CassaFire is the second book of the adventures Cassan's pilot Byron, the first book is CassaStar. I haven't read the first (but I intend to now) can be read as a stand alone.

CassaFire, for me, was reminiscent of the best things I loved about Star Trek. Exploration of new worlds and cultures and the adventures that the characters went on to solve the mystery they were faced with.

In Cassafire, reclusive war hero, Byron, has kept his promise to his beloved mentor and friend by being part of the ship's company on an exploration ship, The Rennather. The ship's compliment has been dispatched to the planet Tgren to discover the identity and source of the newly found alien ruins. I loved the way the author introduced this and developed a real world. There's an immediate sense of excitement and mystery.

The Tgrens have achieved air flight but not yet reached beyond the planet and are suspicious of the Cassan's mental abilities, technology, and motives. There are some excellent secondary characters, both on the planet and with the ship's compliment, which move the story forward in a realistic manner and with them the author puts me on the spot. The Rennather science team must unlock the secret of the writing in the alien ruins and discover whether it's a weapon or perhaps the key to when and how the Tgrens arrived on the planet.

Byron also has another assignment and one he's not particularly thrilled with, being a loner. Access the immerging mental powers of the Tgrens. To do this Byron also has to interact with the pilots and the author skillfully captures the pilot mentality and their arrogance. Byron is soon paired up with the planet's ace pilot, Athee, who shows extraordinary mental powers. She also happens to be gorgeous and sexy which makes it difficult for Byron to maintain his solitary mindset. When the race to find the answers of the mystery becomes a matter of life and death, there's no way Byron can remain detached.

CassaFire has a good sense of humor skillfully weaved through out the story. I found myself laughing and chuckling. This story is well told and has a rich sense of suspense, danger, and an element of romance. Mr. Cavanaugh creates some wonderful three-dimensional main characters that readers can't help but be invested in emotionally. I love Mevine, Byron's friend. He's a geek burning with enthusiasm and wonder. I just want to hug him and then pump him with questions. Athee is a woman sure of herself, eager to learn, and willing to fight for her people. She's my kind of heroine. Athee is independent and spirited and full of adventure--as is the whole story. I loved the sense of mounting danger Alex Cavanaugh was able to induce throughout the story to the end. A very satisfying ending.

There were a few minor distractions for me in this story. Mostly centering on a few phrases used which pulled me from being a part of what was happening and placed me back as an observer.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining adventure, which kept me turning the pages and I didn't want it to end.


Book Blurb for CassaFire

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Night Owl Reviews May, 2012 4.00