Having retained the genetic memory of her ancestor for which she was named, Thirza Girard has a huge task ahead of her: solidify her family’s wealthy dynasty. The original Thirza made a deal with and captured Zaid, an alien Tashen-Dar, who has god-like powers to manipulate chance. Zaid has been imprisoned by paint, an organic technology, for one-thousand years, and Thirza must go re-paint the bindings or pay up for the deal her ancestor made with the alien.
However, Zaid has his own tricks up his sleeve and things don’t go as Thirza planned.
Being told in Thirza’s perspective, the reader learns a great deal about Thirza in a short span of time. Having a genetic memory and being genetically modified makes life difficult for Thirza, especially her dreams. Did her dreams happen? Or is she actually dreaming? I enjoyed her thoughts and felt that the first person perspective was needed to give this short story substance.
Zaid is the great mystery and not what Thirza “remembered”. Like Thirza, Zaid has modified himself with her in mind. Although manipulative, a single choice Zaid makes softens the reader to this unusual hero. Do I ever like Zaid? Not really, but he grew on me. It’s hard to overcome being the boogieman in fifty pages.
A bit confusing, but delightfully intriguing, Painted Promise is a great sci-fi romance. I believe with an extra twenty pages, this great sci-fi romance could have been superb, allowing time to flesh out some of the confusing parts and giving time for Zaid to fully win over the reader.
Thirza Girard is a clone. Her mirror image founded a thousand-year dynasty that spans the quadrant. The Girard family power is no accident. The original Thirza made a deal with an alien, a Tashen-Dar, who could manipulate probability. He changed reality so Thirza and her descendants are favored with opportunity; the chance, if they grab it, of achieving great wealth and power. However, it comes at a cost.
Paint—an organic technology—binds the alien Zaid in the bowels of the planet. Paint has captured him as an image for a thousand years. The time of binding is almost at an end and Thirza Girard’s clone must pay the price for the power her family has enjoyed. She must rebind him, capture him again in paint, or pay another, more carnal price.