Book Reviews

The Chains Of Their Sins (Taking Shield 4) by Anna Butler at Glass Hat Press

Genre Gay / Science Fiction / Military/Former Military / Aliens / Other Planets / Outer Space / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Kristin F. on 06-April-2020

Book Blurb

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year's posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out.

On Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan...

First Place: Best Gay SciFi/Futuristic
Joint Third Place: Best Gay Book

Book Review

This novel cannot be read as a stand-alone. Please read ‘Gyrfalcon’, ‘Heart Scarab’, and ‘Makepeace’ first if you haven’t done so already. When ‘Heart Scarab’ ended, I noted in my review I was uneasy. It wasn’t quite a cliff-hanger, but it had me drumming my fingers on the table going “Hmm…” When ‘Makepeace’ started, I was again drumming my fingers on the end of the couch going “Hmm…”, and ended the book with an Arrrgghhhh! ‘The Chains of the Sins’ had me going “Hmm…” and Arrrgghhhh!


The premise of ‘Chains of Their Sin’ is that Captain Bennet is serving his final year of off-Shield rotation on the Gyrfalcon. He’s viewing this assignment with dread: his father is in upper command, his youngest sister Natalia is in engineering, and Flynn…Flynn is untouchable due to fraternization rules. Bennet works out a detente of sorts with his father. He comes to some common ground with his sister. Bennet and Flynn agree that they can only be “friends”, that fraternization in the ranks is one rule Bennet won’t break. Somehow, they’ll make it work.


Not long after taking command of the Hornets on the Gyrfalcon, Bennet is called to Shield duty on the planet Boeotia, where Shield has stashed the rescued civilians from Makepeace. His long-time friend Felix is overseeing the rehabilitation of the civilians while conducting studies to see how the Maess have messed with their minds – literally. Bennet doesn’t like the whole situation, feels the setup is more like a prison, and the experiments too similar to what the Maess were doing and they didn’t part on good terms. But there is no good alternative and Bennet, angry at what Felix is doing, washes his hands of the whole mess.


While an interesting read (this is a very solid sci-fi book), ‘The Chains of Their Sins’ is a transition book. This installment really didn’t have the impact in the story and romance arc that the previous books did. Bennet proposes some horrific theories to the system politicians at Albion and is lambasted for it, there is some resolution between father and son, there are some tears at a point I won’t spoil, and, in the end, Flynn and Bennet are no further along than when their story started.


Which is beginning to frustrate the HECK out of me! Come on! Give the two guys a break! Okay – author elicited an emotional response, always a good sign. But still, this is book four and I’m starting to get frustrated.


One unresolved issue that kind of niggled at me: Natalia’s behavior toward Bennet and Flynn was unexplained and a bit odd. Perhaps there is more to come in the next book?


Lastly… ARRRGGHHHH!!!!!! Blast and bother – cliff-hanger alert. I have to wait for the next book, dammit. This officially falls under cruel and unusual punishment.


And it’s SO worth it! I love this series – great worldbuilding, the characters are complex and interesting, the sci-fi is solid. I can’t wait for the next one.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Pride Promotions for the purpose of a review. This review was first published on Gay Book Reviews.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 345 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-February-2017
Price $3.99 ebook, $13.50 paperback
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