Adam’s Stepsons by M. Thomas Apple is an interesting science fiction piece. We follow Dr. Heimann who designs the perfect super soldiers for the United America’s in their war against the Martian colonies. Heimann quickly discovers that he did not anticipate the brutal efficiency of the military, nor the attachment that arises from his creations. These clones are not only the peak of what the human form can do, they actually transcend humanity through intelligence and strength. They are the weapon that the United Americas will use to crush the rebellion on Mars. Dr. Heimann is shocked when one clone, Six, begins to call him “Father” and then the can of worms truly opens.
Apple’s novel is almost painfully short, only because I wanted to have more to read and dive into. He anticipates the future of inter-solar system colonization and the struggles that can arise, such as this between the United Americas and the Martian colonies. He does not neglect the complicated matter here or the scope considering the Terran governing force is losing the war and needs these clones to pan out.
The struggle between scientist and soldier is an old one, but one that takes on a new twist with the rise of cloned super soldiers. Apple goes along the lines of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but does not seek to critique war itself. Instead, the author goes further and asks whether these soldiers are “truly” human or are they just “equipment” as the military officer Marquez calls them.
The conflict deepens even further when “Seth”, clone number six, as Dr. Heimann calls him when no one else is around, begins to call him “father”. The book bounces between the POV’s of the scientist and Six, which is interesting because as the book goes on Heimann becomes more and more unstable and uncertain of his mission of designing soldiers, who resemble the people that their genetic material comes from. Six, or rather, “Seth” becomes increasingly more confident in his abilities and his intelligence. All of this leads to a climax that may polarize readers, but one that will still make the reader ponder on far after they have finished the novel.
Overall, I enjoyed Apple’s prose. It reads crisp like that of Asimov or Heinlein, but I am still unsure if the short length of the work was appropriate. There is a lot of dialogue and not enough actual “action” going on throughout, so I was expecting more digging into the rich themes of personhood and philosophy of the soul. I realize that may be asking too much.
Adam’s Stepsons is a fun addition to the long canon of science fiction that dares to ask the “what if” of the future. It also seeks to ask the “should we, if we can” question that not enough science fiction is retrospective enough to ask. A good read for any science fiction lover, especially of the Heinlein or Asimov variety.
Pages: 92 | ASIN: B06XJRT8CS
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The Tenth Nail revolves around a homicide detective Nate and his new partner Manuel as they work together to solve the murder of a beautiful young woman. Where did the idea for this novel come from?
I spent several years in law enforcement both as a civilian and military. I carry a deep pride and love for the officers of today and respect what they have to survive. Much of that challenge is to survive the emotional impact of witnessing just how ugly and cruel people can be to each other, day after day. I don’t think the story of the true impact this has on officers has ever been told. Over my years in law enforcement I witnessed too many officers die emotionally. This death could be seen through sexual affairs, abusive drinking, physical violence, reckless behaviors, and even stealing. A quick tally to illustrate this is I knew five officers who died while “on the job.” Two of them died in the line of duty, and three of them died by their own hand. The Tenth Nail is an attempt to introduce the stress of being a cop to those who don’t know.
One of my primary goals when I write a story is to get the reader emotionally involved. Via, the victim of this book is introduced as a common street walking prostitute. A kind of victim that is easily forgotten relatively quickly in our society. In these days of limited budgets and overstretched manpower, she represents the kind of crime that is soon to be a cold crime if not solved in the first few days. Nate, the lead detective assigned to the case, shares a private moment with the dead girl and due to a shared injury promises her he will bring her killer to account for her death. This sets up conflict from many directions. The fact is, if it’s not another girl, who killed her, or her pimp, the odds of finding and convicting the killer of a prostitute is difficult, at best. The department wants Nate to shelve the case to free him to handle cases with a higher possibility of solvability. Manny, Nate’s new partner, and new to homicide, wonders if he should request another training officer. The more he is pushed to release the case, the more resistant Nate becomes. He refuses to break the promise he made to the dead girl.
