Moraturi Lost

Moraturi Lost ISBN: 9781679850080 published, copyright SupRes, Inc. South Australia, written by Marti Ward.

This is the 2nd book in this author’s Lost Mission Series based upon a relatively large series of sci-fi stories about the Paradisi Project whose basics she describes again in detail so it is possible for this volume to ‘standalone’ without having read Casindra Lost, its predecessor. After Solar Horizons, the public face of the ten Founders has decided to ignore further messages from Casindra, they decide to send a second ship to establish the first colony on New Eden. The autocratic leader Henry Thorndike and his specialties ‘authorities’, Dr. Abramov, an AI specialist in charge of Solar System Security (CIA type), Dr. Aditya Ganesh, Intelligence systems, and Medical Authority Dr. Sabina Gunther call in Captain Michael Evans and give him command of the Spaceship Moraturi. They explain that the Casindra is being abandoned because, although Commander Sideris journey through the newly technologically developed wormhole had been successful, he had sustained severe injuries in subsequent encounters with severe storms in the new galaxy leaving a top level 3 AI in command. Messages sent by this AI made them believe that he had turned rogue because at this time the Founders group back home are facing unexpected difficulties with a strike by different levels of AI’s to which legally they must respond because of a legal snag. Thus, their action is to disregard further messages and dispatch another ship on the same journey.

This ship, the Moraturi and its journey, follows as the second book in this series. Captain Michael Evans as the commander of this new trip which advances to attempt actual colonization with 500 passengers, largely in various cryogenic states and, assumedly because of the problems in dealing with the disgruntled AIs, they provide him with a human crew, backed by mostly low level AIs. This journey also suffers severe consequences with damage to the ship besides injury and deaths to the entire crew, including Captain Evans. AND, these events occur before even reaching the galaxy. They are thrown out of the wormhole at a time now placing them more than thirty years from New Eden. There is no alternative other than for the passengers to step up, crew the ship, and attempt to figure out how they will run the ship and be able to extend the food, power and other supplies of necessities to allow them and their 500 passengers who must be brought out of their ‘sleep’ status in the very near future, to survive and safely arrive at their destination when the ship’s supplies had been arranged for less than a three year trip.

Discussion: This second volume perhaps is even more interesting than the first because of the interplay among the larger number of characters provided. It is aided also by the young ages of the principles and their abilities to grow rapidly with the situation. With inclusion of the quite lengthy description of the entire preceding events, this book, as stated earlier, can stand alone for new readers. However, actual reading of the first in the series before this one is enjoyable in itself and recommended,

5* Enjoyable new series for sci-fi devotees.

The Timekeepers War

The Timekeepers War ISBN: 9781939065643 Bedlam Press, copyright and written by S. C. Jensen.

This is an unusual fanciful thriller with the protagonist known as the ‘Ghost’ in that she, in some unimagined manner can find anybody, or any type of individual requested, for a price. This is a most important function in the world in which she lives. Civil wars of long ago have left a stratified population spread through three levels, a city of rubble peopled by hungry, desperate and dangerous individuals, a relatively well-constructed underground development inhabited largely by fishing villages along the underground river, and an upper city inhabited by the wealthy, living in another ‘city’ constructed by inter-connecting bridges providing all of the upper floors of the high rise buildings to function as one. Their servants are members of the lower city sold by clandestine traders as slaves to be used as desired by this upper city’s population. The Ghost’s younger sister, she believes, may be one of these slaves captured when very young, but she can find no trace until she is approached by Lynch, the legendary terrorist who says he can lead her to her sister if she, with her unusual ability of knowing the citizens of the city and underground villages, will help him put together a group of individuals that he intends to use to overthrow the ruler of the upper ‘high-rise’ city. The tale is about their attempts to accomplish this feat and of the part played by the ‘Timekeepers’.

Discussion: The impression one gains in the tale’s opening is one of wonder at where it was heading. However, it soon settles into an unusual and rather intriguing post-apocalyptic psi-fi story with interesting characters and abundant action. It leaves the reader with no closure per se, but rather a lot of thoughts and questions as to where the author intends to go with the next volume which one is given to understand will follow.

5* Rapidly moving, interesting fanciful psi-fi post-apocalyptic tale.

