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The Wildcat’s Victory
Book Two
Click one of the above links to purchase an eBook.

ISBN-10: 1-55404-538-X
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 411 Pages
Published: January 2008
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Join Gisel Matah as she gallops over battlefields at the head of Iskander’s 3rd Cavalry in this sequel to "Deadly Enterprise".

While the Iskander_Felger partnership increases in power and influence, and her lover Yohan extends their transportation network up the Lubitz River with a fleet of steam tugs, Gisel becomes involved in a bold strategy to end the Empire’s siege of neighbouring Leki.

Undercover intrigue opens the adventure when an agent of hers is murdered aboard one of their own vessels. Then she has to lie to friends to protect the fledgling Radical movement she hopes may one day lead their allies to more egalitarian governments. Her relationship falters when both she and Yohan keep secrets from the other because the Baron has Yohan smuggle a steam engine to the Empire.

Her old enemy Zagdorf lurks in the background to harm her and Iskander, but the greatest challenge she must meet is facing down the psychopathic Crown Prince of Skathia who threatens them all with destruction. Iskander’s steam engines and artillery are coveted by both enemies and friends. Some see Iskander’s technology as a liberating force and some fear it as a demon. Who knows better how their hopes and fears for the future will fare than Gisel, regarded by the superstitious Prince as ’daughter of the man who mates fire and water’?

Her old lover, General Lord Ricart, causes her and Yohan a terriffic row when he offers her a cavalry command. Yohan strives to calm his jealousy and his fear for her as she goes to war, and even plays his own part in the action. The future of many nations hinges on her tactical and negotiating skills in a confrontation along the Makberg River, not far from the location at Abersholm that determined her fortunes in "Deadly Enterprise". New friends, allies, and enemies as well as all the old ones fill the pages when Major Gisel Matah sets out to gain "The Wildcat’s Victory".



Reviews and Awards

Monday, April 7, 2008

THE WILDCAT’S VICTORY by Christopher Hoare

Five Stars. 

THE WILDCAT’S VICTORY is the second book in Christopher Hoare’s conflict-ridden series starring Gisel Matah, a top Iskander agent. She’s a character readers will love. 

DEADLY ENTERPRISE is the first installment of this three part series. Here’s the blurb on Amazon.com: 

   Gisel Matah is the Iskanders' top agent, but often her commanders' chief pain in the neck. Sometimes passionate, sometimes tough, sometimes acerbic, she's clever and always ready to twist their intentions to meet circumstances as she sees them. 

   Escorting young Yohan Felger across a haunt of outlaws to an enemy city was already a daunting task, but when her commanders changed her mission to include sounding out the leaders to switch sides it became a Deadly Enterprise. 

   On Gaia, an alternate Earth, the crew of the lost starship Iskander find themselves working for and against the inhabitants of a different 17th Century Europe. Building themselves a place in this world by promoting social change and an Industrial Revolution, they become enemies of the Trigons - also marooned star travelers, who now rule the Empire. But an enemy can be defeated with humanity when the person in charge is a rebel at heart. 

In THE WILDCAT’S VICTORY, it opens with the murder of Durden, an Iskander agent posing as a technician with Gisel tracking down the killer. From the start, the story has a Battlestar Galactica feel to it. That said, if science fiction isn’t your thing, don’t shy away from this series. The reason I say this is I don’t usually read books in that genre. In fact, I usually refuse to read them at all. 

I’m not sure what attracted me to the book. It might have been the cover. Take a look. (You can click on the cover to enlarge.) Doesn’t it look different? The book is published by Double Dragon Publishing. They carry science fiction, fantasy and horror titles, which this series is a blend of both science fiction and fantasy. 

Now that I think of it, I don’t usually judge a book by its cover. That’s not always a good indicator the book is worthwhile. I think it was the blurb that made my decision. Here’s what it said: 

   Follow Gisel Matah and the thunder of hooves as she strikes back at the Imperial armies that threaten all she has worked for. She must defy every established world power to bring justice to common peasants and workers in societies now ruled by greedy aristocrats. Her covert activities require her to protect her fledgling Radical movement from both friends and enemies. 

   Risking her life and her love, Gisel negotiates even greater hazards in a wide ranging adventure. Her partner, Yohan Felger, becomes a problem when the Baron has him smuggle a steam engine to the Empire. Gisel knows of the subterfuge but cannot admit it, while Yohan is almost torn apart by the need to deceive her. Faced with removing the pressure on Yohan as he moves his contraband engine, she accepts the offer of General Lord Ricart, an ex-lover, to command a cavalry unit in battle. Her reckless courage is needed to carry out missions against two Imperial armies. 

   The fight finds her opposed by ever increasing odds until in the final confrontation she must outwit two enemies who vie to dominate Iskander. New friends, allies, and enemies as well as all the old ones fill the pages when Gisel Matah sets out to gain "The Wildcat's Victory". 

Sounds good, huh? I do want to add that I have the hard copy of this book. If you have an eReader, something I have vowed to get one day, you can head over to Double Dragon Publishing where you can purchase Deadly Enterprise and THE WILDCAT’S VICTORY in ebook format for only $5.99 each. 