The Tenth Nail is a edgy crime novel that throws readers right into the action with a murder in the first pages. How did you balance mystery with answers with crazy twists?
I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels and I was determined to solve the case before the “great detective.” My mother and I watched hours of Raymond Burr as Perry Mason and we discussed the cases as the show progressed. To balance the mystery without giving the story away to soon requires work. Truthfully, I hope I got the job done.
Detectives Nate and Manny are entertaining and intriguing characters that I felt were well developed. What was your inspiration for their characters and their relationship?
Nate and Manny are combinations of several police officers I have known over the years. I admit that both carry a little bit of me in them, as I have been in both positions as senior and junior partner. I wanted officers (in all cases) who represented more than just the stereotype of cops. I also expected the same from the other characters. One of my favorite scenes is when Manny arrives home after a day much too long and he is still adjusting to his first murder, his first victim, his first expose to Nate and all the rest. Selma, his heavily pregnant wife allows him to lay his head on her lap and stretch out on the sofa. When he kicks off his shoes, she scolds him for wearing socks with a hole in the toe. To me, that is the center of the Tenth Nail, trying to balance extreme violence with complete love.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next book is called Dead Men Walking and it is a continuation of the story of Nate and Clare. Several of the characters from The Tenth Nail will return though the are many new ones as well. The plan is to release the book by early summer.
“Nate knelt beside the dead girl. This wasn’t his first homicide, it wasn’t even the first dead prostitute he’d investigated. It wasn’t the first strangling death he’d been assigned to. But, this one bothered him.
Maybe it was her youth, she appeared to be in her early twenties. Maybe it was her looks, as death had yet to rob her of her beauty. Maybe she reminded him of his own daughter, Lizzie, who was only a few years younger. Maybe it was something else entirely.
The big detective looked over the body, careful not to touch or disturb her. He had one of the best crime scene technicians, Winston Rawls, and he did not want to make his job harder.”
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Reverence follows the stories of humanoid super soldiers Will and Luis as they work under their fearless leader and follow his orders to demolish a budding resistance that threatens their utopian world. What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?
The inspiration came mainly from some of my favorite science fiction films, namely Children of Men, V for Vendetta, Dark City, and Blade Runner. What I wanted to instill most was that Reverence wasn’t purely a dystopian world because some of the people are indeed very happy with what their country had become. The setup of the story for me was establishing the fact that the plot would be driven by conflicting viewpoints, not by purely good vs. evil. The most vital point of the novel was the need for people to question their surroundings, which is a double-edged sword for the main character, Will Marconi. The ending chapters were some of the hardest to write because I wanted to really sell the tragedy of what these people had been reduced to: both sides resorting to violence and lies to accomplish their goals. There is also a tragedy to Will finally removing his blinders about the reality of his environment, but there is a bit of hope, too. That final chapter represents the need to look forward, but not without forgetting the past.
There is a lot of great twists and mystery in the novel. When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?
Oh boy, well I should start by saying that Reverence has a convoluted history. Strangely enough, I had the twists in mind as far back as the outline phase. I initially published it back in March of 2016. I noticed something felt off, but I couldn’t figure it out for a bit. Then one day it hit me after watching Anthropoid, a fairly unknown film from 2016 that I hope achieves cult status. The twists and overall story needed more emotion, not to mention it needed more editing overall. So I went back with a professional editor and added more detail at certain points in the story and refined it to a level I was quite happy with. It was re-released in December and I’m glad readers have enjoyed it.
Joseph Halsey is my favorite character because of his moral transformation and strong beliefs. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
The characters all represent different morals, good and bad. With Halsey I wanted to explore a man who, unlike almost every other character in the story, does not take the lives of others for granted. His beliefs stem from that and while the other rebels try to live up to that, they’ve lost their way. The antithesis of that ideal is incarnate in characters like Chancellor Venloran, Luis, and even Robert Neeson. These characters believe progress is worth any cost, even if it means sacrificing lives and sometimes the truth. With Will I wanted one thing to be certain: devotion to ideals is dangerous.
