Original (The Horn, Book 2)

by J. Kathleen Cheney

This worthy sequel to Oathbreaker (A&A’s review here), starts where Dalyan the outsider and Amal  left off: with Dalyan recovering from being shocked to death, and then re-shocked to life. Amal wonders if it also fried his personality. They’re not sure what device the Fortress fried inside his head, behind his ear, but the Fortress told them that implant was trying to send information out. Did the Fortress, in self-defense, also fry Dalyan’s memories?

Those memories are important. Because the Horn elders want to know: is Dalyan a knowing or an inadvertent spy?  And if he can remember the memories of the man he is copied from, maybe they can use them to open an abandoned sentient  Fortress before the amoral Cince clan does. Complicating it all, Amal—Lady Horn—has taken Dalyan to her bed, and many of the Elders do not approve.

I don’t want to give too much away, except to mention the further complication of them having to take vital intelligence from the other Oathbreakers to the King sets them on a journey to the heart of the empire of the clans of the Fortresses. Amal does what she has to do—for her Clan and her world—to protect the Fortresses while remaining true to her heart.  So yes, this court intrigue complicated by AI’s and a computer generated copy—copies?—of long-dead interstellar colonists with agendas. Like Oathbreaker, Original ends in a cliffhanger.  You’ll want the entire series.

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