The Nosferatu Chronicles: Origins, written by Susan Hamilton is a science fiction novel that tells a vivid story of creatures arriving from space and discovering that the planet they’ve crashed onto isn’t what it seems. The Vambir have been in cryostatis and crash land on Earth in the 15th century. This book meticulously sets the scene for many dramatic events. The Vambir discover they have a taste for human blood as Dracula and his army is growing in strength during the tumultuous 15th century.
The story of the alien Vambir landing on Earth is a fascinating twist on the vampire genre. Author Susan Hamilton does a great job of blending her story with the slow and steady rise of Dracula and his army. Together they allow a macabre blend of science fiction and horror to slowly develop. I felt like the myth of ‘Vlad the Impaler’ could have been developed quicker, so that we could have taken a deeper dive into his present and future, because his character and the time period are so fascinating in this story.
The story switches between the Vambir, a member of Dracula’s army and people who are being told the story about the Vambir later on. Because of this constant switching I sometimes found it difficult to understand what was happening.
The story that has been meticulously developed by Susan Hamilton has no loss of detail and a lot of references to vampire mythology. Susan Hamilton delivers the story with such clarity and simple prose that reading it was effortless. This lends easily to the suspension of disbelief; maybe vampires can come from outer space? This seemed as plausible as vampires, but I was never left questioning any of this, I was just thoroughly enjoying the novel.
As I enjoy vampires and mythological creatures, this book was a lovely and intriguing read that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Hamilton has created a thrilling story that incorporates the vampire mythology while introducing some interesting new ones. If you enjoy your classic vampires, and want a new science fiction twist then The Nosferatu Chronicles is for you.
Pages: 266 | ASIN: B00X9GWEEM
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Joe is your average college kid on spring break, just wanting to take a camping trip with his friend Homer. They are camping out in the continental divide, Homer’s first experience with camping and Joe being the good buddy that he is teasing him to no end. Late at night Joe is off near the lake watching the stars when unexpectedly an alien ship crashes into the water. Frank and Fred soon have their first encounter with an Earthling. After accidentally getting stuck on Frank and Fred’s ship and launching into space, Joe finds himself in the middle of a jewel heist, and some intergalactic espionage, as well as at the center of a planets battle for freedom from two other worlds disturbance. It was a busy week for Joe and his most eventful spring break ever.
While the book starts out on Earth and then moves to the planet Ladascus, it is hard to remember sometimes you are not on Earth. Some of the characters are described, but aside from the different language they sometimes use, so much of the scenery and even the day to day activities are the same as any town on Earth. There is a very familiar and at home feeling to the setting and even the characters, that while the authors tell you they are not human, the definitely feel human in their personalities and mannerisms. The town most of the story takes place in is called Ngorongoro. It has a mix of low tech and high tech devices, including part of the population being androids that are made to emulate human minds and appearances. They can even have addiction problems, what are they addicted to? 9 Volt batteries from Earth of all things. The novel has quit a bit of humor such as this sprinkled through out, like the Ladascus Zoo, it has four humans on display. This creates an awkward moment for all parties involved. While the story doesn’t always feel like it’s from an alien world, I love that I can relate to experiences that are going on. The political maneuvering of the characters reminds me of the insanity revolving around our own politics right now. The authors write on a level that made me want to be there, to see it all unfolding and made me care about the characters, especially Joe.
The story line of the diamond heist introduces us to Ralph (not their real name) and how the miss scheduled job interferes with an intergalactic spy ring’s operations. This side story is quite fascinating, reading about the double life, bringing me back to the old spy movies, it was engaging. There are highly sophisticated and complicated spy nets and agents. One famous agent is Evinrude for the Quesonte. He is entertaining and very good at what he does. He is one of my favorite characters in the novel because of how well he outsmarts the others and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Edward A. Szynalski and Allen L. Petro give JOE Just and Ordinary Earthling a comical and unique twist to the alien abduction plot. The connection to the characters and relatability to them and their world with our own world is the reason for the five stars. The aliens are so human like in their behavior it is relatable to the reader. The subplot of Homer being lost in the woods and thinking he is going to die is comical and provides a reminder that Joe is off in space with aliens. Overall it is a good novel that will keep the reader engaged and entertained by the antics of all the characters as well as the different plot lines to follow. I would love to see a sequel to this novel and read more about the world of Ladascus.
