Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rules of Contact-Kristen Heitzmann

Rules of Contact
Kristen Heitzmann
WaterBrook, Feb 17 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9781400073085

Isabelle Claire Boudreaux abruptly walks away from her John Hopkins medical residency when it looked like the infant she tried to save didn’t make it. Her Gram left her the farm so Claire goes there to consider her future. Something strange happens while she drives her car and the next thing she knows she is waking up in a gigantic hole in the ground that swallowed her up and she has nothing on her to climb to freedom. She hears voices soshe heads to them hoping they can help her; only as gets closer to them they sound like patients having seizures.

A man attacks Claire, but Rafe intercedes. He tells her he will protect her if she agrees to be bound to him. Not sure what he means, she has little choice so she accepts his terms. He escorts her to his sleeping quarters in the underground bomb shelter and rapes her. Claire realizes men are predators abusing women unless the female is a bound slave to a particular male. People fight to the death over food and other items as killing is encouraged. Rafe has been in this society since his infancy so cannot grasp what his new slave sees as horror; instead he welcomes the security of the underground...Still they escape together knowing the underground leader will stalk them to protect his realm and fearing the FBI will learn of his murders even as he struggles to comprehend an ethics system radically different than the one he was raised in.

Kristen Heitzmann provides a thought provoking tale that focuses on the nature vs. nurture debate, on community values, and related to the latter on what is a law. Though Rafe grew up under a kill or be killed system, Claire, once she moves a bit past the shock of the rape, notices how he quietly tries to help those less fortunate without being noticed. Once she accepts him for what he is, she begins to care for him even though some might insist she is a victim of the Stockholm syndrome. Readers will fully enjoy this exciting cerebral tale that will have the audience ponder differing societal values and ethics as globalization leads to more complex international relationships.

Harriet Klausner