The Guardians of Erum

The Guardians of Erum publishing permitted by UAE’s National Media Council. Permit # MC-01-01-9623856. Book age group: +17 copyright ISBN: 97899483445, and written by “Self-Publisher” A. Ali Hasan, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Sub-titled, ‘and The Calamitous Child of Socotra’, the story’s setting is one of “Arabia’s pre-Islamic history, traditions, religious beliefs, and local culture and folklore” with abundant activity by jinn. Most locations exist in modern-day Oman or Yemen, but Wadi Erum, in which Part One is centered, is a magnificent city which now is believed to be buried under the sand dunes of Rub’ Al Khali Desert. The story line follows a young farmer and his wife who have a male child born under a particular star which indicated he would ruin Wadi Erum and bring other disastrous results to the world. This all set forth by “Behas the saher, deceiver of all weak minds, master of all sorcery. Necromancer and conjurer, alchemist, and lord of the jinnic realm, and widely known as the worst of mankind.” This jinn Master, or master sorcerer, was at one time acclaimed as a hero by saving Wadi Erum, but has fallen into a less credible position with the gigantic rulers of the city and country itself. Thus, his word still is believed by many and he entreats one of his jinn to kill the baby. The jinn is interrupted and killed by a member of another of an opposing group but cannot stop the baby from being kidnapped. The story continues as a desperate concerted effort is initiated by the baby’s father aided by the rulers and guardians of Erum plus others supporting the powerful Gray Mountain Queen who also wants to find the child for her own reasons. Fundamentally, the story becomes a chase provided in three parts. The first covers the area of Wadi Erum and its surroundings. The second moves the action to the coastal area of Salalah. The third continues onto the island of Socotura where a huge battle takes place, and gradually returns to the Wadi Erum area with a finalization of this section of the tale.

Discussion: This is an interesting historical fantasy involving a chase by the father to regain his son kidnapped by a jinn Master who is fundamentally wicked, but controversially considered good by many for an earlier deed that saved the city. There are numerous characters important to the story and they diligently maintain their parts. All maters considered, a book of fantasy, full of the occult that should greatly appeal to the younger members of the YA group. The author’s fascination with the historic folklore of pre-Islamic Arabia is evident and a thread to which he strongly adheres. From this reader’s perspective a cautionary note must be entered, however. With the level of sophistication existent in today’s youth, at least within the United States, it would seem that the level of 17 + or – suggested as the best reading level may be lowered a little for greatest reader enjoyment.

5* For lower level YA readers with suggested caveat reason set forth.

Grand Masquerade

Grand Masquerade Born Publishing copyright and written by Stephen C. Perkins.

Setting: The setting for the story is the small town of Rupert, Vermont with its surrounding farmland and dense forests. The town is small but seemingly prosperous with well-run stores and farms with a particularly large dairy that also provides a far better than to be expected Bed & Breakfast that also includes a series of well positioned hunting blinds for those who like especially to hunt deer.

Characters: Outsiders that include a man running for President of the United States; the owner of a technological company that is ‘taking over’ the technology sector of the world by his company’s cutting edge advances; his spoiled well-educated but play-boy son; his long-standing and trusted CFO; his Chinese chief designer; a few lesser characters. Insiders are composed of a sizeable number of residents of Rupert that include the owners of the Dairy/B&B/hunting complex; several of their children; city residents and prominently one daughter of one of the wealthiest; the Sheriff and his Daughter who is somewhat of a ‘bulldog’ investigator; a doctor who is gaining an increasing position of renown as a healer who uses non-invasive techniques. A third set of characters, ‘the Others’, seemingly existing as those of legend and not really existing except as the after results of some form of horrendous activity. Legend has it that they exist because of an unholy alliance they had reached with certain residents of Rupert many years ago.

Plot: The book opens with a gruesome attack on a young boy riding his motorcycle in the dense woods followed by his disappearance. The local Sheriff provides a seemingly plausible reason but the State Police Officers decide to investigate further. They reportedly are attacked of several bears with disastrous results. From this point the reader is taken into a world of political machinations interwoven with the equally corrupt life of business with off shore hidden accounts, deceased individuals who are not dead but living and getting paid as another, and dishonesty, distrust, betrayal, deceit, and treachery rampant. All of these activities gradually interweaving with features concerning the legendary “Others”.