What is the next story that you’re writing and when will it be published?
My God, a whole lot! I’ve already written a sequel to Reverence which I am very proud of. A preview of it was provided in both print and Kindle editions of my first book and it greatly expands on the world. Readers can expect it to be released April of this year. I’m also in the works of writing a prequel to the Reverence saga. I can’t say much, but what I can say is that you can expect it to be released this year as well. The prequel will focus on familiar characters like Robert Neeson, Captain Halsey, and Chancellor Venloran, but the main focus is on Will’s wife and daughter, Julissa and Zaneta. The story will explore the early stages of the UNR-rebel conflict. It’s going to be a great read and aiming for its release to be this summer, maybe around July.
“William Marconi is the face of anguish and righteousness. By his blood stained hands, he inspires the people with both fear and awe. But he is not alone. He is one of the 144, 000 and together they are the guardians of a new order. By their gun and their sword, they have upheld justice. When the peace they have maintained comes under fire from a new threat, William quickly realizes this war could possibly cause the collapse of all he holds dear. As the world is dragged down to hell, this knight must ask himself just how much it will take to accomplish the mission, which could be his last.”
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Witch Heart follows Jan as she returns to West Point under a cloud of suspicion when several people are killed in unlucky accidents. What was the inspiration for this 3rd book in the Gray Girl Series?
The Gray Girl series (Gray Girl, Area Bird and Witch Heart) is mostly inspired by my experiences as a cadet at West Point from 1981-1985. Jan Wishart’s adventures are embellished, of course, but many of the events are authentic or realistic to what we experienced at that time. Being labeled a “witch,” for instance, certainly happened to some women then. Recently, we have seen examples of derogatory “labeling” used on outspoken and/or ambitious women.
The novel starts out at Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA. What experience do you have with the military. Anyone in your family serve?
Well, as stated above, I attended West Point in the early 1980’s. After that, I served five years as a missile maintenance officer in the Army. As part of our training, I attended Airborne School during the summer before cow (junior) year, which follows the storyline in Witch Heart. I wrote most of the Airborne School chapters based on memory. However, I cheated a little and looked at Youtube videos. I also consulted a few friends who went through Airborne training. One of my beta readers was stationed with the 82nd Airborne for a few years.
The book tackles the social issue of women serving in the military. How do you see women in the military and what is a common misconception you’ve come across?
Women have only added value to the military, as they have in all areas where they have been allowed to compete. One common misconception that seems prevalent is that standards had to be lowered for women to enter the military academies. What is surprising, however, is that ALL standards have gone up since women have been admitted. There’s probably a social-gender dynamic that might explain this reality, but physical and academic standards began to rise considerably with the admission of women cadets.
Jan is a well developed character. What were some obstacles that you felt were important for the characters development?
I wanted Jan to be a good person, but flawed. In other words, I wanted her to be authentic. I think hearing her internal dialogue (which is more prevalent in the first two books) is both an obstacle and an opportunity to bring a character to life. The reader sees her inner self, knowing her mixed emotions and the biases that she carries with her. You don’t really hear the inner voices of the other characters, but hopefully, using dialogue and actions, you get a feeling of the well-developed relationships and personalities.
Where does the story go in the next book and where do you see it going in the future?
Jan has to finish West Point. So, the final book in the Gray Girl series will be about her firstie (senior) year. She will encounter another major problem at West Point which can only be solved with the help of her friends and collaborators. This one, if I can pull it off, will involve international espionage—or something like that. I hate to say too much until it’s written because often times the book takes on a life of its own—and I never really know what’s going to happen until it does. It’s called writing.
