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Sunday, January 31, 2016
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Sunday, January 10, 2016
The IX has taken me back to the books I enjoyed in my youth (Jerry Pournelle's King David's Spaceship orGordon Dickson's Hour of the Horde)It flows wonderfully. There's constant motion, & Weston takes the story in unexpected directionsthat are intriguing & fun.
Weston knows how to keep the reader on theedge of the seat without feeling as though the mission will never end. This is a complex combination of history, imagination& science fiction magic as is available today.
When it comes to science fiction, I want a book that captures me from page one and never gives me a reason to want to escape. I want a book that forces me to stay up until 3 a.m., because there is no point at which it is ideal to put it down. I want a book whose characters and plots are complex and intelligent, but elegantly crafted with the minimum of distraction. The IX delivers.
A brilliant & amazing synthesis of military, horror and far-future science fiction.
The author's knowledge of military history & his speculations about what might have happened to the legendary Ninth Roman Legion have led to an amazing trip through time & space to a world where things are not ever as straight-forward as they seem. Blending in believable science & classic elements of old Westerns, Weston has created a truly delightful story.
This Dark Matter
If you come back from watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens and find yourself pining for a galaxy far, far away with similar elements, I highly recommend The IX.
Friday, January 8, 2016
Fight or die.
That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.
But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.
The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.
Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.
Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.
Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.
A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.
It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.
Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…
Death is only the beginning of the adventure.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
The main character in Hell Bound is Daemon Grim, Satan’s bounty hunter, also known as the Reaper. Not only does he hunt down any damned soul in Hell who gets on the wrong side of His Satanic Majesty, he has the power to visit our world and harvest those who belong in Hell, souls Satan wants in Hell now. Grim can travel between Earth and Hell using a special sickle or scythe that can open portals between the two realms. This scythe also possesses a powerful weapon called God Grace’s, which gives Grim the ability to utterly destroy souls. Since there’s no death in Hell as we know it, (the Damned are already dead) there is instead Reassignment, a twisted version of resurrection handled by an unsavory character known only as the Undertaker. However, there is Oblivion — total obliteration into non-existence. Grim’s weapon gives him the power to send souls howling into eternal nothingness.
The plot concerns Grim’s mission to track down Doctor Thomas Neill Cream, the English physician who in real life was the brilliant and infamous Lambeth Poisoner. Cream has been stealing long-hidden relics and angelic weapons from the Time of the Sundering, when Satan and his followers were cast out of Heaven. All history and knowledge of the Sundering is banned in Hell, but Cream may have illegal access to Satan’s bureaucratic network.
Thus he and his crew of cohorts, including Frederick Chopin, have been able to steal these ancient artifacts, one by one. Cream is clever and manages to stay one step ahead of Grim, always avoiding capture and Reassignment. Cream is playing a cat and mouse game with Grim, leaving clues in place of each stolen artifact — clues written in the form of poetic riddles, which Cream must unravel. The first of these clues included a piece of carbonized bone from a Heavenly angel who was destroyed in the original battle of the Sundering. How did Cream get his hands on that? What are his plans? What is his ultimate goal?
This is the mystery Grim must solve in order for him to bring Cream to justice (or “injustice,” as it’s called in Hell), and we aren’t privy to what’s going on until he unravels each clue and each riddle. We know only what Grim knows.
So Grim gathers his Hell Hounds and they set out to nail Cream. Among his Hell Hounds is Nimrod, one-time ancient King of Shinar, who’s almost as deadly in battle as Grim himself. Then there’s Grim’s female assistants, especially his l’amour de sa vie, the Inquisitor Strawberry Fields, a/k/a Red Riding Hood. Grim also encounters Nikola Tesla, from whom who he gets a “multi-phasic portal generator.” Although it’s glitch-free, it was designed to function only twice before self-destructing. Anyone using it is invisible to surveillance, which aids Grim in his search for Doctor Cream. Just envisage where you wish to go and — shazam, you’re there!
There are gizmos and gadgets galore in Hell Bound, all adding to the fun of this novel. One of these is the Scroll of Divergent Union, which is an “acoustic seraphim incantation” that causes the veil drop between all the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth. At one point, Grim visits the Sphincter, a top-secret storage facility where artifacts from the Time of Sundering are housed — and where Cream has somehow managed to get past all the high-tech security. But how did he manage to do that? Using one of Tesla’s many inventions?
Weston has not only expanded the scope of the Heroes in Hell series, he has introduced new themes and concepts, and new characters. He creates a fresh vision of Hell and presents to us a seedy underworld uniquely his own. Grim lives in Olde London Town, a macabre mockery of our earthly London. Rather than make up strange-sounding, nearly unpronounceable names, and because Hell is a twisted echo of Earth, Weston (as do all those who write for Heroes in Hell) comes up with names and titles that bear a warped familiarity to places and things we know. For example: Paris is Perish, Seine River is River Inseine, Drury Lane is Dreary Lane, Piccadilly Circus is Icepiccadilly, Westminster in Westmonster, and so on.
