Harsh Realities by CG Hatton – 5/5 Stars

Harsh Realities by CG Hatton - Front Cover

‘Confidentiality at a premium, clandestine seclusion guaranteed.’

The story up to now – the nature of the beast

‘There’s an organisation …’

Book one: there was a bounty on Hilyer, rough-around-the-edges field operative of the Thieves’ Guild (TG). Book two: there was a bounty on Luka (LC) Anderton, charming field operative of the TG. Book three: whoever messed with the above field operatives has decided to mess with NG, and they put an even bigger bounty on him. ‘Nobody messes with the TG’, but author CG Hatton’s series has proved that people keep messing with it and in all sorts of ways.

It’s daring to mess with a prominent figure of the TG, who is inaccessible to the grunts of the TG’s enemies. NG is in the first two books as this guy on the TG ship, the Alsatia, who everybody looks up to and receives orders from. He’s not the Man, of course; the Man is the mysterious figure pulling the strings of the TG, and probably most of the galaxy too.

Main character NG

‘Shit, I always knew you were a tough bastard, NG, but level five? Jesus, most people don’t make it past three.’

If you thought author CG Hatton would have run out of protagonists, you’d be mistaken in Harsh Realities (HR) book three of the TG Series. NG is conflicted, not because he’s physically battered like glutton-for-punishment Hilyer and not because he’s infected with a virus and is deciding on romantic boundaries like LC – NG already had some freakish abilities similar to the virus, we’re told, and it explains much. More often than not, NG is shown to be … knackered. Character after character tax his energy levels, and he has to single-handedly run the various departments of the TG, assimilate what they’re thinking because he can read their thoughts, fend off the advances of caring-predator Devon, and then also work out who put a bounty on him and attempted to kill him.

Story structure

Up to now, NG’s story coincides with what happened to LC and Hilyer in books one and two, and I couldn’t have been more pleased to have discovered the serious stuff that went down that linked the events in all three books together. The conspiracy is being mapped out, and although we know some of the players, we don’t know how they managed to carry out attacks, infiltrate the TG, and bring to bear such influence. Some organisations are named; in fact, I was a bit confused by some of them: Assassins, Order, and then UM and JU slipped my mind.

From 140 out of 360 pages, the story changes! My favourite page was P210 – I loved the show of unity. There are more than a few hints that there are aliens, or that their existence may be real. I was a bit concerned the story arc would vanish and I’d be fitted with a military science fiction first contact story, and I must say the plot slowed a bit here, but the build-up must have been a monumental challenge to write, and the story kept strong, circulating around the characters. I grew attached to the new character Hones, here. The subsequent events were pure TG, and this is where I have to say I loved the return of the field operatives, but from NG’s point of view, seeing all of them work in concert. There are some huge eye-opening revelations at the end of the book.

Harsh Realities by CG Hatton on Amazon

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