I was first introduced to E R Mason when I read his series of space opera sci fi. I got to know the characters and felt for them. When I finished theI was first introduced to E R Mason when I read his series of space opera sci fi. I got to know the characters and felt for them. When I finished the series and purchased this book I was not sure I was ready to start over in a new setting with a new storyline and people I didn't know. My fears were without merit. Mr Mason does a fine job of creating lifelike people with issues that I can relate to no matter if they are on a space ship or in a world war 2 bomber. Overall I enjoyed this book. It started a little slowly but midway through I found myself engaged in the characters and their situation. I also thought the story idea was a clever one and I don't think I've read anything that has explored this idea in any way similarly. I do not want to spoil anything for readers who pick up this story. But my full involvement happened when Jax found himself as a bomber pilot for the RAF in WW2. He was forced to accept and eventually truly embraced his new identity. So did I. So much so that when it was over several chapters later and it was time to return to his original identity, I also felt his disorientation and sense of loss. He came back changed and so did I. That is why I gave this book 4 stars and why I will read more of this author....more
I liked the idea behind this book. Earth sends out a ship to colonize a planet but it crashes and only 3 of its 13 shuttles actually make it to the suI liked the idea behind this book. Earth sends out a ship to colonize a planet but it crashes and only 3 of its 13 shuttles actually make it to the surface with human colonists. Other than humans there is no intelligent life on this planet, only plants and animals. Some 400 years later each shuttle has become a museum and an archive for the village that grew around it. Each shuttle was segregated to one Earth nationality apparently. The shuttle in the main character's village takes commands in Russian. The Chinese have a village nearby. None of the villages however co-mingle, trade or otherwise associate with each other. The people are hunters and farmers led by an elected "captain". The weapons are knives and spears. The role of scientist is handed down from one man or woman to child. The scientist is the only person who can open the shuttle and carries the knowledge of how to use some of the shuttle's technology. The story begins when the Russians suspect the Chinese are planning to invade their village so they send one of their best hunters, Selbe, to spy on them. He is captured by the Chinese and he learns they are not a particularly war-like people. They are a society of hunters and farmers and families like the Russians. Despite Selbe's diplomatic efforts, war and the slaughter of his people seems inevitable. The war however is not exactly what we expect it to be.
The story is well paced. The march back to the Russian village bogs down just a little. I think it's due to a slight over emphasis on Selbe's anger and disillusionment. The sarcasm carries on for a while longer than I thought necessary to get the point across. But the characters are well formed. Overall it's a pretty good book.
My main problem is that the version I was reading. was so poorly edited that - well, it seems not edited at all. Bad grammatical errors every couple of paragraphs throughout. It was very annoying especially when I got to the chapter numbered "twenty sex". That heading was worth a chuckle but it was pretty tiresome at this point.