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Friday, October 9, 2020

 A Review Of. . .




Waveoff

The ghosts of nightmares past are a theme that flow in spectral currents through our latest offering from the Caine Riordan universe. In particular, we’re introduced to Lieutenant Kevin Bowden, a fast jet pilot haunted by the last combat mission he ever flew.

And with good reason.

Bad intel led to him raining down death and destruction on innocent civilians, and the sight of a little girl tumbling through the air to meet a grizzly and gruesome end is something he’ll never forget. That image becomes so indelibly burned into his memories and conscience that he vows never to fly in combat again.

All well and good, perhaps, if he’d stayed on Earth. But fate dealt him a cruel hand, and he was snatched away through time and space to another world where a desperate struggle for survival draws him ever closer to the possibility that he will have to get involved.

It has become known that J’Sull satraps have gained access to an inter-system transmitter. Though the worse for wear, they’re busily doing all they can to repair that transmitter, so that they can call for backup.

And backup will spell disaster for the Lost Soldiers, for the indigenous communities of R’bak, and everything they’ve tried to achieve, unless. . .

The SpinDogs have access to several decrepit aircraft, and Major R.Y. Murphy turns to Bowden for help, for only Bowden has the tactical aviation skills needed to turn several heaps of junk into serviceable aircraft that might – just might – serve as missile platforms, capable of destroying the transmitter before the enemy calls for reinforcements.

But there’s a problem. That transmitter is protected on three sides by mountains, and the only approach lies just beyond a large town inhabited by innocent folk. And he’s got very little time in which to train the SpinDog pilots on the tactics needed to drop bombs accurately.

A nightmare scenario? Oh yes. War is never fair. Anything that can go wrong probably will. A maxim that rings ever more loudly as the mission progresses, placing Bowden in a position he dreads.

How does he fare?

Ah, you’ll have to find out for yourself. Just let me say, Waveoff, by Chris Kennedy is a fast-paced and engaging tale that deals with the very real issues faced by combat veterans the world over. They don’t have the option of burying their heads in the sand or quitting. It’s very often a case of having to get back on the horse and steeling yourself to face the next round of missions, and doing so in a way that sees the men and women under your command safely through to the other side.

A great story, and one of my personal favorites.


Amazon Review


Saturday, October 3, 2020

 A Gem of a Review Regarding. . .


Pearl

In this latest Lost Soldiers adventure, we’re introduced to a former military officer, Victor Allan Thomas – Vat – to his small circle of friends – a man with an ignominious past. Nobody really knows the events behind his discharge from the army. Whatever the reason, Vat went on to become something of an international arms dealer. A vocation no doubt assisted by his uncanny knack for understanding different cultures, and the languages & the sub-dialects they employ to stay one step ahead of the authorities.

Sadly, Vat himself wasn’t able to stay ahead of the authorities. That’s how he found himself aboard a helicopter that went down over Somalia, only to be snatched away from everything he knew by the mysterious Ktor. Fortunately for him, he wakes some 130 years later, to find his skills are very much in demand.

How so?

Major Murphy knows how vital it is to form a sound relationship with the people of R’Bak if he’s to stand any chance of fighting off enemy satraps before the next Searing arrives. The trouble is, those satraps have weapons and vehicle caches at a number of unknown locations. If they’re left in play, they will destroy any chance he has of showing the local population the Lost Soldiers can be trusted, or have the ability to establish a working base from which they can expand their operation.

As such, Murphy has no choice but to rely on Vat to build a bridge between the Sarmatchani populace and its elders, while at the same time searching for opportunities to get his hands on some of those vehicle caches.

Despite his expertise, however, Vat finds it difficult to form relationships. The ghost from his past that led to his discharge from the army continues to haunt him. He’s suspicious of everyone and their motives. Yet he’s going to have to overcome that tendency if he’s going to make Murphy’s plan work.

I thoroughly enjoyed this outing with the Lost Soldiers. It contained a touch of realism in its style and ‘attitude’ that added a down-to-earth grittiness to the overall flavor of the story arc. A good reminder too, that you can’t always choose your comrades in war. But if you accept them for who they are and build on what they can do well? Ah, then you’ll have an effective, efficient fighting force, capable of getting the job done.