Pages: 218 | ASIN: B06XJWVKTN
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The Time Slipsters spans science fiction, travelogue, historical fiction and comedy while showing a vibrant world of the future and the past. What is the funnest part about imagining and writing the future?
The fun is in seeing things that are commonly regarded as Sci-Fi beginning to happen. I believe that research on the web reveals what a wonderful world we live in. If you look for articles on medical research, the motor industry and technology in general, it also indicates where the human race is heading.
We are already seeing Nano robots being used for keyhole surgery, drugs being tailored to combat and kill cancer cells, and the early diagnosis of dementia, to name but a few. Plus the whiff of flying cars and free power is in the air!
Imagine a world where the health service does not feel overwhelmed by an aging population, because old people are no longer suffering the ‘ravages of old age’. Why would that be? The answer is: treatment of their various sufferings is being mastered, until death they do part! By the way, I come into the latter category.
Envisage a world where travel is from home to destination, in minutes. No airports, no connecting flights or trains or buses or taxis. No squandering of natural resources, no electricity costs, no power stations needed, no pylons or towering wind vanes blotting the landscape. Much of what I describe has been available for over a century, if it were not for intervention of vested interests.
The characters end up traveling through time, and like many stories, their actions in the past affect the future. What was the most interesting part about writing a time travel story?
Getting into the heads of the characters on both sides of the experience of time travel. Drawing word pictures of the experience and conveying mental images to readers was fun too. It challenges my imagination to run riot. By the way, unlike Professor Hawking I do not believe that the death of an ancestor caused by a time traveler would have any impact whatsoever on his or her descendants.
The threat to Earth is revealed by uncovering the mystery of the aliens who have been living under the auspices of the Sombrella Syndicate. What was the inspiration for the Sombrella Syndicate?
I once worked for a Lloyds of London group of insurance syndicates, so am familiar with the concept. The deserted brickworks near where I live in Spain was an ideal undercover location for an alien base, but not big enough to house it, on the surface. Who better to man it, underground, than dwarfs, who have a reputation for mining and gold!
Time Slipsters is book three in the Dreadnought collective. Where does book 4 take the characters?
Book 4 takes the characters in an entirely new direction that totally engrossed me for a while. I took great interest in the feasibility of psychic involvement in crime detection. This added another dimension to the evolution of the Dreadnought Collective. The various characters in all the books are intertwined in book 5, the Sightseers Agency, which is now run under the auspices of the U.S. government, as is the entire collective. The individual agencies in the collective instantly become more effective as the two genres are mixed.
A group of friends who have drifted apart decide to reunite and take a trip together. It is the near future, and their intention is to travel on the latest type of transport, in order to visit the ancient sites in Turkey.
They want to do this in luxury, and the travel company they selected has done its best to accommodate their desires. They are lost for words when they first cast their eyes on the spectacular, gleaming new vehicle waiting for them. It is in fact alien in technology, and far more of a futuristic craft than a mere ground-hugging coach.
Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a reality and machines can cater for individuals as well as the masses.
Soon, they embarking on a sightseeing tour like no other they could have imagined, and meeting a time-travelling stranger who takes them under his wing.
More than one person has a hidden agenda, as they realise when reach a highly protected secret location. It contains hybrid creatures on which the Gods of mythology are based.
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Seb and his brother spend the summer in Spain with their grandfather who pulls them along on a journey to discover that the town is filled with dwarves of alien origin. What was the inspiration behind this fascinating idea?
The inspiration for this idea is that fact that my hometown in Spain contains a high number of perfectly proportioned very short people. I’m surrounded by ‘em!
I felt that the story was adventurous but also humorous. Did you have fun writing this novel?
Yes, especially as there is a deserted brickworks near where I live, which is much like I describe it – above ground! The research into UFOs and how they may be powered took longer; I was curious about them, having seen a few, usually in groups, as I grew up.
I felt the characters were well developed. What was your process in creating the characters and how did that change as you were writing?
