It's a late winter night when Patricia Risden heads home in her car, on a road she's driven many times before. She doesn't have a care in the world, that is, until a man appears from nowhere, right in front of her.
When she awakes, she finds herself a prisoner of the unscrupulous Alliance Commander Travis 152; an intimidating man who demands information and complete cooperation. Travis soon realizes his mistake; Tricia doesn't know anything, and she is incapable of even getting a glass of water from the ship's computer.
Infamous for being a ruthless executioner, conditioned since childhood to feel nothing besides fear and pain, he still deems her harmless, and finds enough pity for the lost young woman to let her out of the cell; a decision that will change both their lives forever.
Flashes of memory illuminated the darkness. There was a hideously disfigured face, a light falling from the sky, a car skidding, sliding, rolling... nothing made any sense, and Patricia wasn't aware enough to even try to understand it. Time ceased to exist and only these brief glimpses of the world seemed real. Then, something stung the side of her neck. Sudden pain screamed through her mind, and she tried to lift a hand to rub her neck and her poor pounding head, but her arm didn't move. The words, "Paralyzed, you're paralyzed," flashed through her mind with compelling neon letters, and she popped her eyes wide open, trying to fight down a wave of panic.
She expected to be home, in her own bedroom, or in an ambulance, or maybe a hospital, but when she finally managed to focus, she found herself staring into a pair of cold and dead blue eyes. A male voice said something in a language she couldn't understand, "Koira cha tinn? Waplaho banejem cackat tor tebe? Kako ya ting ro thrab?"
Since the words didn't make any sense and the eyes frightened her, she looked at the rest of the face, and immediately wished she hadn't. Half of it was handsome, but the other part came from a nightmare. She had been raised not to make fun of people, to believe a person's looks in no way mirrors the inside, and not to stare at others' misfortune. It was still almost impossible not to gawk at the combination of scars and destroyed skin that made up most of his left cheek, stretching up towards the temple and down toward the chin. It was both deeply tragic and terrifying.
Trying to pull back from the horror in front of her didn't do her any good. She was in a chair with her arms tied to the armrests, and there was nowhere to go. The man spoke again, repeating the words from earlier, and she found herself babbling, "Who are you? Where am I? I can't understand a word you're saying, please don't hurt me."
The cold eyes locked in with hers, and what she saw in them frightened her. She imagined it to be the gaze of a mass-murderer, empty and void of the life that fills normal people. She was no doubt selected to be his next victim. She whispered, "Oh, please no, I don't want to die."
The face in front of her disappeared, and she was relieved at first, but as she focused on her surroundings she almost wished he'd stayed so she wouldn't have seen it. As gruesome as his face might be, the things surrounding her frightened her more.
The room was cold with gray metal walls, and the chair she was sitting in was black and fairly soft, located behind two others. There didn't appear to be a floor underneath her. When she turned her head to look down, she could see the Earth hanging far below her and the moon slowly wandering its orbit. She squeezed her eyes shut, but everything was still there when she opened them again, and she decided it must be a movie. Normal people didn't have things like these underneath their feet, but he clearly wasn't normal.
Posted by Ms Paula L. McElwee on 26th May 2013
Maria Hammerblat's Kidnapped is the compelling story of a woman from earth who is abducted and taken on a whirlwind tour of outer space by an "alien" whos purpose, demeanor and actions are chilling and frightening. As this character develops he is influenced by a woman who becomes his partner in the adventures of his culture. At times this story is chilling in the harsh actions of the captor, and in turn touching and romantic as he thaws in his demeanor toward the woman he's captures. Kidnapped will hold your attention from beginning to end. You MUST read it
Posted by Isabela Morales on 26th May 2013
Sure enough, the fairy tale has a sweet, happy ending.
Hopefully that's no spoiler--Kidnapped, though it did feature a totalitarian galactic empire and band of revolutionaries, never masqueraded as anything dystopian. The strength of the Maria Hammarblad's story lies in a charming, straightforward plotline with likeable protagonists. Essentially it's a traditional tale with a slight science fiction twist. And in a genre where minutely-detailed descriptions of nanorobots in the blood stream make quite a few appearances, Maria Hammarblad makes her traditional narrative refreshing--not cliché.
The jury approves.
Reading time: One week, give or take a day--swinging on the hammock, by the pool, or an hour before lights-out.
Recommendation: Not for hard-SF devotees; Kidnapped is a breezy romance with the power to make a reader tired of dystopia smile.
Posted by Mrs Michael on 26th May 2013
Maria Hammarblad's "Kidnapped" is a thrilling science fiction novel that I found myself completely enchanted by. I do not consider myself a sci-fi girl but this book was filled with romance and feeling that kept me turning the page.
The main character Tricia is abducted in the beginning of the story and though she is fearful at first, she quickly finds comfort from her abductor and my favorite character the multifaceted Travis. Though Tricia is a wonderful and highly relatable character, I found myself drawn to Travis' raw and crippling outlook. Tricia is the victim of mistaken identity, while Travis continually held my heart with his dysfunctional views. As the story unfolds it is easy to get lost in the adventure and forget exactly who is the savior and who is being rescued.
Maria contributes such emotion to each character that you can't help but feel connected to them in some way. Her ability to lend detail to uniquely set surroundings helped each moment unfold before me.
I was captivated by the talent and creativity it took to delicately introduce individual perspective, through out the story without it becoming confusing or overwhelming.
I highly recommend "Kidnapped" to anyone who enjoys, action, romance, sci-fi and a spectacular read!
Posted by Sally Pink Reivews on 23rd Feb 2013
Hammarblad takes the reader on the adventure of a lifetime with "Kidnapped." Patricia is traveling home late one night and swerves to avoid hitting a person. Her car crashes and while that person she was trying to avoid, William, actually saves her, she's taken by an alliance soldier, Travis, as a prisoner. Soon, Travis has regrets as he realizes Patricia is an innocent bystander.
The story is a sci-fi romance set in the present day, Patricia discovers there's a thriving population of humans in space. Her captive, Travis, allows her to roam the ship and they grow close. Travis knows that if he takes Patricia as a lover, their futures will be put in danger, but will love give him the courage he needs to defy the alliance and allow him to live his life on his terms?
The story opens with Patricia's kidnapping and takes not only Patricia, but Travis on a journey that will explore the depths of their emotions.
Hammarblad's writing is solid, the plot engaging, and the story shines with creativity. "Kidnapped" allows Hammarblad's imagination to soar.
The characters are likable. Patricia is a sweet girl who is loyal in love. Travis discovers a whole new range of emotions as he falls in love including hope, honor, and true courage.
The novel is sensual/warm for romance readers with Patricia and Travis sharing kisses and tender caresses. The ending promises to bring the story full circle. If you like science fiction romance, you'll enjoy this story. I highly recommend it.