Kudos to Mark Wandrey for handling a sensitive & timely subject with skillful aplomb.

A great story!


Amazon Review




Saturday, September 26, 2020

 A Review of. . .


Promises

Captain Mara – Bruce – Lee is a natural pilot, skilled and experienced enough to teach others how to handle one of the most finickity aircraft there is; the Huey helicopter. The mere fact that she finds herself more than a century into the future and in an entirely different star system hasn’t altered her vocation one bit. Except that now, instead of foreign students, she’s required to teach SpinDogs how to fly, thereby building a bridge between the two communities that will contribute to the success of future Lost Soldier missions on R’Bak.

Something essential to everyone’s continued survival.

However, Mara is riddled with guilt at being wrenched away from her husband and son. And though they are now long dead, she still harbors a deep and aching bitterness toward her circumstances. That bitterness results in her cutting off her feelings, so that she is no longer able to form attachments that others take for granted.

Until her latest student, that is.

For though Ozendi is from an alien community, he reminds her enough of her husband that she’s overwhelmed by long-suppressed emotions, and struggles to know how to respond . . . if at all. With good reason! There’s one hell of a lot at stake. If she breaks the trust of her superiors and puts the finely-balanced relationship with the SpinDogs in jeopardy, it could spell disaster for everyone.

So what to do?

Promises is a superb reminder that, it’s not only men who march off to war. And though they may be feminine in nature, women also struggle with the very real crutch that can bring anyone to their knees. That of fomenting grief and anger. Yes, mental and emotional scars can be just as debilitating as bullet wounds. And this story balances that lesson quite nicely.

See my Amazon Review Here:

Amazon



Saturday, September 19, 2020

This week's review of. . .


Diablo – The Veiled Prophet

The demon-backed Triune has been vanquished. Now, all that stands between Uldyssian, his edyrem, and outright victory over evil is the Cathedral of Light and its charismatic leader – the fallen angel Inarius – who hides in plain sight, using the guise of a youthful Prophet.

However, Uldyssian is unaware of the aid bestowed upon him and his followers by the angel in his quest so far. As such, they have grown overconfident in their invulnerability, and are blind to the fact that they are being manipulated. Something has to give. But what?

The edyrem are oblivious to the consequences of submitting to their unrestrained passions in battle. Inarius is intent on retaining power, and would willingly allow Sanctuary to be destroyed rather than lose face. Ever ready to seize the advantage, the demon lords bide their time, just waiting for the scales to tip in their favor. Worse still, the heavenly host has discovered the location of Sanctuary and one of the Angiris Council is, even now, confirming his worst suspicions before calling in the High Heavens to act.

As I said: Something’s got to give.

What that is, exactly, you can discover for yourself in a helter-skelter ride of an adventure that is as action-packed as it is riddled with subterfuge and subtext. Even better, it’s also a story of personal growth, acceptance, and sacrifice.

No, you can’t always have a happy ending. But then again, don’t the best stories always end with a little dash of poignant self-discovery?

A thoroughly enjoyable conclusion to the Sin War. (Now – play the game!)




Sunday, September 6, 2020

My Review of. . .



Diablo – Scales of the Serpent
In the “Scales of the Serpent”, the second of the Sin War trilogy, we find our protagonist, Uldyssian – reluctant hero of the people – hell-bent on destroying the cult of the Triune, a religious movement that has been skillfully subverted to the demoness, Lilith’s, cause.
And with good reason.
The world in which our story is set, Sanctuary, is the conjugation of rebel demons and angels alike. And Lilith was one of those who championed its creation. She, along with her lover and co-conspirator, the angel Inarius, have fought for millennium to keep the existence of Sanctuary a secret from the Burning Hell and the High Heavens, who would destroy it in an instant if they realized the power some of the mortals like Uldyssian – known as naphalem – possess.
The thing is, Lilith is out to upset the balance, and not only seeks to preserve Sanctuary’s integrity, but is determined to establish herself as the Supreme Being of a new order.
But at what cost?
Hundreds of the naphalem have fallen. Mendeln, Uldyssian’s brother, becomes ever more entwined by the necromantic powers that have been offered him by the first of the naphalem, Rathma. And Achilos is dead, though bound to act as champion and defender to Serenthia and Uldyssian against his wishes. How will anything ever be the same again?
Here’s a clue . . . it won’t!
As before, Uldyssian’s habit of self-doubt – despite the miracles he’s responsible for – and disbelieving the obvious become rather irksome as the story progresses. However, that doesn’t detract from the action – and there’s plenty of it – when the Triune, and Lilith, realize what he’s up to.
Overall, “Scales of the Serpent” is a pleasing journey through the world of Sanctuary, and has me hooked enough to want to know how the story ends.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