“Jan Wishart starts cow (junior) year at West Point in Airborne School. Terrified of heights, she narrowly escapes an accident that later turns deadly for another jumper. With a third death in as many years associated with her, Jan returns to West Point under a cloud of suspicion. Ominous signs left for her to find cause Jan to lose a precious and necessary requirement for survival at West Point: sleep. With her mental state in question, a masked intruder makes nocturnal visits to her room. Or is she imagining that? Events escalate to the point of no return for Jan and her two best friends. When they swear an oath of loyalty to each other, they have no idea how much it will cost to fulfill that vow. Leadership always requires sacrifice. So does loyalty. And sometimes, one virtue must yield to the other.”
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Reverence by Joshua Landeros is a futuristic military story based around the United Nation Republic, a group created in 2046 as a new reigning form of government. The majority of Reverence takes place in the year 2065, with flashbacks to what ensued during the great war that began in 2044 and how the UNR came to be in power. Reverence follows the stories of humanoid super soldiers Will and Luis as they work under their fearless leader, Chancellor Venloran, and follow his orders to demolish a budding resistance that threatens the utopian world.
From the opening pages of the book, you are thrown into a world unlike ours, from the introduction of the cyborg super soldiers and the descriptions of futuristic technology. Witty banter between the characters pulls you in immediately, and the reoccurring flashback chapters offer a bit of mystery that will leave you eager to turn each page. The story takes place mainly in Washington, D.C. at the UNR headquarters, with a few exhibitions to places such as Iran, Virginia, and other locations with strong political influence. Despite the many flashbacks and location changes, Landeros makes the journey effortless as you read, and his colorful writing style brings the images to life as if you were seeing them on a screen.
Strong elements of action, politics, and even romance bud in the corners of this revolution driven story. As rebels rise up against the UNR in attempts to bring them down by assassinating the Chancellor, life goes on amidst the characters. Themes of forbidden romance are touched on as android super soldiers face their own mortality and the lingering human emotions of their previous lives before their existence was rewired. The satisfaction of mystery solving is included through thematic flashbacks to the beginning of the war that began the UNR in the point of view of a young Joseph Halsey, a prisoner when the story begins. He is a personal favorite of mine, as I love a story of moral transformation and strong beliefs.
Landeros brings together the appeal of a utopian future and corrupt government together in a beautiful way. The story highlights human nature and what is behind a person that drives them to fight against what their heart tells them.
At times, the story was slow, but was always urged along with clever dialogue between characters. It was the super soldier units that made this story a blast to read. The flashbacks that Will suffers in secret and the mysterious connection between him and the lovely Val sucked me in and made me want more. I loved seeing Landeros showcase the difference in maturity with the varying ages of the characters, especially with Cisco. A little more information closer to the beginning of the story about what the UNR was would have helped with early understanding and interest, as well as more time spent on flashbacks for a more clear picture.
Landeros is able to successfully create a realistic and intriguing world in this dystopian novel.
Pages: 334 | ASIN: B01D2A51YY
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In the beginning, everything seems normal. A normal young man, leading a normal life in a normal village. But Christopher Clark has plans for destroying the image of ‘normal’ in his tale The Humming Blade. We meet our protagonist, Wyatt Arden, as he wakes from a dream that seems more like a premonition than anything else. He stumbles out of bed to go about his normal day only to have his entire life turn upside down before the night is even over. He’ll soon learn he’s not so normal and that his entire life and history is more fantastical than any tale he has ever read before. Our young farm boy who has grown up with a single mother learns that you can never assume that life is what you already know; there is so much more to learn.
Clark writes in a fashion that is very easy to read and understand while being engaging and almost poetic. The words flow on the screen in such a way that not even the dialogue seems choppy. His descriptions are fantastic and truly draw the reader in the world he has created. Clark slowly builds his world without drawing anything out longer than it needs to be. Explanations are placed accordingly and nothing seems forced or useless. The introduction of Wyatt and his life on the farm is simple and careful. He doesn’t over embellish anything and doesn’t confuse readers by giving them too much information at once. The narrative is broken up nicely between what is occurring the in the present of the story and the past of the world as well.