That’s all part of the fun, part of the gallows humor that is inherent in Hell.
Everything on Earth has its infernal counterpart in Hell.
Things in Hell often relate to things on Earth. Hell is Earth’s wicked and perverted mirror’s image. Not only do we go through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole when entering Hell, we also enter another, diabolical dimension where not only pain and torment and suffering rule, there’s also a grand touch of irony to everything that happens in the underworlds. Hell mimics Earth is a fiendish way, and if you think things can get messed up on Earth… just wait. Hell may give you what you want and what you need, but these things are never quite what you asked for. Hell is not what you’d expected, so always expect the unexpected. Hell gives and Hell takes away, and in Hell the Damned get just what they deserve.
Hell Bound is an epic and fast-paced adventure. Part Gothic, 19th century-style mystery, part sword and sorcery, and part horror with elements of science fiction. This is a grand tour of Hell. It’s a manhunt throughout “Infernity,” brought to life by Weston’s literary style and prose that often reach poetic levels of grace. But the heart of the story is Daemon Grim, a character who works for Satan, a character who is supposed to be evil and villainous, but often comes across as heroic and valiant. Walking that fine line is part of Weston’s talent.
Grim has his own code of ethics and morals to which he clings tenaciously.
Grim is an enigma.
Grim is one soul you don’t want to cross swords with. You can’t reason with him or tempt him. He feels no pity, sorrow or remorse. And yet, he has a wicked sense of humor, very good manners, never lies, and he values truth, honesty and loyalty. These make him a paradox, and part of the mystery. We’re never told exactly who or what he is — or was. Fallen angel? Demon? Human? A Heavenly angel, who has been captured, corrupted and enslaved by Satan? Perhaps he is the Grim Reaper — Death himself? But not even Grim knows: he can’t remember anything before his awakening in Hell… and that final revelation will no doubt eventually play out in future novels.
As powerful, ruthless and deadly as he is, Grim is also very much a human character, with flaws and virtues — yes, even in Hell, the Damned can have virtues. This is part of the fun and part of the puzzle of Hell Bound and why I enjoyed it so much. Daemon Grim carried the story on his shoulders and kept me reading to the last page. What’s more, you need not be familiar with any other books in the Heroes in Hell series in order to enjoy Hell Bound… but it will add to enjoyment if you are.
You know exactly what to do:
Friday, January 1, 2016
By: Epicstream (Sci-fi & Fantasy)
Time-traveling, second chances after certain death, distant planets, overcoming a powerful, dangerous enemy – all of these concepts have been major staples of science fiction and fantasy since the genres were first conceived. I have read so many novels that often felt like a retelling of a specific plot structure, so many that featured these aspects in the same ways as fantasy or science-fiction “classics,” so many stories simply updated for a new generation. While there is truly nothing new under the sun, Andrew Weston’s The IX is a refreshing read that incorporates all of these classic aspects in a way that truly feels new.
The blurb for The IX describes the novel thus: “Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy.” I honestly didn’t think all of this would mesh well in the narrative, but Weston’s finesse with character and powerful command of language made even this most audacious idea read smoothly. In fact, The IX has quickly become one of my favorite books, period.
While reading The IX, I summarized its plot as working in the same way that the premise of the Night at the Museum movie series works. Both works feature characters of note and of legend from different points in time and vastly different cultures, taking even sworn enemies and pitting them together in the face of a common enemy. Night at the Museum is a fantasy-comedy movie, but while Weston’s The IX does have comical moments, it ultimately goes to much darker places with much higher stakes.
The characters within The IX are from different times, different cultures, and even different planets, but it’s never confusing as to who is who. Weston’s use of diction makes his characters distinctive. Be they Roman legionnaires, Native American warriors, or twenty-first century high-tech mercenary teams, every nuance of personality comes through. There is no real main character in the novel, but instead a rotating cast of characters. Though this many points of view could have spiraled out of control in a less experienced author’s hands, Weston has a real mastery with balancing so many characters in such a complex narrative.
Speaking of the narrative, other than the basic premise that brings all the characters together, Weston makes calculated leaps of logic: Roman legionnaires training other members in marching movements, twenty-first century diamond miners leading expeditions, ancient folklore of Native Americans and highlanders leading the fight back against a persistent enemy. The cultures from various eras interact and mesh in extraordinary ways, and yet The IX always preserves those cultures distinctly. They cooperate but always retain the characteristics that make them unique, and the conflicts that develop are understandable. Weston works suspense and danger into the novel in digestible doses: enough to keep it interesting, but never overwhelming.
If you come back from watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens and find yourself pining for a galaxy far, far away with a few familiar elements, I highly recommend The IX by Andrew P. Weston.
You know what to do: