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Dark Horse  By  cover art

Dark Horse

By: Michelle Diener
Narrated by: Christina Delaine
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Publisher's Summary

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she's made a powerful ally - a fellow prisoner with whom she's formed a strong bond. Sazo's an artificial intelligence. He's saved her from captivity and torture, but he's also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn't know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he's not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead - all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5's owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn't the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he's going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

Winner of a SFR Galaxy Award 2016 and the Prism Award 2016 for Best Futuristic.

©2015 Michelle Diener (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about Dark Horse

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A Perfect Sci Fi / Romance Series You'll Love!

Last year when I found this series on Kindle, I was stunned by the beautiful writing, plotting and character development -- something I've never seen in a typical sci fi romance before. I could only hope that if the series was ever given the Audible treatment, that the author would choose the perfect narrator as well. And she did!

I LOVE sci fi romance novels, but too often the writing suffers from authors who lean a bit too heavily toward ever more bizarre alien sex scenes, and overly bit*chy dialogue for the women as a substitute for strength and/or wit. It gets old after a while, and I had given up ever finding a well written book in this sub genre, until I found this amazing series.

Michelle Diener is a wonderful author who can really write, and she has written three great books in this series. Each book contains a lovely romance, lots of action, and spectacular and well thought out science fiction -- it's a freakin miracle!

AND -- Christina Delaine is wonderful in this series, and performs it as well as any of the great narrators out there. I'll be looking forward to hearing more from her!

What a treasure!


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (For anyone who loves sci fi romance, but also wants to read well written books!)


Note: There is no explicit sex in this series, and you won't miss it at all.

42 people found this helpful

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Simply Outstanding

Without preamble, this audiobook is nothing less than excellent. I was extremely impressed with everything from the story, the writing, the narration... I simply can't say enough.

The story begins with Rose, a human from earth, escaping from a Techron ship. A prisoner for 3 months, Rose was abducted from a remote vacation cabin by the technologically superior alien race. She has been cut open, experimented on, and left to live in tight, horrible conditions. The only person she has to communicate with is the ship's AI. Then, the AI strikes a deal with her... If she frees him from the hardware that limits and restricts his actions, he will get her off the ship and into the hands of another kinder alien race more similar to herself. The catch is, she must take him with her and keep him a secret.
The story explores the concept of artificial intelligence in depth. Rose guides her new friend through his development of emotions, helps him develop a sense of ethics, and becomes his first true friend (a feeling that is reciprocated). However, the power and abilities of her new AI friend and his desire for vengeance on his former captors make him very unpredictable and a possible threat to her new friends and allies who have rescued her.

There is alien technology, space battles, multiple alien races, and great characters. Any fan of science fiction will surely like this book.

I believe this book could be classified as a Sci-Fi Romance due to the relationship the main character develops with the captain of the ship that rescues her, but I did not find the romantic components overpowering and they added more to the story and characters.

The narration was absolutely top notch here. One of the aspects of the story is the main character's ability to sing, so finding a narrator that was good with so many voices, has good inflection, keeps the right pace, AND has a good singing voice must have been difficult... But Christina Delaine was spot on for the entire book.

I have found one of my new favorite authors AND one of my top 5 favorite narrators. I feel like that's saying something since I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks...

This is a must read for sci-fi fans. 5 stars all around!

15 people found this helpful

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Love this book! New fave author.

I loved this book. I won a copy of the audio addition from a giveaway of the authors. But I already own the kindle addition. The author brings you into her world and makes you want to belong to it. I loved her unique take on things and the plot was excellent. Now the audio addition was good. I did have a little trouble with the voices the narrator did for the Class 5's. I had just imagined something a little different. It was a little TOO much "Good Morning Dave" for me. But once I got used to it, it was fine. I also could tell the growth of the Class 5's as their voices became a little more humanoid for lack of a better tone. But sometimes the narrator would be speaking in Sazo's voice and it wasn't until after when Rose "could tell from Sazo's voice he was embarrassed" that I could actually picture him embarrassed. I hope that makes sense. But that would be my only negative with the audio addition. And it was only a small thing. I really enjoyed it and this author went on my auto buy list. In fact I've gone and bought the other two books I. The series that are out.