Discussion: The author has set forth a quite intriguing mixture of politics, unprincipled business tactics, personal greed, lack of morality, seeming lack of ability to have any semblance of deep affection all overshadowed by a mystically malignant power in which it is enveloped. A quite intriguing horror (?) story highly recommended.

5* Highly recommended multi-genre/suspense tale.

The Time Before the Moon

The TIME before the MOON ISBN: 9781718974470 published, copyright and written by Kameron Williams.

In a time of the early beginning of man, the reader is introduced to Omi, a young man living in a small group of hunter/gatherers. The enclave is ruled by an elderly Seer who has contact with the gods and dictates all activities purportedly as they direct. He lives in a somewhat elevated area of the gathered dwellings in a sacred temple. The building, seemingly from an even more ancient period is supported by large stone columns decorated with ancient hieroglyphics. The building also serves as the home of the most beautiful young women of the village, selected by the Seer as the vestal virgins. The rules of living within the group are numerous and strict. Among them are a dictate where each resident must report periodically to the Seer at a set time; marriages are arranged by the Seer and announced only after he has made the partner selection but they are not notified of being selected until the day before, nor do they know who their partner will be until they are revealed to the couple themselves as well as their families and the community at a nighttime firelight ceremony. Even flint for the weapons they needed to survive were obtained from flint forays where the contestants needed to wait to be called to participate in attempting to find the better pieces that could be properly knapped into suitable weapons. The forays including not only finding the flint but then successfully retaining it against the onslaught of other foragers. Then they were expected to give their first real find as a gift to the Seer. The story develops as Omi finds a particularly valuable piece of Flint while unexpectedly discovering a number of unusual aspects of the Seer’s rules and their interpretation that lead him into striking out by himself in an attempt to establish an entirely new way of life. The story of his trip, its trials, effects on family, friends and enemies is the substance of the book and further description would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has provided characters with whom the reader can equate in a nicely paced tale that follows the often provided good versus evil plot, this time placed in a simple fantasy situation. It is an unsophisticated tale that offers a pleasurable ‘feel good’ sensation seemingly seldom encountered in these days of constant stress and activity. A time of almost chaotic political- health-social-financial crises that appear to be dictating every aspect of today’s individual thought patterns and parenthetically even seem contributory to the large number of books being published that dwell on depressing thoughts and matters.

5* Unsophisticated tale, seemingly pleasurable beyond modern thought patterns.

Weight of Shadows

 

Weight of Shadows ISBN: 9781733563123 Mystful Press copyright and written by Ana Domini.

This Dark fantasy is set in a post-Apocalyptic era following a world encompassing pandemic that wiped out an entire generation. Those who survived are immune, sterile and immortal to a degree. A particular group of survivors have been segregated in a large pharmaceutical compound, Wyrmwood Place, some distance outside Washington, D.C. It is the headquarters of the company that was able to manufacture the required vaccine. The compound contains all of the necessary laboratories, professional and support personnel and additional guards, fencing and other necessary features for security. Numbered among the inhabitants are 13 surviving children and 2 women who were discovered to be fertile. This is the story of the children, of Mantis, so named by his ‘friend’ Atticus, and other inhabitants and/or otherwise encountered persons discovered with the help of a fantasy figure as the story unfolds. The plot basically is a fantasy/mystery with psychological undertones that takes many twists and turns.

Discussion: The tale appears to be the product of a somewhat reclusive mystery (?), fantasy (?) author who has presented a rather complicated well-written story that moves at a good pace. The characters are well developed within the context and scenes often sufficiently detailed and well described to offer empathetic credibility. Interesting thoughts, even somewhat emphasized by the characters as set forth by the author, include the fact that death sometimes is a good thing in that it eliminates sadness, fear and pain for those who have lost everything, but that on the other side of grief there are strength and forgiveness, A tangential point offered  is the constant presence of greed and the potential harm it can cause.

Summary: From this reader’s perspective, an interesting, well- written/paced tale regrettably offered at this exact time of today’s unemployment, shortages and controlled social environment resulting from a still uncontrolled world viral situation. Thus, if you are a reader looking for enjoyment or relaxation, this book is NOT for you.

3* 5* well written/paced story; -2* at least for enjoyment/relaxation.