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Deadly Enterprise
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Powell's Books Powell's Books

Christopher gives an overview of the book:

Deadly Enterprise; the first novel in the Iskander series. Lieutenant Gisel Matah is resourceful, daring, and from a future earth. She’s also beautiful and rebellious–a wild cat. At 20, she’s the Iskander’s top operative. She thrives on the adrenaline rush of each assignment. Able to stay focused, in character, observant and determined, Gisel may not always follow orders to the letter, but she always gets the mission accomplished.   Iskander technology is well-advanced of Gaia, the older earth which the Iskander’s find they must adapt to. With battles raging between the Emperor and other factions, the Iskanders are interested in finding peace and making allies. To that end, they choose to approach the Felgers, a successful merchant and banker family, to assist them with their trading and production plans. Gisel must convince Yohan Felger of the...
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Deadly Enterprise; the first novel in the Iskander series.

Lieutenant Gisel Matah is resourceful, daring, and from a future earth. She’s also beautiful and rebellious–a wild cat. At 20, she’s the Iskander’s top operative. She thrives on the adrenaline rush of each assignment. Able to stay focused, in character, observant and determined, Gisel may not always follow orders to the letter, but she always gets the mission accomplished.

 

Iskander technology is well-advanced of Gaia, the older earth which the Iskander’s find they must adapt to. With battles raging between the Emperor and other factions, the Iskanders are interested in finding peace and making allies. To that end, they choose to approach the Felgers, a successful merchant and banker family, to assist them with their trading and production plans. Gisel must convince Yohan Felger of the benefits to him and his family business if they join forces. It’s not an easy task. She has to share enough information about their technology to convince him of their worth, but not too much information which he could use against them.

In a world where women are required to be under the care and supervision of men, Gisel must remain disguised as a man in order to accomplish her mission. Complicating matters are rumors on Gaia about a female agent named ‘Wildcat’ who is nothing but trouble, and who is being sought by Zagdorf, his troopers, and hired local forces.

The story is intriguing and entertaining. Deadly Enterprise is a page-turner. The reader is naturally curious to see how Gisel will manage to keep her identity and heart disguised while escorting and protecting Yohan through the warring territories in order to make alliances for a peaceful and prosperous future for everyone. Logic can sometimes be overruled by emotions and plans don’t always go as expected, especially when innocent people are put in harm’s way. Gisel must make a lot of tough decisions.

Christopher Hoare’s strong female protagonist in Deadly Enterprise is well-crafted. The descriptive scenes and tight writing keep the reader engaged and turning the pages. Deadly Enterprise contains elements of time travel, past worlds, future worlds, politics, battles, strategy, survival, and a small dash of romance. After all, Gisel may be a soldier, but she also has a heart.

I solidly recommend reading Deadly Enterprise for the pure enjoyment of a well-written novel containing strong and clearly defined characters, clear, crisp details that propel the story forward, and an enticing glimpse into a new world. I look forward to more novels from this writer, especially if they include Gisel Matah.

 

Review by: Lisa Haselton http://lisahaselton.tripod.com/

 

Read an excerpt »

When he left, Gisel took a deep breath to still the tingle in her nerves. What was about to happen was as certain as if the evening had been written out in a script. She fell back on the ancient warrior's technique she’d learned from Eastern teachings. She meditated on her breathing and the connection of all things. The most deadly Samurais were those who believed themselves already given to death, and poured their energy into their swords.

After several minutes, she stood and straightened the hang of her rapier. She walked deliberately to the corridor.

Sensing trouble, the laborers faltered in their song.

In the other room one soldier had a hand across Gretzel's mouth while the captain ran a hand under her skirt. The girl's face twisted as she attempted to cry out.

“Let the child be,” Gisel said, coming into the center of them.

The soldier holding Gretzel drew himself up. “Who are you, to order us?”

“Go away, you little lad,” the captain breathed in a lizard whisper. “This is a man's business . . .”