Without drawing anything out, Wyatt learns quite quickly that the simple life he thought he has is anything but. After his best friend leaves for military duty and Wyatt is feeling a bit bogged down by responsibility to the farm and his mother, he is thrust into the center of a typical fantasy-adventure plot. He finds a magic sword, a talking, slightly invisible cat, discovers that his lineage is not what he thought it was and that he possesses incredible power that has been hidden from him. These are necessary in Clark’s fantasy story and while they are stereotypical, nothing feels forced or overdone. After Wyatt learns that the friendly village blacksmith has a more intimate connection to him than he initially thought his entire world literally goes up in smoke and Wyatt is faced with a journey of self-discovery. This journey holds not only his future, but the future of his world in the balance as Wyatt uncovers more truths than he cares to.
The ending is slightly abrupt with a big reveal and no indication whether the story is going to continue. That aside, the book is a well done stand-alone as other questions are neatly wrapped up and answered. Clark knows his craft and has delivered a satisfying ending. Hopefully he decides to delve once more into the world of The Humming Blade and give us a final answer on the surprising plot twist he left us with. Readers who are looking for a fun adventure filled with interesting world development and exploration of the foundations of the world itself will not be disappointed with this tale.
Pages: 426 | ISBN: 1483447154
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In Beyond Cloud Nine Ace fighter pilot Brooke Davis stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The plot of BC9 was born of two initial premises.
First, as a kid, I loved anything with fighter planes, especially fighter planes in space. Many shows and movies featured the brash young male fighter pilot of which we’re all familiar, but few works of fiction starred a female lead pilot. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced a female lead would give a story a different feel, and it hadn’t been done nearly as often, so I rolled with it.
Second, we’re all familiar with the standard alien invasion story. Powerful aliens hover their gigantic motherships over our big cities. The human military is powerless against them, can’t punch through their shields, etc. Just when all hope seems lost, we humans find the one glaring weakness that will defeat these intelligent yet negligent invaders and hallelujah! The world is saved and everyone bands together in harmony. Can I get an eye-roll, please? With that in mind, I thought to myself, “How can I turn that premise upside down and leverage it to my advantage?” I thus had the antagonists in BC9 use a seemingly cliché alien invasion in a very non-cliché way to push their agenda.
I felt that the technology and science in Beyond Cloud Nine were delivered in such a way that anyone could understand it. Was this by design?
Absolutely. I seek to make my writing accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. I try to take after Arthur C. Clarke, who was a master of taking complex scientific concepts and simplifying them into an easy, breezy read.
The editor of BC9 deserves a lot of credit for teaching me the difference between telling, showing, and experiencing. We’ve all heard that an author should show rather than tell–most of the time; there are instances where telling makes sense. Don’t just write that something happened (telling). Write descriptive language that demonstrates it happening (showing). However, there’s another level beyond showing that better speaks to readers. Don’t just show something happening. Show how it affects the character, physically, mentally, and emotionally (experiencing). Rather than bogging readers down with the technical details of how something works (a pitfall some hard science fiction authors fall into), I try to place my focus on how technology and events affect people.
Brooke Davis is an interesting and well developed female character. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?
With Brooke, I definitely indulged my inner pessimist. I took everything that annoys me and magnified it tenfold. Also, as discussed earlier, I tried to create a lead that contrasted with the typical suave fighter jock. Brooke is anti-social. You won’t find her in bars tossing back shots.
The guilt of believing she killed her father taints her perception of everything.
A main story arc that’s every bit as important as whether the antagonists are defeated is her journey to work through that guilt and grow.
I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Where does Brooke Davis’s character go in the second novel?
