Fascinating worldbuilding and a multi-dimensional cast complement Blue’s intricate plotting in her Hellscape series opener. There is no doubt about the feelings Tuck and Ivan have for one another — until a man from Tuck’s past appears on the scene. The stirring internal conflict is complicated by the other battles the couple must fight.
Hell’s End is the solar system’s outermost space station. Tuck is a member of the Gutters, a violent gang of orphans living on Level 36. It’s a life of kill or be killed and eaten by other Gutters. Tuck escapes and serves the L’arisian family as a prostitute to escape Gov soldiers. He eludes their grasp for a while but is finally trapped by a woman who spots the eye tattoo marking Tuck as a spy from infancy. The Gov pulls out all stops to indoctrinate him but they weren’t counting on Ivan, a Gov soldier who brazenly rescues Tuck. As passion blossoms between the two, Ivan connects Tuck with the leader of an underground movement designed to wreak havoc on the Gov. (SAMHAIN, May, 272 pp., $15.00)