my impression – and some nasty individuals threaten to spoil everybody’s party through assassinations and bombings. That the heroes of this tale will deal with all that is never in doubt.
The story hangs together very well. There are no flat spots where the giving of essential information hinders the flow of events. That is all accounted for in dialogue or through ways that succeed in doing this task at a level below the reader’s consciousness. The conversations between the protagonists sparkles with repartee and, in places where appropriate, passion. Often scenes are simply heartwarming.
“Sex and emotion,” he murmured. “That’s the explosive combination. People kill for love, die for love. But even if it doesn’t get that far, affection is a prerequisite to intimate skin privileges in my book. Kisses have to be on the menu, along with a million other small acts that build bonds no one can break.”
Silver ignored the latter part of his statement; it was too dangerous. “I don’t understand affection” (191).
Singh places her novels in exotic places that are usually imagined. Much of this story is set in a hidden camp that is home for a clan of bears. The North American brown bear comes to mind but this is never divulged. All we need to know is that they are bears who love touching, hugging and playing – and are happiest when someone throws a party. Imagine a debauch without nastiness and you’re close to the mark. There are bear families and cute cubs to get up to mischief.
There is a nasty villain who wants to upset the Accord. The author reveals the identities of the lieutenants but never enlightens her readers with the name of the mastermind. References to suicide bombers give this tale a sense of occurring in our time. (It is in fact 2082).
There are places in the story where credibility becomes strained. There appears to be no facility for divorce since breaking the mateship bond virtually destroys one or other of the partnership. The tale that Silver and her ‘brother’ Arwen, born within ten minutes of each other, both possessing exceptional gifts and depth of understanding, seemed unlikely. Finally, a highly sophisticated society is drawn for our gaze, with information technology far advanced, and government (presumably) surveillance beyond scary, but for what? To what end? There seems to be a lack of a belief system or, as we would say, a faith. Such tremendous advances in human thought, such giving up of privilege to allow wholesale spying upon the citizens of the Accord, must have an end towards which everyone is working.
I guess Nalini Singh was out to do no more than tell a cracking yarn. She’s done that. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers.
By Nalini Singh