Having been turned over to the CAPS-N, Rowland soon finds out that his years as a rogue haven't been what he thought they were, and his two closest friends were not what they seemed. Meanwhile, Rowland's newfound lover Toar is nearly home to Oarthica when those bastards, the Pryok'tel, attack the ship and kidnap him. Rowland is forced to turn to his friends to help rescue Toar.
This sequel to Allure of Oartheca is another classic space opera. It's quite a roller-coaster ride as Toar struggles to survive on a hostile planet and Rowland rides to the rescue. Along the way, we get to know more about the characters from the first book, as well as meet some more new Oarth who may play a role in the following books. Since the events of this book directly follow the last one, you need to have read that story first.
Once again, the point of view alternates between Toar and Rowland from chapter to chapter. This means we get to know the two males much better over the course of the book.
Rowland has his universe completely upended at the start of this story. If you were paying attention to the very end of the first volume, you've probably already guessed what that revelation is. Much of the first few chapters from Rowland's point of view are spent watching him deal with the news, and with the friends that he finds he didn't know as well as he thought.
Toar remains the steadfast and very protective bear we came to know in the first book. The plot cleverly sets up a situation where Toar needs to explain a lot about Oarthican culture and particularly the role that ‘barons’ play in it. It's quite deftly done so that it doesn't feel like a data dump, but we still learn more about the Oarth.
It's probably worth noting that this book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, no doubt setting up the next installment of the series. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.
“Barons of Oartheca” is available from Amazon.