For Book Review Wednesday, I have a LOOOOOONG book for you to read. If you’re a fan of more intelligent sci-fi, this is a book you will certainly enjoy…
Two hundred years in the future, our first major human colony on Mars, the Zephyria Planum Research Station, is suffering. The inhabitants have rapidly dwindling rations and medical supplies, and are prohibited from returning to Earth. A handful of officers can only think of one final, last-ditch effort to get what they need simply to survive, but it requires them to break every sacred oath they ever took.
Sakharov Station, in orbit between Earth and Mars, find themselves between a rock and a hard place when the World Government collapses, and the more powerful space-faring nations of Earth start grappling for possession of Sakharov Station’s deadly contents the personnel were sent to dispose of.
Can the two outlying bastions of humanity join forces and survive, or will each step bring them closer to their own doom?
My Review: 4 Stars
I have to say that this was a very well-written book. The concept was highly original, the story interesting, and the topic one I enjoyed. However, I had a hard time reading it because it was VERY slow.
The story moved along at a steady pace, but there were no real highs and lows for me to sink my teeth into. It’s the kind of book for a reader who enjoys digging into a book and doesn’t care about fast-paced stories. There is decent tension and action, but it took so long to reach those parts. For the most part, it was a fascinating look at what life would be like on a Mars colony, as well as the politics on Earth that would affect them.
It is definitely a book worth the read, but I’m giving it a 4-star rating because it took me so much effort to get through it.
Here’s a Taste:
The fleshy wall of rushing sand and air poured closer to them. It consumed the northern horizon wildly. In a few minutes it would block their view of the sun and they would be done for. To be caught in a Martian sandstorm even a hundred meters from the habitat could mean their deaths. Mars in a matter of moments could move tons of fine, penetrating dust and gravel from one corner of Zephyria to the other, create new landscapes in passionate, undeclared fury and smother placidly rolling knolls with poetic ease. It frightened Werner that he could hear the beast, and feel it in the gentle rocking of the rover. Enough unfortunates’ lonely bodies were scattered over the planet.
“The computer’s up,” Brijesh declared calmly. “It’s real!” he exclaimed. “A heavy gale and headed for us. Course heading east southeast, about a hundred and fifty kilometers wide!”
“Base is not responding, get in!” Werner dragged the Indian by the sleeve into the back seat of the rover. Werner fought his suit like a decrepit second skin, wrapped shaking knuckles around the rover’s steering wheel and slammed his foot on the accelerator. Five of the wheels spun vainly in the sand, one wheel fortunately found solid rock. The tire caught, they lurched forward so violently Sujay nearly launched from his seat before he grabbed the side of the rover. He struggled with the seat belt and wished they had been given a hopper. The rover could do seventy kilometers an hour on pavement. Only gravel and sand and boulders existed for the overworked machine here.
The vehicle skidded around a rubble mound, spitting up little stones against their faceplates as each wheel scraped for traction. A black spot jutting high on the northern horizon marked the four kilometer long habitat and their salvation. Werner checked the rover’s sensor display. If the black spot was a mirage, it fooled the equipment as well. It wouldn’t be the first time Werner had gotten lost. Brijesh glanced at Werner. “Are we going the right way?”
“I don’t know!” Werner spat.
“Go faster!” Brijesh insisted.
“I can’t,” Werner groaned as he struggled with the steering wheel. Every time they bounced against a large bump the rover felt as though it would tip over.
The storm drew nearer. In generous, pulsing gulps, the furious sands began to swallow the habitat and its companion mirage.
Werner ripped the wheel to the right, the sand blasted them from the left. He felt the vehicle tip, somehow with a solid crank he managed to return the frantic wheels to the sand. He could no longer see the path to the habitat, but he knew he was close. If he could get to it they could feel their way for some shelter on the leeward side of a buttress, and he knew that was a foolish hope. Brijesh slapped his shoulder and pointed to a bright light piercing the brown air.
“The depot!” Brijesh shouted. Werner concentrated on that single illumination, still half a kilometer away from their deliverance from the surging beast that clawed at their face plates and oxygen packs. He slowed the vehicle down as he knew the terrain grew rockier from blast debris left behind from constructing the base. A knifelike boulder appeared out of the cloud directly in front of them. Werner swerved the rover to the right and found another boulder too near to avoid. The vehicle floundered and toppled onto its left side. Werner felt Brijesh tumble onto him, tearing him from the wheel. He slammed him against the ground. His breath caught for a moment—did his suit rip? Oh God—no, no, he was all right. Brijesh scrambled to his feet and grabbed Werner. “You okay?” he screamed.
“Ja, go! Run!”
Abandoning the rover, Werner followed nimble Brijesh over the rocks and swelling drifts. If they remained still the sand would engulf them in a matter of seconds. They had a better chance on foot now that they could see the habitat’s signal lights. They continued steadily. Werner yelped as the tiny indicator lights on the inside of his helmet flickered. The static electricity caused by the storm began to short out his suit’s electronics. He slammed a hand on his left elbow, hitting the degaussing button. The indicator lights stayed on for a moment, then every electronic device on his suit went dead. The small headlamps on either side of his helmet fell dark. He tried not to breathe so hard, as he had little air left, and he tried to keep Brijesh before him. Werner knew it would be a matter of moments before his air supply ran out. He could not use his headset, for it too had perished with the rest of the electronics.
The rover depot doors were shut. Were they sealed? Brijesh made it to the hatch and pounded a rock against the sturdy metal three times. Something black and flat the size of a dining table flipped away overhead. The habitat’s aging exterior shielding flaked and tore in such winds. They had lost another piece of buffer plating. He scanned the storm for Werner and screamed his name. Werner emerged from the whirling cloud, stumbling and confused. “You’re close, come on!” Brijesh fumbled with the rock to pound on the hatch again, suddenly it parted for him. He jumped after the fumbling Werner, grabbed him by the arm. He dragged Werner inside the door and slapped his hand on the hatch controls. Werner collapsed onto the floor, his eyes wide, his mouth gaping as he suffocated. The hatch screeched closed and the small rover bay gradually pressurized. A steady yellow light rotated overhead until a green one lit. Werner peeled up his helmet’s faceplate and sucked in lungfuls of air. They were alive. They were saved.
About the Author:
Eryn Vyctorya Mills was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Estes Park. A life-long lover of science fiction, she started writing stories as a child and never found a reason to stop. She and her mother own and operate the Enos Mills Cabin Museum, the original homestead cabin of Enos A. Mills, who is widely regarded as “The Father of Rocky Mountain National Park.” She lives in the mountains near Rocky Mountain National Park with her dog.
Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CQ07E8M
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29473343-the-mutineers
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