Normally I would wait for any reviews until the end of the year for a roundup of “Year of Books” posts. If I read a good book by a small publisher or lesser-known author, though, I’ll probably make an exception. And this is one of them! So, without further ado:
by Peter Prellwitz
On earth, a group of people have been gathered. They’re excited for an experiment that will lead them to work until they die. What could be better than that? Meanwhile, the Horizon makes it back from a deep-space mission dropping off colonists. One of twelve ships that can escape the solar system and travel to other worlds, Horizon‘s captain and third engineer are nearly legendary back home. They’re starting to show their years, though. When they’re ordered to earth (rather than home to Mars) and not told why, and people who ask questions start showing up dead, Captain Pamela Carlson and Third Engineer Mahlon Stewart need to work fast if they’re going to save their crew… and the future of the human race.
I’ve reviewed Prellwitz’s stuff before, and full disclosure: He’s become a good friend. He’s pushed me to read this particular novel of his before, and so… well, it was time.
And I have to say: This book rocks.
The opening chapter strikes a solid sci-fi vibe with great suspense factor, introducing us to the world. In fact, the novel in general presents nearly all the aspects of Prellwitz’s larger universe, and I believe very effectively. In particular I love his Pices, an offshoot of the human race that’s returned to the water. He’s created a unique culture and grammar for them that is just alien enough to be fascinating.
His characters are great, too. Pam Carlson gives me a Janeway (of Star Trek: Voyager) vibe, without reflecting some of the more preachy aspects of her character. Pam is a strong female captain that protects her crew like a mama bear. Mahlon is a grizzled engineer that makes me think of an older Scotty (from Star Trek). But please don’t think that these comparisons are me saying Prellwitz just copy-pasted the works of others; he didn’t. These are wholly original characters in a very unique setting.
The plot whizzes along. I don’t think there’s any downtime in the novel, and certainly no wasted pages. I don’t want to say too much about it, though, as much of the fun is in the discovery of the world and what’s going on.
There is one point that’s meant to be suspenseful, but you know exactly how it’s going to turn out. Thankfully, that one moment isn’t the climax – but it stood out to me as a weaker moment in an otherwise fantastic book.
I’d encourage you to check this one out. It’s worth your time!