There’s a downside to this post. I won’t be raffling this book off today. The reason is Steve (the hubby) wants to read this book too. But first, he wants to read DEADLY ENTERPRISE I do too. When I post the review for DEADLY ENTERPRISE, I’ll raffle off both books. 

As always with these types of combo raffles, I’ll combine the posts here with the posts for DEADLY ENTERPRISE. But first, tell me, how many of you like SciFi books? Any favorites? I am curious to know. 

So until the next review, 

Happy Reading!


Sadie’s Storylines 

A kickass female protagonist leads the charge in this alternate-earth fantasy. The Wildcat’s Victory is the second in a series (the first being Deadly Enterprise) by Christopher Hoare.  

Gisel Matah is not only beautiful, she’s strong and smart as a whip.  She knows more than she’s letting on as the book opens.  Through slow reveals we learn the backstory of the novel (for those that haven’t yet read Deadly Enterprise), and see the deception behind every character as they try to protect their own interests as well as the interests of their superiors. 

At first I found the book confusing, but within 10 pages I was hooked and reading more to clear up any remaining confusion I felt.  Christopher shoves you knee-deep in intrigue and action and doesn’t let you go until the last page of this spell-binding novel.  

See an earth locked in a time of near-progress, hindered by sins of the past and present, a war of wits and weapons.  

Get The Wildcat’s Victory and prepare to sit on the edge of your seat, using your own wits to keep up with Gisel’s.


The Wildcat’s Victory

Written by: Christopher Hoare

Science fiction / Fiction / Time travel

Rated: Very Good (****)

Review by: Lisa Haselton 

Gisel Matah is back! Still in her early 20s and now a Major, she’s still an Iskander operative to be reckoned with. Her hands are full with balancing a love life, dealing with an operative’s murder, and preparing soldiers for battle.  

The Iskanders have an alliance with the Felgers, a Gaian merchant and banker family. Yet there are still areas where the trust wanes. Gisel’s engagement to Yohan Felger hasn’t helped matters. Each has to balance duty to their people with their desire to be honest with each other. The challenges they face on a daily basis test their limits. How can she fully trust Yohan, when he’s loyal to the Baron who has yet to accept her? What drew Yohan to Gisel is now the same thing he has the hardest time accepting, especially when her newest assignment has her directly reporting to her former lover.

 

Life on Gaia has improved and progress is being made, but with the murder of an undercover operative and a radical movement that needs tempering, Gisel is not bored. In addition, she is asked to command a cavalry to support the rear of a battle line which has recently lost its commander. She hesitates to accept, but is pulled into the role and quickly learns the challenges ahead of her. A sadistic Skathian prince uses the battlefield for his own enjoyment and strives to learn how to defeat both sides in order to obtain total control.  

The story is engaging and intriguing. I liken it to an intense chess match. It’s interesting to see how actions cause reactions and know that there is a third party lingering on the sidelines about to blow all the strategies off the board. Gisel trains her young cavalry men as best she can with the limited time they have. At the climax, their lives hang on her quick thinking, negotiating skills and ability to remain calm under pressure. 

Christopher Hoare’s second novel, The Wildcat’s Victory, picks up eighteen months after Deadly Enterprise. The strong female protagonist, Gisel, is solid and well-crafted. The author manages to keep the character’s voice true to a young female officer with a lot of responsibility in a male-dominated field. She comes off feminine yet also a strong warrior. The tight writing and focused attention to detail keeps the reader engaged. 

I recommend reading The Wildcat’s Victory, especially if you are a strategist, chess player, or war enthusiast. The battle scenes are succinct, yet detailed enough to appreciate a commander’s skill needed for success. The pacing is quite in tune with the scenes so the reader feels part of the action, whether it’s calm or full of motion. 



The Wildcat’s Victory (Excerpt)


Prologue

Robert Matah looked up from the keyboard when he heard a warning chime transmitted from somewhere in the bowels of the starship Iskander. A caution signal - with the overhaul of the Intruder complete, the workers were clearing the hangar in preparation for a launch.

He stared at the viewport across the empty control room. Below the starship’s stationary orbit the distant globe of Gaia shone like a turquoise jewel in full sunlight. It looked a lot like his Earth, but with a few big differences - no signs of space traffic, no huge grey blotches of cities, no Twenty-second Century bustle. This Earth was primitive, a world cast back in time -- the nearest guess they’d been able to make suggested five hundred years back. Nothing but sailing ships and cannon here, until his father got the steelworks and factories going.

Robert hated visiting the surface, resented losing the sophistication and stimulation of the world he’d grown up in. He and his sister, Gisel, had come along with their father on a mission to develop industry and resource extraction for a new colony called N-3 in their own galaxy. Intended as a ten-year stint, they’d go home with enough salary banked to set up any career they desired. Instead, they’d wound up here -- another Earth, but one with a different history. Five goddam years wasted so far! Somehow the Iskander had jumped right out of their own reality and wound up in something he’d believed was only a wild theory -- an alternate universe.

He glanced at the Situation Screen, almost the only instrument in the control room they hadn’t transported down to their base on the surface. It showed a map of the world, oh so similar to the map of home, but with enough differences in place names and coastlines to make it foreign.