The sequel, Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2), was published in May 2016. It stars Brooke’s niece, Maya, as the girl embarks upon humankind’s first interstellar mission. Brooke plays a critical supporting role even though she remains in the Sol system. “Demoted” to a civilian flight instructor because of her actions at the end of BC9, Brooke seeks to earn her way back into a cockpit. When she learns of the tragedy awaiting the interstellar mission, she takes a series of bold actions to try to get out to Gliese 581 to save her niece and the mission.
While we’re on the subject of sequels, I just sent Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga Book 3) off to the editor. The third installment in the tetralogy should be available in the summer of 2017.
Ace star fighter pilot Brooke Davis lives for pushing hundreds of gees in orbital combat, but she’d give it all up in a moment to become the first human to fly faster than light. When Brooke stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government, she finds their goals seductive but their methods abhorrent. With the moral core of human civilization hanging in the balance, she must risk her shot at history, her family, and her life to prevent the schemers from forcing their nefarious brand of salvation upon the solar system.
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Taurus, Taurus, Taurus, is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a action, thriller, and suspense as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
When I started to write this novel, I knew how it was going to start and I had a vague idea of the end, but the body of the novel just flowed from my finger tips.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I must say the character of Joe Garner, who is my alter ego. It is also the undercover name I used on the street as a Drug Enforcement Special Agent.
There is a lot of military references in this book along with some science to get the genetics down. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?
I spent several hours doing research on not only the correctness of the military side, but also much reading on Genetic Modification and making sure my facts were correct on subjects such as the number of beef cattle in the world (over one billion). Google Maps was a great help in maintaining the accuracy of geographic locations, like the street names in the city of Osh and other places.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next novel, Operation Pinata, is about drug cartels in Mexico, something I am more familiar with than GMO. It is currently in its 6th or 7th editing, by myself and my co-author and editor.
Dr. Gambil, a Genetic Modification scientist, worked for ABBA, a US beef company with world-wide operations, owned by Livingston Tec, a large conglomerate. His goal was to improve the quality of beef cattle. In 1989, angry at government interference, he destroyed the ABBA lab and was thought to have died in the explosion. Eleven years later, in 2000, he sends an e-mail to ABBA demanding a ransom of fifty million dollars or he will destroy their world-wide operation. The threat is not taken seriously, until the ABBA ranch in Argentina is attacked. ABBA hires OMICRON, an international security company, to interrogate the lone surviving attacker, who reveals Dr. Gambil has trained and sent out four teams to destroy the breeding stock on ABBA ranches throughout the world. Our protagonist, Joe Garner, an intelligence analyst, has quit his US government job over an ethics question and is hired by OMICRON. Seven years before, he had done a tour in the Marines in Kyrgyzstan, and was almost killed in a terrorist attack. Because he is fluent in Turkic, he is sent to Argentina to interrogate the Islamic survivor. Dr Gamble has fled to Kyrgyzstan, where he has developed a serum, which, when injected into breeding bulls will deteriorate the quality of their sperm. Joe also learns Dr. Gambil is related to the terrorist who led the attack on him seven years ago and the ransom money will be used to support the Islamic terrorists from Uzbekistan. OMICRON is hired to stop the attacks. After they intercepted the attack in Kansas and the ABBA ranch In Kenya is decimated, they must find Dr. Gambil and stop his mad plan. As they track Dr. Gambil to Kyrgyzstan, there is one question: Do they terminate or rehabilitate him? Joe Garner also learns that the terrorist that wounded him is behind the plot and his need for revenge grows. The story culminates with explosive action in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
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The Eyes Behold Tomorrow by Ken Hart is fast moving action filled fantasy novel. Ken Hart describes his writing perfectly, “believable, without incredibly ridiculous situations that suddenly appear to solve all the character’s problems” (Hart p166). This novel merges human and a race called the Feletian into an intertwined future encompassing alliances and some galactic waring with other races. Feletian is a matriarchal society where the men are claimed into what are called stables. Women rule and men are expected to defer to them in almost every situation. They are also known for their peace keeping ways. They are non-violent and only use force when absolutely necessary. The two main characters are Robert Teach, a millionaire playboy from Earth, and Kamini a Feletian recruiter and Princess from Feletia. The two of them end up having a volatile relationship with good and bad moments, but always working together for what is in the best interest of Feletia, even if their views and tactics don’t always agree. Robert is a hot shot that likes to shoot first and ask questions later, Kamini prefers a more peaceful approach and always looks to see the good in others.
