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The Cartel by E.G. Manetti
Imagine, if you will, being punished for the sins of your father...
After his criminal actions have earned him his final draught, you and your immediate family must also be punished in the eye of society. In this world it is not enough to be shamed by the memory and realization that your own father broke the law and was put to death. Now, you are a criminal as well.
You may choose the same fate as your fallen parent or a trial by ordeal. If you favor the latter of these punishments then you are stripped of your previous honor and standing in society and are forced to become the property of another-to be their servant in all manners and at the whim of their sexual desires.
Lillian finds herself in this very situation. Now apprentice to Lucius, the head of the Serengeti Cartel, she must serve her master to her utmost abilities-always putting his needs above her own. All the while, she is the target of scrutiny and public ridicule, being referred to as 'doxy'-basically a sex slave or whore.
E.G. Manetti is a master world builder. The writer has created a science fiction story rich in complexity and depth, while crossing into the romance and erotica genre. Admittedly, the graphic sexual scenes dominate the beginning of the story, as the reader becomes familiar with what exactly a 'doxy' is expected to do. However, Manetti finds this precarious balance of romance and sci-fi architectural construction as the story unfolds.
The 12 Worlds and the 5 Warriors adds a rich history and marvelous background into this rigid and honor bound society that spans the galaxy. The element of control over the Vistrite mining combined with the struggle for dominance by the various Cartels reminded me very much of Dune. For me, this was an unexpected pleasure, as Frank Herbert's famous book will always stand as a pinnacle of achievement in the sci-fi genre. Manetti pays tribute to this masterpiece, while making this work original with a storyline that bears little other resemblance to the source of its inspiration.
Thank you for reading this week's edition of What I Am Reading.