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Shockball: A Stardoc Novel    by S. L. Viehl order for
by S. L. Viehl
Order:  USA  Can
Roc, 2001 (2001)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Shockball is the fourth in a thrilling series starring genetically engineered, cloned surgeon, Dr. Cherijo Torin. Her flight across the universe from her 'brilliant but insane' creator / father, Joseph Grey Veil, has garnered her entire races as partisans and enemies, and two marriages. Fortunately the second, to Duncan Reever, is lasting a little longer than the first, and though the continuing action gives the new couple no time to relax, they do get to enjoy snatches of wedded bliss.

The heroine's reactions to alien cultures continue to entertain, as in her response to an invitation to ascend to an aviary home ... 'Sanitary or not, no way was I going to stand on a pile of dried-up, decades-old Meridae droppings.' However, all too soon, she and Duncan are back Earthside, trapped by a Trojan Horse gift of Grey Veil's. They are rescued from his clutches by a (literally) underground cult-like group with Navajo (and alien) bloodlines, imbued in Indian culture, and with a psychotic leader.

These Night Horse own a Shockball team and Duncan is forced to compete in the dangerous game, in which penalties result in severe electric shocks. The feisty Cherijo, recruited to be the team's patcher, takes this in stride along with the usual series of medical emergencies, attacks on her person, revelations about her past and family, old friends who pop up unexpectedly in the present, and her cat's new love interest.

Shockball is an exciting addition to Viehl's amazing Stardoc series. Read it for another (tongue firmly in cheek) dizzying dose of aliens, action and romance.

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