A Review of. . .



Diablo – Birthright
I’ve never played the games on which the Sin War trilogy is based, but I do enjoy a good story. And where Richard A. Knaak is concerned, THAT’s what you know you’re gonna get.
Uldyssian Ul-Diomed is just a normal guy. A farmer, living with his brother in the village of Seram. Life is hard, but he’s quite content with his lot and is good at what he does. Those who know Uldyssian view him as a no-nonsense individual who can be trusted to deal fairly with those he encounters. Because of this, he’s well respected by his peers . . . until the fateful day religious zealots come to town.
Uldyssian can’t stand the hypocrisy that seems to surround anyone who pushes their beliefs in his face. So, when members of the two main faiths wind up dead, suspicion turns his way. He flees his homeland, determined to prove his innocence, one way or the other. The only problem with that is he seems to be developing strange new powers. Powers that no normal man should possess.
These events combine, slowly peeling away the fa├žade that has been put in place to keep the populace fooled. Yes, there’s much more to the land in which they live than people realize. And finding out about it can prove deadly . . . as Uldyssian finds out to his cost.
This was my introduction to the world of Sanctuary, and I have to say, I was thoroughly absorbed from the outset. Diablo – Birthright, is an engaging, fast-paced tale that will appeal to a wide audience, and draw you in to Uldyssian’s plight as if he was your best friend gone awry. (Despite his penchant for procrastinating). Nonetheless, it’s a great start. I look forward to more.

Review also at:
Amazon

Friday, August 7, 2020

My latest Review Of. . .

 

The Star Seeds of Earth

Alibi Jones is something of a maverick.

Son of the infamous Vatican Assassin, Bernard Campion, and a mother from whom he is estranged, Alibi likes to keep to himself, running an isolated outpost in a remote part of space away from the regimented regulations imposed by the Solar Alliance, and the draconian orderliness of the Greater Tah.

Unfortunately, Alibi gets restless. A lot. And that restlessness leads him into all sorts of trouble.

Take this latest escapade, for example. Alibi is tasked to find a Star Seed on behalf of an “interested party.” The trouble is, Star Seeds aren’t just harmless curios that happen to demand a high price. Oh no. They’re primeval artifacts containing the scientific and biological repository of the Ancient Enemy; a civilization that once used their superior technology and mental powers to dominate all other life in the cosmos until one day, millions of years ago, those races rose up to defy their masters and wipe them out.

Foreseeing such an outcome, the Ancient Enemy scattered their potential throughout the universe. And in the countless millennia since then, the most advanced of those liberated alien cultures used their arts and fortitude to hunt down and eradicate every Star Seed they could find; for once opened, they would be capable of altering the biota of an entire planet to resurrect the Ancients once more.

And Alibi’s been asked to use his skills to find one. The thing is, why? Who on Earth would dare such a thing? What would be the implications of such a device being activated, even if it ended up in the hands of scientists with altruistic intent, let alone those with ulterior motives?

Well, we certainly find out in a complex and intricately interwoven tale of high adventure, personal discovery and betrayal, political intrigue, and narcissistic ambition that will keep you engaged and entertained from beginning to end. And what I particularly enjoyed about the Star Seeds of Earth was that fact that, not only was it easy to read, but it was downright fun! What more could you ask for?