A Snake by the Tail

A SUN Universe Novel

Fiction - Science Fiction
236 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

A Snake by the Tail by Cherime MacFarlane is a science fiction adventure that evokes a metaphor for living with something so precious that wars will be fought over its control; the dangers of holding it are as equally pervasive as the dangers of a snake in the hand. What does a Messerian Captain of the mercenary ship Long Sword know of these dangers? Very little, until he receives a call for assistance from the luxury ship Tressa, which will entangle him in ways he could never imagine, with secrets beyond his imagination and a relationship that will forever change his life. How Maden negotiates this new and perilous course will have ramifications that go well beyond the confines of his ship; an entire world will ride upon his success or failure.

Cherime MacFarlane’s A Snake by the Tail is an exciting journey into worlds and futures we can all relate to in our imaginations right now. The characters, both alien and human, are nicely constructed, with the principal two being brought together with just the right amount of tension to reflect their differences; Maden’s predatory origins added particular spice to his evolving emotions and the growing relationship. Dahteste also brought her own complications to the table, and these were managed in just the right way to avoid coming across as forced or contrived. These characters and relationships were smoothly moved through a variety of environments which were all compelling in their realism, from the confines of a spaceship to the vast emptiness of the desert on Estevan. In effect, there is something for everyone in A Snake by the Tail, no matter where your passion lies in the material Universe or the bottomless well of emotional exploration.

Grant Leishman

A Snake by the Tail: A SUN Universe Novel by Cherime MacFarlane is a fast-paced romance, adventure, and sci-fi novel that will take its readers to exciting new worlds, overseen by SUN (Stellar United Nations). Nizad is a far planet, populated by human-like mammals, that has just joined the SUN but some of the residents of this distant planet have powers that make them a target for those who roam the galaxies as pirates. Dahteste, a young woman from Nizad, and her co-worker have been kidnapped and taken aboard a pirate vessel by those determined to discover more about the citizens of Nizad’s strange powers. When Wadge, a SUN spy among the pirates, manages to set off a distress beacon, it is Captain Maden, a Messerian mercenary working for SUN and commander of the vessel Long Sword, who answers the call for help. After he saves Dahteste’s life and experiences an overwhelming need to protect and care for the young woman, Captain Maden, Dahteste and the rest of the Long Sword crew embark on a mission to find and destroy the pirate empire that appears to be taking shape in the galaxies, as well as protecting and guarding the newest member of the SUN alliance, the planet Nizad and its inhabitants.

I like my science fiction light on tech and high on story and character development. A Snake by the Tail fills this need perfectly. Cherime MacFarlane has developed a universe, worlds, and creatures that are both endearing and frightening. This really is a wonderfully romantic and adventurous story that just happens to be set in an off-world environment. You certainly don’t need to be a science fiction geek to enjoy the author’s writing and the characters she has developed. The emotions, the characteristics, and the nature of the characters are totally relatable. I particularly enjoyed the counterpoint between the youthful naivety of the young woman just embarking on the discoveries of life, and especially of the powers she possesses, against the crusty old bachelor nature of the Messerian, Captain Maden. The problem over the age issue was totally relatable and would be interesting to see develop in future iterations. The story flows seamlessly and there is plenty of action to enjoy, along with the intensely romantic and at times slightly erotic love scenes. This is a well-put-together story that bodes well for future adventures of this pair. As a reader, I am invested in these two characters and look forward to further adventures with Dahteste and her mate Captain Maden. I can highly recommend this read.

Stephanie Chapman

A Snake By The Tail by Cherime MacFarlane is a science fiction novel full of conspiracy and an edge of romance. Captain Maden is the Masserian leader of the LongSword. While he is preparing for a refueling stop with his crew, a distress call from another spacecraft is received by the artificial intelligence system. Pirates have overtaken Tressa and the captives need to be rescued. When Captain Maden and his crew rescue the spacecraft, he finds a female in serious need of medical attention. Wadge, the second captive, explains that he is on a mission to infiltrate a possible human trafficking ring that the pirates led. He states that the woman was a Distani from the planet Nizad, a new member of the SUN Nations. Wadge is allowed to take command of Tressa to resume his mission, leaving Captain Maden to decide what to do with Dahteste. When she comes out of the medical unit, Dahteste is distrustful of the captain. Over the next few weeks, she learns to trust him and feels something odd stirring inside her. Captain Maden also feels a magnetic draw to the young woman. What is this feeling? What is Dahteste hiding that caused her to be abducted?

Cherime MacFarlane created a highly complex romantic science fiction novel when she wrote A Snake By The Tail. This is the first book of the SUN series. I liked how she described the various aliens and incorporated engaging dialogue that made me feel the emotions of each one. I connected with Dahteste and her feelings of sadness over losing a friend when the pirates abducted her. I felt very apprehensive about Tsela and Silver, the leaders of Nizad. My favorite part of the romance is how Captain Maden and Dahteste's abilities complement one another. Dahteste runs on pure emotion with the ability to telepathically connect with others. Captain Maden was a typical male that kept his feelings bottled up inside. This made for the realistic feel of the emotions that MacFarlane presented effortlessly. The primer at the end of the book is thoroughly comprehensive in explaining the science fiction terms like Assault Lander Hyperdrive and the Carbonizer. I would recommend fans of complex science fiction series to read this book.