It didn’t change much, if at all. The characters are nearly always based on real people, including my own family. We all circle each other warily.
Seb Cage Begins His Adventures is book one in the Dreadnought Collective. In what direction does book 2 take the story?
Book 2 is The Inlooker, which is pivotal to the expanding series and you have already reviewed that. It takes us into the near future, where Seb Cage is going to occupy a planet where the population is going to be drastically reduced by gentle means. The types of transport are also undergoing fundamental change, as are the methods by which we are ruled. This is where I need a lot of support from readers, since I am prophesying a future that can become reality, if we realise that it is achievable. My fear is that our senses are being dulled deliberately and we have to snap out of it.
Seb Cage joins the action in the third book in the series, The Time Slipsters. If the first book becomes a success and I live long enough with my marbles intact, the series will become volumes, and his continuing adventures will be related in Volume 1, Book 2.
Seb and his younger brother Bart customarily spend all of their long summer holiday in Spain, with their grandparents. Gradually, as they all become older, relationships are strained, as the old folk try to find things to keep the boys amused.
It is not long before the grandfather, Tumbler, who is a retired detective, is using Seb as a trainee investigator to keep tabs on the movements of a sector of the local town who he thinks ‘don’t fit it in’ – they are in fact dwarves of alien origin.
Soon, Tumbler and his apprentice are rumbled, and Seb is invited to join a summer campus. Coincidentally, this is run by the dwarves and has only recently been set up, virtually on the Tumbler’s doorstep!
At the campus, it gradually becomes apparent that Seb and his classmates have been chosen beforehand, by genetic engineering. They find that they possess special abilities, which have been implanted in them at an early age, and realise that these are now being developed in a matter of weeks.
Whatever plans they may have had for the future, their chosen destiny now awaits them.
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Coffin Dodgers is about a competition to be the last man standing, but with significantly higher stakes than your usual strong-man event. Survivathon takes place on the planet Atrocitas, a pre-historic world where the competitors need everything from high-tech gear to their own wits to make it to the end. While the planet and its inhabitants could spell the end for the various contestants, a sinister plot is waiting to spring out and make surviving the hardest game of all.
In the newest page-turner from Tom G.H. Adams, the thrills and the excitement are in full force. In the near-distant future, thrill seekers and endurance buffs clamor to become the winner of the inaugural Survivathon. With a high reward, but even higher risk, adrenaline junkies prepare to push their skills to the limit. However, making it through will be near impossible due to the beautiful yet deadly fauna and the creatures wanting to make meals of the newcomers. The players must also complete challenges that test mental and physical strength. The various entrants have advantages and disadvantages, but all have shown that they are up to the challenge. Ranging in gender, nationality, and skill-set, the players can either work together to survive, or split up to try to win the whole bounty. But there is another force they must overcome – a killer looking for a bigger prize than money.
Adams constructs a story that flows and keeps the pages flipping. It was hard to stop the momentum from building, and even when taking a breath, the stream of excitement is easy to hop back into. The action isn’t over the top and allows for the contrast of the quiet scenes to shine through. The choices of the characters feel natural for the most part and help move the story along. While the development is lacking, it doesn’t keep the book from being enjoyable. The world, Atrocitas, is described in rich detail and is the perfect setting for the Type-T’s (slang for thrill seekers).
While the narrative is easy to follow and allows the reader to understand everything, some of the twists and turns in the story could be seen coming from a mile away. And, with details being a high priority in this book, the descriptions could be a bit jarring. This shouldn’t deter interested readers, as the story’s pros far outweigh the cons.
All in all, Coffin Dodgers is not just a great title but also a solid story, interesting characters, and a hidden power to keep readers on a thrilling ride from beginning to end. The novel is worth anyone’s time and will have anyone wanting more thrill-seeking.
Pages: 164 | ASIN: B01N4ISYQQ
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Book 1 of the Dreadnought Collective series begins in Spain, where Sebastian Cage and his younger brother Bart arrive to spend the summer with their grandparents. Terry and Sandra Tumbler have plenty for them to do, with sporting activities and swimming to keep the boys active and burn off their boundless energy. Despite this, the rivalry between the brothers starts to fray their grandparents’ nerves, so Terry devises a plan. He enlists thirteen-year-old Sebastian as his research assistant for a secret project. Terry has noticed a larger-than-average number of little people in his town and is convinced they are aliens.
