Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, August 2005

Scattered Suns: The Saga of the Seven Suns Book 4 by Kevin J. Anderson

Warner Books, July, 2005
Hardcover, 476 pages
ISBN: 0446577170
Ordering information: |

Scattered Suns: The Saga of the Seven Suns Book 4
by Kevin J. Anderson In this fourth entry in the fantastically addictive epic SF series from Kevin J. Anderson, the unbelievably violent and massive war between the hydrogues and the faeros shows no signs of abating. And the violence is spreading. The new Mage-Imperator of the Ildiran Empire, Jora'h, is facing a civil war as well as potential destruction by the hydrogues. His only hope is his human-Ildiran daughter, who is sent on a risky mission of peace. Meanwhile, the human worlds are also facing annihilation, both from internal and external threats. Terran Hanseatic League Chairman Basil Wenceslas has grown quite mad with power, refusing to listen to anyone who doesn't agree with his every idea, and branding anyone who disagrees with him a traitor. Perhaps the most terrifying threat of all are the robots called the Klikiss, who have already wiped out one civilization, and seem quite enthusiastic about destroying humans -- and all flesh and blood life-- for an encore. Basil won't listen to King Peter, who has always thought that the Klikiss shouldn't be allowed to be integrated into human civilization.

Kevin J. Anderson's epic SF series is so vast in scope, with so many characters and worlds, that the story would have fallen apart by now in a lesser author's hands. But Anderson easily and skillfully weaves all the different threads together, to jaw-dropping effect. He also manages to make each of the main plots equally interesting. Anderson neatly avoid the "mid-book sag" effect that seems to afflict so many multi-volume epic series. Scattered Suns is just as thrilling and inventive as the first three books in this excellent series.

--Claire E. White

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

Doubleday, July, 2005
Hardcover, 456 pages
ISBN: 038551428X
Ordering information: |

The Traveler
by John Twelve Hawks Brothers Gabriel and Michael Corrigan couldn't be more different from one another. Michael is driven to succeed in business, and is willing to go into business with the Mob to make a buck. Gabriel is more interested in his freedom: he works as a motorcycle courier to make enough money to skydive and take care of his bikes. But both brothers share a secret legacy: their father was a Traveler, one of the rare men in history who could separate their consciousness from their bodies to travel to other dimensions. Travelers have always changed history because of their unique perspective to see our world in its true reality: Joan of Arc, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and St. Francis of Assisi were all Travelers, who led movements for the betterment of mankind. But there has also been a group opposed to the Travelers, called the Tabula. Now, in the electronic age, the Tabula keep track of all citizens through their credit cards, internet use, grocery discount cards and property records. There are only two Travelers left: Michael and Gabriel. And the Tabula will do anything to capture or kill them. Only the Harlequins -- trained protectors and assassins -- can save the Travelers. Maya has been raised as a Harlequin by her legendary father. She must find Michael and Gabriel and get them to the person who can train them in their abilities before the Tabula gets to them. Because this time, the Tabula is willing to use a Traveler to enforce their Orwellian view of the world: one in which everyone is constantly monitored and has no freedom at all.

The Traveler has received an almost unprecedented amount of publicity; fortunately for readers, the book is excellent. The first in a projected trilogy, John Twelve Hawks' cautionary tale of how our privacy is being eroded a little bit every day is absolutely chilling. Hawks (a pseudonym for the author who lives his life off the Grid) excels at writing paranoia-laced action scenes, and he keeps the pace blistering. The Travelers are both interesting characters, but it is Maya, the tough as nails Harlequin, who will capture readers' imaginations in this delightfully paranoid thriller.

--Claire E. White

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