Gretzel redoubled her attempt to struggle free. The soldier let out an angry cry and snatched back his bitten hand. Another, holding her arm, drew back his fist and cuffed her to the floor. The captain sprang to his feet. “You disturb our sport. Leave now or we'll squash you like a bug.”

Gisel drew her rapier. “Get out of this inn! The stable is too good for vermin like you.”

The captain drew his own weapon to cross swords. In the confined space he slashed one of his own men. “Let's take this fight to the forecourt – ”

Gisel stepped back quickly. “Right away -- but I'll follow you.”

The inn emptied as word of a duel spread. Everyone, countrymen and soldiers, joined the column on its way to the open air. Gretzel raised herself and went sobbing to Gisel. “I'm sorry, sir -- I did not mean – ”

“Hush, child. Tis not your fault.” She looked about for Yohan but he was likely still in the stables.

Outside, a rough square of spectators had already arrayed themselves. Lamps from the inn were held aloft to illuminate a piste. As Gisel emerged, the captain sprang forward with a confident attack. His freebooters shouted their encouragement.

Gisel parried the captain's lunge and began a sharp riposte. She was quicker and made a lightning thrust -- but her steel glanced harmlessly off his cuirass.

The soldier's cries of warning to their champion turned to triumph. “Ye've got the bastard now!”

Encouraged, he made ground. Three times he thrust at her but her counter was swift and sure. He began a circular parry, trying to disarm her. She made a quick thrust but had to cede her attack as his defence closed the tiny opportunity.

The captain laughed savagely and advanced. Gisel gave way, raising the point of her attack to threaten his face and neck. The captain in his turn forced the fight downwards away from this point of vulnerability. They fought on, with parry, feint, and riposte.

After several minutes the captain’s breath came heavily. The expression in his eyes told Gisel he'd realized he was up against an opponent of greater skill. Only his cuirass prevented instant disaster. When she forced him backwards with a compound attack, even his men realized which way the fight was going.

From the corner of her eye she caught a movement from the soldiers. The captain’s crony darted forward. “Damn the young pup!”

A sudden sharp pain in her left forearm made her jump back to disengage. The man had slashed at her with his dagger. She dropped her arm to her side and felt the warm blood trickling into her open palm.

Another man advanced on her as the captain returned to the attack.

A sudden burst of gunfire stunned the group into immobility. “Damned scum!” came Yohan's voice. “The next shots will not be over your heads.”

Gisel recovered instantly from her surprise. With a deep breath she plunged herself back into the warrior attitude. The captain flung a furious look and raised his point. Her arm was bleeding badly -- how long before her strength began to fail? She pretended to stagger, letting her guard down.

The captain fell for her trick. He lunged forward at her breast. She ducked beneath his blade. In the same movement she lunged upwards.

Her target was small and fleeting. But her aim was sure. The point scraped beneath the bottom of the cuirass and plunged into his belly.

She hurled her weight forward behind her sword point. The captain's eyes bulged. A bubbling shriek escaped his lips. Her rapier came out the middle of his back.

As he crumpled and toppled to the ground, Gisel reversed her movement to yank her weapon free. Cries of dismay burst from the freebooter's throats as she raised the bloody sword and sprang toward them.

“Any more of you want to try?”

Yohan stepped quickly to her side, the assault rifle cradled in his arms. None of the freebooters dared move.

From outside the circle of spectators -- beyond the forecourt of the inn – came a surprising answer. “Leave off! Lower your weapons at once.”

Gisel swung about. Unnoticed in the shadows, a group of horsemen had arrived and sat astride their mounts. Their hands held pistols, levelled in the cavalryman’s slant – pan tilted toward the touch-hole.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Christopher

I’m a retired surveyor who has worked in all the oil provinces of Canada, the Canadian Arctic and the Libyan Desert. My post secondary education started as aeronautical engineering but I quickly headed out to learn from the world. As well as time in oil exploration,  I’ve...

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