Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard


After a stint in an alien prison, Captain Ari Rose wonders why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of her command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a Ph.D. she doesn't want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. She wasn't built for it, either. But when pirates commandeer her father's ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.

As far as pirate leader Cullin is concerned, Ari's past imprisonment puts her dead center in Cullin's sights. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then he's convinced she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Cullin can't afford the desire she fires within him and he'll stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth.


Burnard's debut novel, Enemy Within, is an excellent futuristic romance! Ari is a well-trained soldier, highly intelligent, and an overall leader. But when the Chekydrans capture and release Ari after three months of torture and starvation, she suffers terrible memories and flashbacks. I am very glad that Burnard included the post traumatic stress that Ari went through from her experience. It made her character feel more flawed, more human. The last thing Ari needed was to have someone hijack her team again, but that is exactly what happened. Enter the sexy, mysterious stranger - Cullin Seaghdh. I really enjoyed reading about the romance that blooms between Ari and Cullin. Although each of them are holding on to secrets, that doesn't stop the sexual tension from building between them. There was not much sex in the novel, but I found that to be quite appropriate.

Enemy Within is a very well balanced novel. While the romance between Ari and Cullin is the focus of the story, there are equal parts of action, deception, conspiracy, intrigue, suspense, aliens, and fighting. The novel has a nice, high enery pace, and that combined with the great characters makes this a winning debut novel. I can't wait to read the next installment in Burnard's series.

5 Questions with Marcella Burnard

1. What inspired you to write Enemy Within?
Scenes and conversations just started popping into my head. The one story you’ll hear over and over is about a friend’s husband who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He came home the second time with a horrific case of PTSD. He couldn’t sleep unless he was in the bathroom with the shower running. That was the only time he felt safe. That formed the basis for Ari’s issues. I was interested in whether or not a hero could both use that against her and help her out of it at the same time.

2. What is your favorite scene in the book?
The duel near the beginning of the book. I think that was the first scene that came to me. It happened very quickly and that one seemed to write itself.

3. Which character did you connect most with during the writing process?
Ari. She’s the kind of smart I’d always wished I could be. She’s driven and bright and good at assessing people, but she’s also damaged and she feels very alone. That isolation is something that every one of us who has ever been an angst-ridden teen knows all about. :D

4. What is one exciting thing that happened to you while you were writing Enemy Within?
Hell if I can remember…Oh. I guess it was a contest. I knew this book had some potential when I sent the first ten pages in for an RWA sponsored contest. I had three judges – one unpublished, but experienced critique judge and two judges who were published. I didn’t final in that contest – I gather my first judge didn’t like scifi romance. She scored me low. The two published judges gave me copious feedback in detailed notes. One scored the entry with 100 out of 100 points. The other gave me 98 out of 100 points. Both said to make my edits and get the book out the door – it was ready. That was the day I thought I might have something going with SFR and with that story in particular.

5. Are you working on a new novel. If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m working on book three in the series…I can’t say much of anything because it would be too much of a spoiler…but let’s say that the heroine of book three is a munitions expert. That means explosions. Lots of explosions.


Jeffe Kennedy said...

I'm so honored to be listed with both Sparks and Enemy Within. Loved this one, too!

Anne said...

Congratulations on getting published!

It was good you had three judges. I think the third should have removed herself if she didn't like the genre itself. But it could be that something just didn't connect. I love Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniel's series (and Urban Fantasy), but I could not get into the first book of their new series (haven't tried #2 either).

Anonymous said...

Wow!! How awesome about the judges! It' so rewarding getting good feedback from your professional peers :) I would feel the same way if my photos were being judged!

Laura Bickle said...

Love, love this book! *Waves at Marcella and Jeffe*

Julia Barrett said...

I want to read this book!

Straylights said...

How awesome about the contest! I can't imagine that feeling of having two published judges tell you that your work is good, and to get it out there. I'd be elated! Looking forward to reading this book!

Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

I've heard great things about this book. Would love the chance to win and broaden my SFR horizons. =)