The story starts out with the recruiting of men from Earth. Typically, the Feletian’s were looking at the best military men Earth had to offer when Kamini approached Robert and asked him to join up. Having nothing better to do with his life at that point he agreed. The character of Robert is your typical arrogant playboy that thinks he knows it all and doesn’t take orders well. He makes an enemy in the first few days with another recruit, Desaris. Robert and Deasaris’s relationship is almost as interesting as Robert and Kamini. They might not like each other but will have to work together to save the Feletian’s and ultimately Earth from the alien races known as the Lyonians and eventually the Grrulagan.
Queen Aphelia is the peace keeper; she takes great interest in Robert from the start. In reference to the title, The Eyes Behold Tomorrow, some of the women of Feletia have what they call the gift. This is an ability to see into the future. She sees Robert’s future and his importance to her world. Because of this, she puts up with a lot from him, his lack of conforming to protocol, and his unorthodox, by their standards, tactics in just about every area of this life. He is a great commander and becomes the captain of their new prototype space craft. His role as captain makes things challenging as his relationship with Kamini and her family grows. Robert develops a strong attachment to Kamini’s little sister Princess Selena. This attachment starts showing Robert there is more to the world than himself and what he wants to do, he starts thinking critically and growing. The transformation in Robert is dramatic by the end, but not so much he loses his charm. Kamini proves to be a strong leader and capable of enduring the worst the world throws at her. Together they set out to create peace in the galaxy they reside in.
Overall the world that Hart has created is original and captivating. The strong female roles show how women can be strong and nurturing and still rule without faltering. I think this book would appeal to a wide variety of readers, science fiction lovers, people looking for strong independent women fiction, and anyone that just want a little less outlandish science fiction. The book does not have happy resolutions, there is no perfect bow to wrap up the story line. The book is open ended enough to leave room for sequels but even if Hart does not continue this story line, there is a satisfying ending. It does end on a happy note for those that want a book that can stand on its own.
Pages: 274 | ISBN: 1629891177
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Voodoo Child follows Army chopper pilot Maggie Child after she’s shot down over Iraq and her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. What was the inspiration for creating a zombie novel with such a strong female protagonist?
The positive feedback I’ve been getting about Maggie is really satisfying because it was kind of an outside the box decision. I thought moving away from the standard male action hero would give the books a unique perspective. The zombie genre tends to have main characters that are either Delta Force operators, or Joe Everyman heroes who blossom into post-apocalyptic commandos, so I wanted to go in a different direction. With Maggie Child I wanted to create a protagonist that was strong and capable, while still being emotionally vulnerable. That’s especially important given what she has to endure over the course of the book. Maggie is a trained soldier but her compassion and embracing her spiritual side will become her greatest strengths. I think she’s someone readers of both genders can get behind.
Maggie, Sarafina and Lavonia are the three main characters of this tale and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Which character do you feel you relate to and why?
Well each of the trio represents a distinct facet of human nature, with Maggie as the person of action, Sarafina as the spiritual and emotional conscience and Lavonia representing our basest instincts. I suppose Maggie is the one that I and probably most other people would relate to. We all hope that if a great duty were thrust upon us we’d rise to the challenge like her. I think it will be fun to watch her blossom from a good, strong person into a truly great one. BUT I freely admit that Lavonia is always a blast to write because she’s such a shameless, self-centered sociopath. She’s irresistible.
