I read this book on the recommendation of a friend who loaned me his paperback copy. The story is presented with a very steam-punk, sci-fi infused, space opera feel. I was initially wondering if I would like this book as it seemed to have some initial head-hopping and confusing scenes in chapter one, but the further I read, the more interesting the characters and their journey became to me.
The adventure starts with a dramatic escape from a strange city filled with danger and quickly turns into an adventure of discovery and purpose. After running from the initial treats, the main characters will eventually change their perspective and purposely return to resolve the larger mysteries and problems that are slowly revealed in the story.
I’m not very familiar with steampunk genre stories other than maybe the “Firefly/Serenity” TV series (which this in some ways has the same fun feel as this tale – although this has less of a directly campy “western” setting). Because of my unfamiliarity with the genre, some of the names of various groups, places, and terms used felt a bit “silly” to me at first, but the more I got into the book the more they did fit the steampunk feel of the tale and soon I accepted the world that Alastair Reynolds was presenting in this novel.
The climax and conclusion was also very interesting. It wraps up the issues of the plot, yet almost leaves it open for a future sequel, but I don’t think there is a sequel to this book. (as far as I know it’s a stand-alone novel) But the ending has a good conclusion which I felt wrapped things up as much as needed and left the possibilities of the future open to the reader’s perspective.
All in all, a very imaginative and fun read that I might not have chosen on my own. I’m glad my friend recommended it to me.
From the Grave of the Gods is set in a current-day hard science fiction universe, which then takes you into an adventure of humanity’s first real contact with advanced alien civilizations – an amazing, full-length novel by new author Alan K. Dell.
It’s wonderful to find a great page-turner from a new writer. The deeper I got into this book the more I couldn’t put it down (I know that is cliche’ but very true, I read the last 50% of it in a nearly consecutive 6 hour binge!)
The prologue to the novel presents a sequence of Commander James Fowler’s memories in the format of a forced interrogation of his mind, by an unknown pair of alien tormenters. Some of them are very cryptic but I believe it’s setting up things for the future Augment Series novels. One of these memories leads into the first chapter of this initial novel.
The story begins with the first manned mission to Mars in 2025, a mission to investigate what is at first believed to be an unusual comet impact site. The adventure follows the crew members through the mission as it morphs into a mysterious and traumatic ordeal, and the conspiracies and conspiracies which follow them back on Earth after the mission.
The major characters are very compelling and my connection to the them continued to grow stronger as the plot expanded and the dangers of the adventure deepened. I found myself anxious and personally invested in the jeopardy that the characters faced.
The pacing of the plot shows the patience of a seasoned storyteller, keeping us in the action and also giving the reader time to rest and invest in the characters. The universe that’s set in motion by this story is compelling. I can see how the series has a lot of room to expand and become even more exciting as the future novels come out.
This novel is a wonderful read on its own, and ends with it’s own satisfying conclusion, but I anxiously await Dell’s future novels in this series.
I just completed a short read of The Re-Emergence – a fun novella which wraps up its own short episode with adventure and gives the reader a taste for the background to the soon to be published full length novel (The Grave of the Gods).
This is Alan Dell’s first published work. I have been following his project with interest while he has been creating it. I look forward to the full length novel this short story sets up. It is a quick and enjoyable introduction if you would like to consider his future works. I like that this short story sets up some of the back history of the coming novel rather than coming into the next book without any background or having it given as a short “prologue” of a larger novel. This gave us a full story and characters to enjoy while setting up that pre-history in an interesting way.
Our collaborative team of nine authors who are working on the anthology project spent time this week bashing about ideas for the book blurb.. the sell… the eye catcher for the back cover of the book and the description for Amazon. This is what we came up with:
A New Home, A New Challenge.
There was nothing left we wanted to discover. Complacent, we turned inward. We had given up on our quest to learn our place in the universe.
Then our hand was forced by fate.
A calamity unforeseen.
In the struggle to survive, would we lose ourselves in myth and wilful ignorance, or seek the answer to the greatest question: Are we alone?