A Quantum Convergence by CA Farlow is the first book in her Nexus Trilogy. The story starts with Lauren receiving a new mission, to record the levels of pollution in the high elevations around Mount Zirkel in Colorado.
After some strange happenings that occur as she’s setting her sampling stations during a snowstorm, Lauren ends up falling through the ice of an alpine lake, and has to find shelter fast. She takes shelter in some caves in the valley the lake is in. When she wakes up, she finds herself on a totally different Earth.
She’s been called there by the animal companions of Alexandra Aoeron Aonwyn, Queen of Fuar Cala. Alex was gravely injured on a clandestine mission to the homeworld of the Comin, a people who have released a deadly bioweapon on Alex’s world and people.
The small settlement on this new Earth is all that’s left of her people. Lauren must use her skills to keep Alex alive as they, along with the animal companions, return to the city of Fuar Cala, Cold Harbor. Once there, they must contend with treachery, rebellion, and the illness that the bioweapon has created in Fuar Cala’s children.
Lauren Beckwith is an environmental scientist, as well as a former pediatric oncologist. Her job is to go to various sites of environmental pollution, and gather samples and information on the amount and severity of pollution at the site, in order to make the polluting company clean up. She’s a very driven woman, as well as a child prodigy. Her parents pushed her into medicine, which is why she became a pediatric oncologist. The job destroyed Lauren. She couldn’t handle the inevitable deaths of her patients, and they haunt her. She decided to switch to a job that would help her prevent the environmental factors that cause childhood cancers, so she went back to school for a degree in environmental chemistry. To say her parents disagreed is an understatement. They basically cut her out of their life. Lauren responded by shutting herself off from everyone, and building big walls around her innermost self. These walls start crumbling along the trek she makes with Alex. At the beginning of this book, Lauren is a big mess. She keeps promising to change things, but it never seems to happen. Until, that is, she falls through a quantum tunnel to a world where animals speak and a gorgeous woman touches her soul.
Next is Alexandra Aoeron Aonwyn. Alex is driven to do whatever she needs to do to save her people. She’s undertaken a risky mission to the Comin homeworld in an attempt to get information about the bioweapon the Comin have unleashed upon her people. She does get the information, but her raid is discovered, and she is grievously injured in her escape through the nexus, the portal from her world to the Comin world. A small patrol of Comin follow her through the nexus in an attempt to find and kill her. We don’t get to see Alex at her best, because for much of the trek, she is too hurt to show how capable she truly is. Also, when she gets back to Fuar Cala, the Comin catch up to them enough to hit Alex with another ranged weapon attack. The only way to save Alex is a rite of healing that causes her to lose her memory of her trek with Lauren, and her ability to mindspeak. So again, we see Alex struggle to deal with events in a suboptimal physical condition. I look forward to seeing more of what she can do at full strength.
Finally, I’m going to include the animal companions. Alex has bonded to two white wolves, Ice and Snow, and a horse, Ffrwyn. Ice and Snow, in their desperation to find help for Alex, called to Lauren across a nexus, and helped her accidentally stumble through a portal to their world. With Lauren unconscious and suffering from hypothermia, they help warm her up so that she survives. Ffrwyn is the biggest reason that they make it back to Fuar Cala. And all five seem to have bonded with each other.
The Writing Style
CA Farlow has written a wonderful science fiction story, mixed with the tiniest bit of fantasy elements. Her writing flows, is easily read, and keeps the pages turning. I felt she was able to describe scientific and technological ideas and concepts in a way that was easy to understand as a layperson. There was no place where the story bogged down for me. However, some may have a problem with some of the format. Farlow has separated the story into parts, with the first part being Lauren on our Earth, in our time. This portion is more technical, as we learn the reason for Lauren to be in the Colorado mountains in winter in the first place. The second part is the dangerous trek with Alex and the animal companions. This is where Alex and Lauren not only meet, but start to find out how important they are to each other. And finally there’s the third part, which deals with all the stuff that happens once Alex and Lauren make it back to Fuar Cala.
It’s hard not to say everything here, but I loved the idea of a soulmate, as well as the idea of bonded companions who could talk to their humans with mindspeech. I liked the idea that Lauren could come in and contribute to a society that simply didn’t have the experience to deal with what they were facing. And it’s a royal romance! How cool is that? Plus, swords. ‘Nuff said.
My only real con is that some of the names are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Some sort of pronunciation guide or phonetic spelling would have helped. I felt like a 5 year old kid, calling the horse Fifferwyn, which I’m positive isn’t the correct pronunciation, and I hate feeling like I don’t know how to say a name.
Some readers may feel that the first part is either too technical, or too boring, but I found the technical aspects of Lauren’s job fascinating, and it gave important insight into who Lauren is as a person. Some may feel, with the two women coming together as soulmates in the second part, that the struggle of the relationship was over too soon, that Lauren and Alex got together too quickly, and that Farlow left nowhere for the relationship to go. But Farlow deals that a twist in part three, when the interference of memory loss and treason tears the two apart. They have to grow back together with faith and vulnerability, something neither of them has a lot of in the circumstances. There is one part at the very end that seems a bit choppy as well, almost as though Farlow had to cut some scenes in order to make the book a bit shorter. I would have liked to have seen more about the recovery of both Lauren, and Alex and the rest of the city, after the culmination of events in the Council chambers, but perhaps that will be dealt with more in book two.
This is a great book for sci-fi lovers, and probably some fantasy lovers as well. Also anyone who loves a romance with fated mates, or soulmates would find this interesting. The book drew me in quickly and had me turning pages, always wanting to see what came next. Farlow has also left some interesting threads dangling at the end, making me want to read the second book as soon as it comes out to see where she takes Alex and Lauren next.
Excerpt from A Quantum Convergence by CA Farlow
Lauren headed toward the laser-tagged spot that marked the cache entrance. As she moved into the open, snow exploded around her as an energy pulse struck near her feet. Another energy bolt cut through the branches over her head, blowing more snow and pine needles into the air. Lauren was thrown back into the sled. Stunned and barely able to breathe, she struggled to roll out of the sled.
Lauren crawled back into the stand of fir trees, hiding behind the trunk of a giant spruce. Another blast followed her, striking the trunk just above her head. What is going on? Her heart raced as another bolt tore into the trunk, sending pine splinters exploding into the air. Lauren curled into a ball and covered her head as best she could.
“Come on out, you Comin bastard, you are trapped,” a deep, growling voice called out.
Comin bastard? She wasn’t Comin. Lauren tried to make herself as small a target as possible, but in her red fleece she knew she couldn’t hide for long. There was no escape through the deep snow drifted around the tree. I can’t stay in these trees for long. Her only chance to survive was to hide as best she could. A blast again tore through the trunk above her head. At this rate, the tree will fall and crush me. She pulled the sword closer to her body.
Another blast exploded near her head, rolling her over on her back. Lauren watched the shooter advancing toward her, his blaster leveled. Lauren raised her arms to cover hear head and held her breath, waiting. I’m going to die. Alex! Help! But nothing came. Peeking between her crossed arms, Lauren saw the shooter kneeling in the snow a dozen meters away. His blaster was loosely held in his hand, his head was bowed, and his eyes were closed. What the hell?
Slowly Lauren lowered her arms. Turning to face the shooter, Lauren stood. “Who are you?”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781942976165e
- Publisher: Desert Palm Press
CA Farlow Online
Note: I received a free review copy of A Quantum Convergence by CA Farlow. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.