There are a lot of zombie novels out there. How do you feel Voodoo child stands out from the rest?
The biggest difference was taking zombies back to their supernatural, voodoo roots. The current wave (or tsunami) of zombie novels are inspired by George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which reinvented zombie mythology. Thanks to Romero’s influence literary and cinematic zombies have evolved into thoroughly modern monsters, usually the byproduct of a mutated virus, military experiment or some other consequence of our technological society. That’s ironic because zombies are actually rooted in traditional Caribbean Voodoo- a very agrarian culture that hasn’t changed much in centuries. Taking zombies back to their voodoo origin allows me to explore the rich tapestry of voodoo spirits and legends. Later novels in the series will dive more deeply into that realm. It also meant I could discard the current “Zombie Rulebook” while inventing my own mythology. I think readers will enjoy the ride. Another difference is focusing on a core group of female lead characters, both as heroes and as the main human villain. I think that casts a unique light on the genre. I enjoyed exploring the characters relationships, particularly with Maggie, who, coming from an army background is very guarded about her femininity and romantic relationships, whereas the Sarafina, the Voodoo priestess is completely guided by her heart and emotions. They make an unlikely duo that not only forms a deep friendship, but also bond as master and pupil. And finally there’s the slightly twisted humor that underscores the action, which I hope is a welcome addition. Maybe Voodoo Child is the zombie novel for people who are growing weary of zombie novels.
Voodoo Child is the first book in a series and it does an excellent job of setting the stage for the story to come. Can you tell us more about where the story and characters go after book one?
We’ll discover that the supernatural forces at work will embolden other Voodoo spirits to come forward and assert themselves, turning the island of Fantomas into a brave new world of gods and monsters. This includes Marinette- The Lady of the Screech Owl, a spirit from the traditional Voodoo pantheon that’s considered so horrible only an insane person would evoke her. Pages from the ancient Voodoo spell book have been scattered across the globe, placing great power in the wrong hands. Sarafina will try to use her portion of the ancient text for good, but she’ll struggle with the book’s power to corrupt even the purest of hearts. Maggie will be grappling emotionally with her new role as a more than human warrior. To achieve that she’ll have to embrace her spiritual side, which isn’t easy for someone who, until recently, was a professed atheist. Plus (without throwing in too many first book spoilers) Both Maggie and Lavonia will be struggling with some severe mommy issues. The US Navy is heading for Fantomas to quarantine the island and render aid to its citizens. That won’t end well at all. Plus Talos Corporation is still in the mix and another rouge nation (not mentioning any names) has its eye on Fantomas. And of course Lavonia wants her lost money back, even if that means unleashing a zombie army to do it. It’s going to be full of fun, surprises… and monsters.
Army chopper pilot Maggie Child has a reputation for being fearless, professional and, above all, rational. But when she’s shot down over Iraq her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. Alone, wounded and surrounded by hostile forces, Maggie is rescued from certain death by a demon straight out of Dante’s Inferno. Then, barely alive, she’s abducted by a private military corporation conducting insidious medical experiments. Her escape from their covert hellhole lands her on a Caribbean island where an evil voodoo spirit and a psychotic female dictator are conspiring to unleash an apocalyptic zombie plague. Then she uncovers the most terrifying secret of all—her own destiny. It seems a Voodoo oracle has ordained her the only warrior capable of saving humanity from a supernatural Armageddon … whether she wants the job or not! But saving the world isn’t a one-woman job, so she teams up with a trio of unlikely heroes—a conspiracy obsessed marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess with an appetite for reality television, and a burnt out ex-mercenary. Together, they’ll take on an army of the walking dead, with the fate of humanity resting in their eccentric hands. Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising is the first novel in a new horror series packed with supernatural thrills, rousing adventure, dark humor, Voodoo lore and plenty of zombie stomping action. But a word of warning; don’t shoot these zombies in the head … because that just makes them mad!
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