He’d built up the map with individual strips of spectroscopic imagery from the low orbit satellite system he had charge of. The Intruder would launch one more of the satellites on its way down to the surface. One more with imaging capability as well as communications and navigation systems -- all brought from Earth to be used around N-3. Hope those folks were okay without them. He’d had to calculate an orbit that would allow this satellite to keep checking on a huge army headed their way from the Skathian heartland.

More goddamn trouble, it looked like -- as if they hadn’t enough. Gisel, the crazy one of the family, lapped this world up. Who would have thought the gawky little gymnast kid would blossom into their best agent, and damn-near best officer too? He had to admire her, if only begrudgingly. She’d switched from competition gymnastics to foils when she hit thirteen. Talk about landing in a pile of gold dust. Turned out, swordsmanship was the one damned thing they’d needed to make their way when they arrived. She’d been every crew member’s instructor. If you could carry a rapier, and at least keep from getting spitted, you were counted a gentleman among the locals. Lady? Not so sure, but Gisel carved her own way. Status was everything -- too bad he couldn’t even draw steel without damn-near cutting his own fingers off.

He stared down at the jumble of numbers on his computer screen, that he’d hoped would show how they’d wound up here. Another false trail -- nothing here to explain the jump out of their own universe. Best he get back to his other priority project. He was debugging the routine he’d written to decipher the Trigon Empire’s primitive radio messages they’d intercepted. It had to be in some language nobody had heard of. If only he had the key to it.

President Scopes -- plain old Dirk Scopes, intended to be N-3’s administrator five years ago -- had given him the task of piecing together all the data they’d gathered on the mysterious rulers of the Empire. He was damned certain the Trigons were also off-worlders who had wound up stranded on Gaia as well. Hardly anyone believed him, except Gisel. She’d sent him an account of an empire based around the Mediterranean, that the Trigons had conquered two hundred years ago.

That empire had probably descended from the Carthaginians -- seemed there’d never been a Roman Empire here, nor any of the institutions that had grown out of it. Nobody knew where the Trigons had come from, but rumors of some weapon called the Sky Thunder abounded. A spaceship? If it was, it seems it had crapped out in the intervening years; the Trigon Empire now enjoyed the same technology any other Seventeenth Century nation would have -- except for their analog radio.

The Emperor and his Trigon cohorts ruled this Empire with a heavy hand. They allowed no one to make a voyage of exploration or invent anything -- not even a mousetrap -- without Imperial say-so. Until the Iskander arrived.

As a team of resource scientists and engineers sent to develop the technical infrastructure on N-3, it had been a foregone conclusion they’d set themselves up to do the same here. They’d landed in Sweden -- called Tarnland on Gaia -- and intervened in a war of independence to ingratiate themselves with the Autarch and his nobles. Now his father, Henrik Matah PhD PEng, ran a modern steelworks and factory complex -- well almost modern. The Old Man had decided on a gradual development in order to train the locals to carry on the Iskander legacy. These people could learn steam engines and iron founding; whereas semiconductors, nuclear physics, and bioengineering were right out of everyone’s league. Damned hard to find enough of these dumb Gaians who could learn to swing a wrench without stripping every thread in sight. And even half the Iskanders were lost in anything more complex than matrix algebra.

So the Empire was out to get them. Gisel had experienced trouble with some heavy called Zagdorf, and the Imperial army had intervened in the war Iskander was helping its Tarnland ally win. Whomped the bastards at sea, though. The Empire ships were small sailing ships armed with a mess of mismatched cannon, so Father’s updated warships from the Napoleonic era had swept them from the Inland Sea. Baltic, that was. Yeah, sailing ships -- all the locals knew, except for the few steamships Iskander and the Felger Partnership had put to sea in the past eighteen months.

In the past year they’d made a big jump in production, now they had the Felger family enterprise to help move the products of Iskander factories. The Felgers were locals who owned the biggest trading, banking, and mining business in European Gaia. Gisel had been instrumental in getting the family on their side, probably because she could twist the Baron and his nephew Yohan around her little finger. Yohan was her new lover, the third she’d had since hitting the planet, and she insisted she was going to marry this one. She’d said that before. Good luck to the girl. She certainly carried more than her share of the load down there on the surface.

The warning chime came again; that meant the Intruder was about to launch. He’d better get back to work and quit staring out at Gaia floating amid the stars. With only six people who could work on the space plane, out of a hundred off-worlders, it had taken two months to complete a thousand-hour overhaul. Intruder was their lifeline, the shuttle between the Iskander in its stationary orbit and the surface. He hated the surface, so why did he feel so claustrophobic whenever Intruder left? If anything happened to it, he’d be even more stranded than his sister below, immersed in Gaian society.

Iskander had no fuel to move out of orbit, and couldn’t enter the atmosphere. Father had said it would take at least ten years to build and send a rocket up from the surface -- and he had no people to spare to work on such a project. Every person they had was stretched to the limit keeping what infrastructure they already possessed working. With only a hundred people trying to make over the whole world, they hit their heads against a wall as often as they made a breakthrough. Every small movement was a victory.