Seb’s intelligence and tenacity are put to good use. Seb and Terry’s set out to observe and follow people under five feet tall as they move about town. The pair’s activities are noticed, and a man named Skip approaches Seb and Terry and confirms their suspicions. Skip and his organization – the Sombrella Syndicate – aren’t hostile at all. He invites Seb to join their summer campus to learn special skills and advanced technology. Terry is skeptical, but he can further his research than getting the information straight from the source, even if he has to get the data by tricking his grandson.
Seb Cage is intended for middle-grade readers and offers a fantastic, “what I did on my summer vacation” adventure story. Seb must cope with discovering and controlling abilities he never knew he had, making friends with his fellow students and focusing on his education. He must also work in tandem with his partner Maisie, and develops a crush on her.
His uncertainty and awkwardness over Maisie, coupled with constant teasing from his younger brother, makes it easy to sympathize with Seb. He faces some issues that tween and teen readers will be familiar with. He’s essentially joining a new school and is soon surrounded by a group of young people his own age who come from all over Europe. He must learn to deal with embarrassment, mistakes, and successes, as well as bond with his classmates and learn from mentors who are very different from any teacher he’s had before.
The humor in the book is delightful, with a distinctly British feel. Some of it is word-play, with funny scenes (mostly involving Seb’s grandfather, Terry) that range from misunderstandings and mishaps to literal bathroom humor. Since the students and mentors are telepathically linked, the occasional stray thought slips through to hilarious effect. This kind of comedy plays through the whole story, keeping the mood light and the story moving.
The students visit real historical sites, and the descriptions of these monuments, battlefields, and triumphs of ancient engineering are wonderful. The author provides an appendix of links to some of these fantastic places that inspired the story.
Seb Cage Begins His Adventure is well-suited to readers from 9-14. It’s full of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy and will also appeal to youth who enjoy sports and exploration. The novel features strong themes of friendship, discovery, and learning to care for others and the planet Earth as well.
Pages: 382 | ASIN: B00VVCVNYI
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The Inlooker follows Thomas as his life changes when his daughter’s cat dies and he realizes that the dead cat’s soul inhabits the body of another cat in the house. This is one of the most unique story setups I’ve read in a long time. How did this idea develop into a story for you?
It is an event that actually happened. We had three cats at the time, each of which died in quick succession and had a unique personality, unlike those of the others. It was a wonder to behold, as each of our pets transmogrified into another way of behaving, which only lasted a couple of days before reverting to the original personality. That was over 30 years ago, but it led me to believe that animals possess spirits like we do.
Thomas works to enhance his powers, not just reading souls and manipulating his own, but taking control of other people. What was the biggest challenge you faced in developing the character along with his powers?
Dispassionate research was needed into reincarnation, spiritualism, poltergeist activity and the possibilities of bodily possession by others. I could not even begin to start this monumental task until retirement. The most profound findings were actually in reincarnation, where much evidence exists and has been documented, especially involving children.
I enjoyed the narrators voice, it’s humorous, dark, clear, and ironic. Was this an intentional part of the story or just a facet of your natural writing style?
It was deliberate and based on the style of an old-time English actor called George Saunders. I can’t honestly say if it reflects my style in general. There’s a touch of Terry Pratchett in there too, plus the zaniness of P.G.Wodehouse.
What is the next story you are working on and when will that book be available?
I’ve recently issued The Sightseers Agency and am working on another in the Sci-Fi vein that will be ready by June 2017. All my books are near-future speculative and most of the contents are based on what is possible in key areas of science.
The magical World of Science Fiction is dominated by stories about individuals with outlandish costumes, fantastical skills and superior strength. They compete energetically for attention, and capture our imagination in the most unbelievable of ways.
But what if in real life, there were to exist a force that could take on any of these mythical beings, without needing to possess similar or opposing strengths?
