Title: Eye of Scota: Cináed
Author: Serena Yates
Buy link: Amazon.com
Buy Link: Buy Link Eye of Scota: Cinaed
Genre: M/M Paranormal, Historical, Science Fiction
Length: Novel (196 pdf pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Cole
Review Summary: A start to a series that has an intriguing concept about a culture that has separated completely from its origin and how religious oppression kept its cultural progression stagnate — though I wished a few more issues had been explored.
Worried that his planet is slipping into moral decay, the High Priest of Dálriata sends a healer priest to retrieve more magical Slànach Stones, the Council of Priests’ quickly dwindling source of power. Cináed MacAlpin agrees to undertake the quest despite his misgivings, hoping a successful mission will relieve the pressure upon him to heal only the worthy.
But finding the Stones is no simple task. Cináed must travel to the mystical Eye of Scota, a passageway through space that leads back to Earth, and the supposed source of the Stones. There he meets Tadeo Banderas, a spaceship captain marooned at the Eye. They discover that the spark of energy between them may hold the key to Dálriata’s future.
Does Cináed have the courage to bring home the truth that the power to save his world is found in forgotten laws and his bond with another man?
Cináed MacAlpin is at his wits end. He is weary of being forced to heal only the rich or politically connected citizens of his world. He is also tired of trying to hide his attraction to men. Luckily, as one of the children seen early on to have a propensity for psychic ability, he was taken away from his family — one of the twelve warrior clans on Dálriata — and accepted as one of the healer priests. While this does take away the pressure of his family finding him a suitable match, it also means that only the warrior training his father required of him still makes him part of his family, who haven’t visited him since he was taken away from them at age five. But Cináed is very cunning and has taken liberties during his regular studies to find out some of the things that have been bothering him about their abilities, where they come from, and the Old Laws — which, even though the High Priest and the Church say they follow, seem to show a glaring discrepancy with the history that he knows of his society’s origins. And he has found out some very interesting things — namely, that the Slànach Stones, the stones that contain the power the priests channel to heal the sick, stopped appearing around the time the last refugees from Earth came through the Eye of Scota, the portal that allowed oppressed Scots a safe haven during the time of the Inquisition, at the height of the Catholic Church’s power on Earth. Now, High Priest Malkolm has given Cináed a specific quest — to travel to the eye and find a way to bring back more stones.
Yet, during the thousand years that the citizens of Dálriata have bowed under the oppression of the Church, the Inquisition on Earth has ended, fizzled into history with the growth of the Scientific Revolution which allowed humans to flourish and technology to grow leaps and bounds. It is now 500 years in the future and the citizens of Earth have taken to the stars to colonize other galaxies. So enters Tadeo Banderas, a Spanish spaceship captain, who after speaking his mind to a ruthless dictator during the tricky negotiations of a political contract, has been shamefully demoted to captaining an exploratory mission to the far reaches of space — to uncharted territory. The ten year mission has them cataloging planet systems for possible human habitation when they come across a planet that is emitting a strange power source, and upon closer inspection, has actual humans living on it. Unsure of what exactly he is dealing with, Tadeo takes a few members of his team and decends to the planet, near the source of isolated energy they have found, which seems to be a strange stone structure that resembles Stonehenge in its antiquity. Only this structure is thrumming with intelligent energy and soon enough, Tadeo finds himself alone, waiting for some unknown coming event, and his crew back in space not realizing he is missing.
The problems isn’t for Cináed and Tadeo to discover how to recharge the stones, but how they are going to impliment those changes when the greatest crime one can commit is sodomy, and Church law is absolute.
I really enjoyed this novel, which deals with a classic scenario that I, and I’m sure all of you, think of often — that is ‘what if.’ I say that because, the whole premise of this story is what would or could have happened to our culture if the power of the Catholic Church during the Dark Ages hadn’t been trumped by science. If we had had the power to heal psychicly, would humans have had the impetus to seek out science, which is rooted in fact instead of faith, when the Church’s command of asceticism fell on the deaf ears of dying children and hungry stomachs? It is an intriguing thought, that the Church would continue to have power, and the basis for the start to this new series. I thought that, in general, this was handled very well. It must certainly be a very daunting thing for any author to try writing about, but on a personal level this worked rather well. The relationship between Cináed and Tadeo grew very organically, though they’d been practically thrust together by the Eye. Their sexual relationship was portrayed very well, in particular. The disparity between Tadeo, the experienced man, and Cináed, who lying with a man was never more than a forbidden thought, progressed slowly. This made sense because of Cináed, but it also allowed the sexual relationship to grow. I sometimes wonder why authors have their characters wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am with everything but the kitchen sink all in the first chapter, because unless there is kink involved there somewhere, there isn’t any room for the characters to progress in the bedroom. I liked that this story didn’t do that. They got to know each other and they explored each other slowly, learning to trust and love as each act was ushered forth at a new time, in a new situation. It gave their relationship sensuality and romance. On a larger scale, though, I wondered why there wasn’t more disparity between the two cultures. Maybe there wouldn’t be if the oppression of the Church had kept the culture on Dálriata in stasis. But I had hoped the question would be explored. However, that might come in further installments.
There were a few things that bothered me towards the end, which was that the story was shaping up to a very big confrontation that was only partially described on the page. It could be a bit like The Merchant of Venice, in which the story is shaping up to a very lare confrontation, but then ultimately is dealt with by cunning rather than force. That didn’t bother me. But, I had wished that the immediate resulting consequences (the fight between Gordon and Cináed’s father) had been shown on the page. I have a feeling that Gordon and Akir’s (Cináed’s best friend) story is next, so maybe we’ll get more of the story then. We also didn’t get any answers as to what The Eye of Scota actually is, though I assume that that will be dealt with in furthur novels. One thing that bothered me was that Cináed didn’t seem to have any interest in where Tadeo came from, the family he left behind, or all of the progression that Earth has made while his “backwater planet” (as he likes to call it) has been stuck in the Dark Ages. In his place, I would want to know everything about the future and where my culture might have been. At one point he seems very interested in Tadeo’s laser gun, which he doesn’t understand, but we never get that conversation.
All in all, this was a great story that was very imaginative. I’m hoping that further books will answer the questions that I was left with after finishin this story, though that remains to be seen. I’m not entirely sure that everyone will love this book, as it is pretty genre specific, but paranormal fans and especially science fiction fans will want to check this one out, as well as anyone who has a men-in-kilts fantasy :). I enjoyed it very much and I’m looking forward to the next book to come.