The Tribulations of Tompa Lee

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The Tribulations of Tompa Lee is a continuation of Edward Hoornaert’s Tompa Lee trilogy. It follows Tompa, an ambassador to Zee Shode. The planet is home to the Shons, an alien race that amasses in herds. Every herd has the same thoughts and views on everything, and the herds do everything together. Tompa befriended Awmit, a young Shon, presumably in the first book. In the second, the Shon continues to follow and admire Tompa. When the herd decides to turn against Tompa, Awmit leaves his herd, along with another Shon, Tar-Thara.

Tompa and a fellow ambassador, John, are hosting a party for a Detchvilli official when the Klicks attack Zee Shode. The Klicks are reptile-like aliens who possess whip-like tails that can eviscerate humans. Tompa is a brave woman, but she is terrified of the Klicks. When the Klicks attack, Tompa flees with Awmit and Tar-Thara, along with a handful of other people and aliens. They board a helicopter and land in Palla Pelly Park. The park is full of hidden dangers, and several members of Tompa’s party die in their journey. They face the choice of continuing into Palla Pelly, or turning back and facing the Klicks.

It was fairly easy to follow along with The Tribulations of Tompa Lee, having never read The Trial of Tompa Lee, the first book in the series. Tribulations provided enough exposition to help me understand what had happened in the previous installment of the story. With that, I could go on to understand more of the relationship the Shons had with the Klicks and why Tompa and some of the Shons were so terrified of them. I also appreciated Tompa as a strong female hero. She was brave enough to navigate Palla Pelly without fear, but understanding enough to be an effective ambassador to new alien races. The book wove politics into action without overcomplicating things. The story was a linear, simple adventure story, with a few scenes involving the Klicks’ machinations to break things up.

There were an awful lot of characters in Tompa’s adventure party, which made it difficult for the narrative to truly develop any one of them. Some of the characters such as Natasha, John, and Figueroa, came off as a little flat, simply because there wasn’t enough page time devoted to their development. A vague love triangle between Ming (a warrior), Tompa and Figueroa (a soldier) was introduced, but it was a little lukewarm. The male protagonists had an air of mystery about them, but they were not as deeply developed as they could have been.

I’ll be interested to see where Hoornaert goes with the third book, The Triumph of Tompa Lee, which came out in May, according to a note in an excerpt at the end of the book. With a leading lady worth rooting for, The Tribulations of Tompa Lee was a heartfelt adventure.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 342 pages
Publisher CreateSpace
Publish Date 26-Feb-2014
ISBN 9781495337406 Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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