10 people found this helpful

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Disappointed!

All three of these books are exactly the same with only the characters names changing. Different women, different male gree, and a different ship, but the exact same story. Listen to the first book and save your money, because there is no need to buy the next two. I did thinking the story would evolve, because the narration is good and it is well written. I feel like I have ben scammed!

8 people found this helpful

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Cheap romance, otherwise great story

The overall story of exploring worlds, pursuing the rescue of mistreated AIs, and showing the best of humanity on the interstellar circuit is really fascinating and agreeable. The romance side of it started to be intriguing, but was thrown away by somewhere at or after two thirds through the book. It was played up as immature minds diving into sex and it really messed with the storyline. Overall, the story is really well written; it's just a shame that very, very few authors, and possibly readers too, grasp the essence of romance or human sexuality. It's obvious when one sees good romance, but today's people don't realize what they're really seeing and how it differs from unenlightened foreplay and sex.

7 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Escape

I found this such a fascinating tale I missed sleep several nights, the time just went by without notice. the narration was done wonderfully, I was pulled into the story with all the characters voices. Just Wonderful. The story was gripping, I didn't want it to end.

7 people found this helpful

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Awesome Sci-Fi Romance.

After reading the review from another reviewer on this book, it sounded like something that I would like. I am so glad I gave this book a look, I really liked it. I like the whole music aspect of the story, I kept trying to guess what music choices Rose was singing throughout the book. I like the friendship Rose made with the Class 5 ship and realized it was not just a machine. This is an interesting new world and I hope there are many books to come from this series. In my opinion there were a few flaws in the details, but they were minor. Mostly that everything came too easy for Rose to learn and that not many of the other species seemed to ask an questions about Earth. There were hints of it but I feel the story would have been just that much better with a bit more wonder in the plot. Narrator is really pretty good, she does pretty good on all the voices by making them distinct, only a few a bit weird but hey this is an alien society she is speaking for.

6 people found this helpful

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great book

loves the book when I read it loved listening to it just as much Def worth the buy

4 people found this helpful

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A different new world

What did you like best about this story?

An ordinary woman had to become something more in situations she had no control over, just to survive in a new universe.

Any additional comments?

I read the Kindle version several times just because I liked the story. When I found the Audible version I jumped at the chance to listen to a good narrator. I am looking forward to the remainder of this series to be recorded.

4 people found this helpful

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Love this series

I would really lol ike to continue with the 2nd book. I need the other books on Audible please!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Leigh UK
  • 12-27-20

Geezanages! That was good!

The plot, the characters, the writing, the world building, the 'human' rights issues.... let's just say I missed a night of sleep. I just could not put it down. I thought, I'd set the sleep timer and be asleep in 30mins. 30mins later, I extended it to 45mins. 45mins later I extended it again and then honestly, I just gave up. I literally listened to this til the sun came up. I absolutely had to know how it would end and I couldn't wait til tomorrow to find out. On to book 2! Or maybe I should get a night of sleep in first... hmmm

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs C
  • 08-27-21

Great start to series

I enjoyed listening to this story I was gripped from the start and am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series. The narrator was also very good.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tracy
  • 02-09-22

Surprisingly enjoyable

This was a free book on Audible - thank you Audible - I’m liking this feature!
Woman abducted by aliens makes friends with previously trapped AI
Meets more ( and handsome ) aliens - but cliché
But it’s ok ..bit different and I got used to the narrator who I liked
I have downloaded the second ( also free) book then we’ll see if I like the series enough ti purchase the next

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ditsy dhu
  • 11-12-22

worth reading 😃

enjoyed this book this category, space opera isn't my usual read but hubby recommended, glad I did, just about to start book 2 .

