Tags: Science Fiction
Posted in Book Reviews on March 15, 2023
Albert St. John Rembrandt is just “Bertie” to most people. He comes from one of the richest families in the six worlds occupied by humans. However, he was disowned by his father, the Duke, for refusing to marry a prince who preferred women. Bertie is now the Stationmaster for Tolari Station. The Tolari were humans, once, but were taken from the earth by aliens who made genetic modifications so they could survive on a planet rich in toxic heavy metals. Bertie is attracted to one of the planet's regional rulers but doesn't know the feeling is mutual. When the Tolari makes his feelings known, Bertie is faced with a hard choice.
There's a bit of a steampunk vibe to this story, in some of the descriptions of the clothing and the gentrified titles that Bertie and his family use. However, that's as far as it goes, so I wouldn't recommend this book if you're looking for steampunk.
Although we get parts of the story from many different points of view, it all revolves around Bertie and his struggle to choose between the family that rejected him and his new friends on Tolar. Bertie is a bit difficult to get a good handle on. We learn a lot about his difficult childhood and the reason he is estranged from his family. Even with that, it's still hard to understand why he resists the genetic treatment that would allow him to have a relationship with the man he loves. In the end, it feels like he's just being stubborn.
In addition to his Tolari lover, there are a number of other characters in Bertie's life. Some of them relate parts of the story, so we get a rich set of very believable characters with their own complex history. This book is part of a series set in the same fantasy future, but mostly unrelated.
“Rembrandt’s Station” is available from Smashwords and Amazon.