Thomas Beckon wields that force, in much the same way that a contagion can wipe out most of humanity, from within. For Thomas is an Inlooker, perhaps the only one as far as he is aware, and is truly capable of invading any person’s soul that he chooses.
Luckily for those around him, Thomas is a benign individual who chooses a path through life that barely creates a ripple in his wake. At least, what he does is so undetectable that any malevolence in his actions is hardly ever recognized, even superficially.
Pity those who cross swords (or should I say souls?) with the Inlooker, for he can take anyone down, or initiate a chain-reaction of catastrophes, regardless of a person’s super abilities, or position in life.
Then he becomes less benign, and begins to focus on changing the society in which we live. Thereafter, he focuses on the world.
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In The Second Sphere humans live longer, but terrorists aim to remove all life from the moon and Mars and return humans to Earth. This is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, thriller, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I try to tap the things that I love to read. People like George Pelecanos, Walter Moseley, and Michael Connelly are huge influences. I’ve always appreciated their characters; those who have their own unique ways of viewing and interacting with the world. I’ve always loved sci-fi, particularly dystopian futures, think Blade Runner. And I’ve always been fascinated with and a bit scared of conspiracies, particularly when it comes to government involvement with extraterrestrial life. All of it just came together when I sat down to write.
In this story human bodies are reduced to synthetic versions and the main character Orion has lived for a very long time. Where did this idea originate from and how did it develop as you were writing?
A good friend of mine introduced me to Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the singularity, I don’t know, maybe five or six years ago. The more I thought about it, the more the singularity kind of horrified me. Certainly there are some practical and humane possibilities when it comes to the intersection of technology and health. But at what point do we consider what we lose by literally giving up our bodies in the search for ever-lasting life? Part of this book is about processing the dark underbelly of technological advancement and scientific discovery.
It’s not easy to envision this type of a future. I ended up rewriting the details over and over because I felt that I was projecting my biases as a person living in the 21st century on a future that is barely on the horizon. Of course I couldn’t escape those biases completely, but I tried to.
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I tried to write what I enjoy reading. At one point in my rewriting process, I eliminated nearly all of the science in order to keep the story moving. A reader of mine really let me have it. He was right. My goal was to make the story as lean as possible, but I’d diluted the setting. So I re-inserted the portions that grounded the story a little bit more. I wanted to give the reader just enough without being burdened.
The Second Sphere is book one in the Three Spheres Trilogy. Can you give us an idea of what the next book will be about and when that will be available?
My goal is to have book two, tentatively titled Red Death, out by next Spring. This second book is going to be pretty dark. I wanted to have the book out this year, but it’s taken me longer than I imagined to get the story itself in shape. I wanted to will it in a more optimistic direction, but that’s not where it wants to go. So I have to listen to the story that’s being told to me.
In the future, advanced technology allows everlasting life. But enemies remain, including the Green Revolution, a “terrorist” organization bent on returning all life from the moon and Mars back to Earth. After Orion Cox, Deputy Intelligence Chief for the Laslow Corporation begins an investigation into a devastating bombing in New Mumbai, Mars, supposedly undertaken by the Green Revolution, he witnesses a vicious attack caused by a virus that threatens life throughout the Three Spheres.
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It all starts with a dead cat. Thomas Beckon is a father of two daughters, a husband to a kind, happy woman named Pat, an IT Manager, and a seemingly nice man who many fondly refer to as “Tommy.” His life changes when his daughter’s cat dies, and he realizes that the dead cat’s soul temporarily inhabits the body of another cat in the house. It’s always been his belief that even the smallest creatures have souls, so this discovery intrigues him more than it surprises him. His curiosity leads him to attempt a soul transfer of his own, taking over the body of the remaining cat. After much struggle, he’s successful.
This early success gives him the confidence to move on to humans. He comes to believe that he’s trained his entire life, through his interactions with his co-workers and his ability to understand them, to take on the role of Inlooker. An Inlooker is an immortal supernatural being which has the power to take over the souls of others. Beckon works to enhance these powers, not just reading souls and manipulating his own, but taking control of other people, body and soul.
