Starting a clan is not on ambitious First Officer Tranis’ agenda; he is too busy building a career in the Kalquorian fleet. It’s a good thing since the Nobek who captures his interest belongs to the captain and the Imdiko he can’t stop thinking about is not his type.
Weapons Commander Lidon feels his best days are behind him. The Imdiko he wants avoids him, and the new Dramok first officer is obviously too young to consider an older, crippled Nobek. However, an unexpected invitation makes Lidon wonder if there is something more to look forward to after all.
Head doctor Degorsk hides behind an offbeat sense of humor that shocks and keeps his fellow crewmembers at arms’ length – exactly where he wants them. But one Nobek refuses to be discouraged and the new first officer is too much temptation to deny himself.
As the trio is pulled together by attraction and pushed back apart by fear, an old enemy threatens the Kalquorian Empire. With no choice but to rely on each other for survival, Tranis, Lidon, and Degorsk are forced to expose their greatest terrors to each other…and themselves.
As a huge fan of St. John’s Clans of Kalquor series, I remember being quite excited when To Clan and Conquer was first released. I wasn’t really into M/M romances at the time, but the clans that Kalquorians formed was an intriguing concept and I was interested in their backstories. It’s quite possible that To Clan and Conquer was one of my early forays into M/M romances and when I reread this book, I enjoyed it even more as I have since become a huge fan of man-on-man action, especially aggressive man-on-man-on-man action – something the Kalquorians excel at.
If you’ve read Alien Conquest, then you’ve met the clan that is formed in this book. But at the beginning of To Clan and Conquer, none of the men are together. In fact, Nobek Lidon is involved with but not clanned to another Dramok. Theirs is a tenuous relationship because despite being together for well over a decade, Lidon repeatedly declines Piras’s invitation to clan. Although Lidon acknowledges that part of his hesitancy is due to the nature of their physical intimacies, there is more to it than that and it isn’t until the young Dramok Tranis shows an interest in both him and Imdiko Degorsk that Lidon finally realizes why he doesn’t want to clan with Piras – Piras cannot stand Degorsk and Lidon wants the man as his Imdiko. I find it oddly amusing that considering their lengthy life span, that both Degorsk and Lidon consider the age difference between them and Tranis to be a significant hurdle. Fortunately Tranis has no issue with the age difference nor does he have a problem with taking advantage of a situation and shows both men how good being dominated can be – and they return the favor perfectly. The men also learn just how petty a Dramok can be when Piras breaks protocol and leave the men behind to “protect” the planet to prevent them from joining the battle. But Piras’s shortsightedness proves to be the settlers’ saving grace as the three men work together to thwart the threat. And yet this is not the only action the author treats fans to and we get a front-row seat to the battle that leads to the men changing the course of their careers that eventually leads them to their Matara, Cassidy, in Alien Conquest.
I thoroughly enjoyed my reread of To Clan and Conquer. I loved getting to see how Tranis built a relationship with each man and proved that his youth did not equal a lack of maturity. I liked that while Tranis had no intention of forming a clan, preferring to build his career and make a name for himself, he could recognize a good thing and wasn’t willing to let the opportunity to clan with Lidon and Degorsk pass him by. This book showed the lengths to which people in love will go to insure that their relationship is healthy for all involved. Getting to learn how Lidon’s injury occurred that led to his limp was an interesting piece of the puzzle of the man, as was his eventual decision to have the surgery he needed to improve his mobility so that he could provide the level of protection for his clanmates that his Nobek breeding required. To Clan and Conquer was an excellent addition to the Kalquor franchise and I only wish I had built in the time to reread Alien Conquest. Eventually I’ll do a Kalquor reread and read all of the books according to their timelines. Until then I look forward to reading the next book in the Clan Beginnings series.