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  • Fred Jones
  • 11-06-22

Excellent

This was much better than I expected. A superb mix of space opera and romance. Rose is a wonderful feisty, intelligent lead character with her very dangerous unpredictable friend and ally. Great world building and intelligent ideas, a good romantic element, wide ranging conspiracy. He science fiction elements worked very well. Christina Delaine is an excellent narrator a who brings the story to lkfe.

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  • kassjazz
  • 07-30-22

really enjoyable sci-fi

loved it, great story that held my attention and wonderful work from the narrator.

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  • Andrew Armstrong
  • 07-24-22

Great fun

This was pretty much un-putdownable. Space aliens seen through the eyes of an abducted human, who is almost off the scale for resilience made this a great space opera.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-17-22

The best one

Listened to all the other books in this series, they are well written but they are repetitive, one story line four different heroines. I found the first book refreshing and really enjoyed listening to it, I bought the others to listen to while working or trying to fall asleep. If you miss a couple of chapters it doesn’t matter because you’ve already read at least one other book and know exactly what’s going to happen. An effective time waster.

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  • C M Silver
  • 06-17-22

A Rose by another name

Perfectly narrated, perfectly scripted tale of an alien abduction with a twist, with lots of action, drama, romance and insights of the hows and why of when higher life forms meet lower; but exactly which is which? Clever dialogue, humour and the good plot make this a treat not swamped with porn or stupid. So good to discover a new author to me.

Will be heading straight to Book 2. EXCELLENT BOOK VERY ENJOYABLE

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  • Bob
  • 05-27-22

Incomprehensible

Although read quite well by Christina Delaine, I found the first three chapters hard to understand. I wonder if you are meant to have read a previous work. This is just like a continuing chapter where nothing is explained.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-22

Enjoyable listening

I really enjoyed this book, I look forward to many more from this author.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-22

good trashy read

fun story, interesting but uncomplicated plot. well read and good characterisation. why not? cheers all

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  • Janette J Ryan
  • 11-06-21

Sci-fi love story

I listened to all 4 books, one after the other.
They were definitely something different.
I liked Michelle Dieners
idea of Artificial Intelligence, (AI).
There are implications of the use as the books show.
Treacherous people can use it for the detriment of others.
It is obvious that it needs ethics and empathy, as well as knowledge.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Diana
  • 10-26-21

*****

Original and fascinating. A great pleasure to listen to. I look forward to more .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anwar
  • 09-26-21

Brilliant

This is the story of Rose McKenzie and Captain Dav Jalan. Rose having been held prisoner on a Class 5 battleship owned by the Tecran and experimented on has made a friend Sazo who just happens to be a artificial intelligence. What follows is a fascinating game of cat and mouse with the highest stakes possible. In the middle of all this Rose and Dav fall for each other but does their romance stand a chance when everyone else is out for themselves at all costs. This book held my interest from beginning to end I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I highly recommend it.

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  • Avidchic reader
  • 09-08-21

in-depth story

first time reading this author and I thought I'd try with help from reviews.
it was a clever scifi whodunit. for me, it was a bit too detective and I prefer a bit more romance.
I've been a fan of ruby lionsdake, Anna carven, zoey draven and Anna Hackett, so this novel was more involved than I thought. I still enjoyed it though and the narrator did really well.
no pretence with romance and clever AI writing....

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  • Nikki Logan
  • 06-06-21

Great space romance with a great narrator

I’ve had this book for ages and just haven’t got to reading it but because it had whispersync I was able to buy the audio at a bargain price. I’m so glad I did. It’s the first time that I’ve actually stopped doing other things in order to listen to an audiobook (rather than listening while doing those other things). I ended up spending a lot longer than I expected listening but wasn’t sorry (except that it was over all too quickly.) Looks like the series is going to have individual storylines with new characters in the existing world but that’s OK because book one came to its own satisfactory conclusion and I’m ready to visit some of those other planets and cultures.