He starts out using this power for what he believes is “good,” but even his idea of good is twisted around his own self-interests. He moves from doing “good” to purposely doing evil. As Beckon explores his abilities and learns the extent of his power, he will face many enemies, the strongest one of all, himself and his baser instincts. When the future of the world and humanity hangs in the balance, the question for him becomes: can he overcome his greed and hunger for power and chose to utilize his superpowers for the greater good?
Set mostly in England and written by a British author, The Inlooker has a distinctly English voice with a dry sense of humor readers often find in British mystery novels. I enjoyed the voice most of all. It’s humorous, dark, clear, and ironic. At first, I didn’t like the narrator’s intrusions into the story, but I soon grew used to them and enjoyed the quirky voice very much.
The author, Terry Tumbler, is able to move around in time without confusing the reader and without making unnatural or abrupt scene changes. I like the way he reveals Thomas’ true nature slowly, first showing us how he became the Inlooker, and then backtracking to illustrate how he was kind of always an Inlooker, or at least an Inlooker-in-training. His skills didn’t just appear in an act of God type of moment; rather, they were always evolving, always building until the moment when he took over the cat.
This idea of latent powers is further explored when Thomas uses his powers selfishly and heartlessly. Early in the book, I was reminded of the quote by Sir John Dalberg-Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” I at first believed that ultimate power corrupted Thomas, but as the story went on, I realized that self-centeredness and the lack of conscience he displayed always existed within him. Societal norms, familial pressures, and office etiquette had served to control his baser instincts, but once Thomas achieved absolute power, he no longer needed to work within those parameters, so he didn’t. In an ever-evolving world that grows more complicated with an alien invasion, Thomas must decide if dominating the world or saving the world is his ultimate destiny.
I like the format of the book, specifically the short chapters and the descriptive chapter titles. Both kept the story moving at a steady pace. My own personal preference would be for the book to end with Chapter 25 and to not include the Addendum and the five Reference chapters. Beckon does a splendid job in Chapter 25 of wrapping up all the major themes and storylines of the book in a satisfying, yet unexpected way. Readers who like to dive in deeper and learn all the ins and outs will likely enjoy the evolution of the story in the remaining sections.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B00VVCVEZ6
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What if you could live forever? Alternatively, would living forever truly make you happy? These are questions asked and answered in Peter S. Banks’ The Second Sphere. The first in a trilogy we find ourselves in a world where living for four hundred years is simple and human bodies are reduced to synthetic versions of what we have today. In our story we meet Orion; a man who has lived far longer than perhaps is acceptable for humankind. He’s got family but he hasn’t actually touched them in quite some time. He’s like a washed up business man or detective whiling away the years of his life at a job he doesn’t seem to care for. While he spends his free time caught up with illicit drugs and companions Orion is about to find out what it’s like when that seemingly peaceful life is ripped apart and thrust to hell.
No matter the genre, people are looking for ways to identify with it and make it more real. The fact that Banks tells his story in the first person allows readers to feel more connected to the protagonist. The technology in The Second Sphere is obviously advanced from our present lives but the time between now and then and the sort of technology written about isn’t too unrealistic. Just enough is explained and just enough is left for readers to accept as being normal.
Due to a spike in the population, since no one dies anymore, humanity has branched out to colonize both the moon and Mars. It is while attempting to live on the moon that Orion finds himself wrapped up in a battle against the terrorist organization known as the Green Revolution. There are bombs and there are conspiracies. As an agent working for the Laslow Corporation it’s Orion’s job to connect with his informants and find out exactly what is going on. The story picks up from here as the readers are left trying to unravel all the mysteries with Orion. When it comes down to it, however, will Orion be able to make one of the most agonizing choices humanity faces? Will he be able to partake of the plot to sacrifice the many to save the few? If that wasn’t bad enough, the plot twist that comes screaming through after Orion makes his choice is bound to leave some bitterness in the reader’s mouths.
As a first installment in a trilogy The Second Sphere is quite able to stand on it’s own. While the ending does leave readers asking questions, it would still be able to function alone with a retrospective demand on readers at the end. Peter S. Banks definitely delivers on exciting action and an uncannily accurate description of what life would be like if we were able to live forever. There must be an end for there to be a new beginning. If the human race never ends, how can anything new begin?
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B01DM9VH5W
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