This is part of my 2nds challenge and the last in my ebook reading challenge!

The second book in the Trade Pact Universe series.

Sira du Sarc and Jason Morgan are back. Ties of Power starts about a year after the ending of the previous book, A Thousand Words for a Stranger. The organization of the chapters is similar: Sira’s chapters are in the first person and every other chapter is an interlude which has another point-of-view character.

For most of the year, Sira and Morgan have been living apart from each other. They are keeping in mental contact and Sira is doing her best to train Morgan in mental defenses because she fears that her family, or the whole Clan, will someday come after them and try to kill Morgan.

Sira’s cousin Barac sud Sarc has been refused Joining a couple of times and according to the Clan tradition it’s unlikely that he will be given another chance to complete his life. So, he leaves his family behind and seeks out Sira. Sira is owns a gambling den and she’s pretending to be a Ram’ad Witch. A group of aliens from a race called the Drapsk are trying to persuade Sira to leave with them but she refuses.

When Barac finds Sira, she’s afraid that the rest of the Clan will follow Barac to her and so she gives the den to Barac and flees. She runs away to the same planet where Morgan is, been hoping that the Clan aren’t clever enough to find them. However, she’s wrong; during a festival she’s attacked and left for dead. Morgan finds her and the friendly locals nurse her back to painful life. But to her horror she finds out that someone has cut her: her reproductive organs have been cut away. She’s terrified about what the Clan will do with her tissue and ovaries, and she’s also enraged. She is too weak to seek revenge for herself and so she puts all of her rage into Morgan’s head and tells him to get back what was stolen from her and kill the people who cut her. Morgan has no choice but to obey.

Meanwhile, a group of the Clan is plotting. Some of them are Sira’s relatives; her sister Rael and older women of her family. They are concerned with the future of the Clan. Sira is the first of the women of the Clan who has been able to give her Power-of-Choice to another. In Sira’s case to Morgan who is human and not Clan so Sira’s actions are even more significant and frightening to Clan people who are looking for a way to save their species. For years, the women who have the Power-of-Choice have been getting stronger and Sira was the first who has such a strong power that she killed every man she tried to Join with. Before Morgan. So, this group is interested in both Sira and in human telepaths. Sira’s sister Rael is given the task to contact Sira.

There’s also another group of Clans people; xenophobes who can, and will, do anything to preserve the purity of Clan. Sira’s powerful father is one of them.

After Morgan had left and Sira had managed to sleep, she realizes what she has done. Desperately, she looks for a way to reach him as soon as possible. The only thing she can think of is to ask for help from the Drapsk. They’ve always been respectful and helpful. So, she teleports to their ship. Unfortunately, the Drapsk have urgent plans of their own.

This is a fine continuation to the first book. The characters are given more depth and they grow. We finally get to hear Morgan’s back story. Morgan’s faithful alien sidekick Huido is also back and provides a lot of humor.

The Drapsk are an interesting alien species and definitely not human. They have their own priorities and even their own behavioral quirks. Their primary communication method is by smells even though they can speak when needed. Great!

I had a bit of difficulty with the formatting because in the ebook, at least, the telepathic speech wasn’t marked in any way. This was unfortunate because Sira, Morgan, and Sira’s family are all telepaths.

The plot isn’t really fast-paced but left time for the characters to think and plan and worry. Sira was remorseful and ashamed most of the time because she literally gave Morgan her own rage and worried about what Morgan might do. She was also trying to heal from the surgery that was done to her. Sira is clearly the main character. Morgan, Barac, Rael, and the other characters were featured in the Interlude-sections but had less screen time, so to say.

I’d definitely recommend reading the first book before this one. The politics can be quite twisted and on the other hand, it’s very nice to see most of the familiar cast again.