Endurance by S.L. Viehl
EnduranceDr. Cherijo Torin treats all species who are in her medical center. Unfortunately, currently the medical center is in a slave planet of the Hsktskt. She is one of the slaves. But because she is married to Duncan Reever, a man who has a bond with Hsktskt Overlord of the slave planet, she is given a little leniency – but not much. Also, she is the one who gave the human spaceship to the Hsktskt – in order to save her own adopted planet and all its people. The human ship was determined to capture her and destroy the planet. The Hsktskt were Cherijo’s only other option.
Now she wants to get away. Instead, she causes more trouble. Duncan brands her with a slave brand. It heals and disappears. One of her nurses tries to poison her – more than once – but she survives. Her biggest problem, though, is when a “medical scientist” takes her to his torture chamber to learn just how much different species can endure – a la the German scientist Joseph Mengele in the Nazi prison camps.
Because of her oath and her own personal convictions, Cherijo treats anyone who is ill – whether that person/being is a Hsktskt Overlord, the Terran spaceship captain who hates her, friendly aliens who look like spiders, or ill, mistreated slaves. Because of this, she gains more friends and supporters (except for the human captain). She alone could not effect the slaves’ escape from the planet. But there is a hidden slave-runner who is actually helping slaves escape living on the outside of the planet. There is a Terran who appears to have run of the hidden tunnels. And the people from her adopted planet are coming. She may yet be able to help in the escape of all the slaves the Hsktskt have to sell in the planet.
Once again S.L. Viehl pulled me into another excellent StarDoc novel. This is the third one and the writing and impact are still impressive. The novel is about captivity, torture, and the human/being/alien/creature (whatever) need to escape and be free. Cherijo is pulled many different ways as she discovers her husband betrayed her, her friends, and the Terrans to the Hsktskt. She loved him deeply now hates him just as deeply. As a doctor she learns there are humane Hsktskts. She meets different life forms she hadn’t anticipated. And she learns more about herself both physically and psychologically.
This is fast paced reading, although difficult at times because of the subject matter – slavery, captivity, and torture. In Endurance Viehl gets into her characters’ heads and again makes them believable and real. While Endurance could stand on its own, there is too much back story that would be missed. It’s better to read it after the first two books in the series.
Notice: Graphic violence, Strong sexual content