I came across this book because Tom Merritt is one of the presenters of the Sword and Laser podcast to which I subscribe. More specifically I also follow the S&L group on Goodreads and it was there he posted a link to a book trailer video. I followed the link, was curious... and here we are.
The story of Lot Beta is a space opera set in a part of the universe controlled by a vast mining corporation. The hierarchy of the corporation is interesting in that it is, for the most part, hereditary, especially the senior positions. This is supposed to be because of the way the colonization process took place with people leaving behind their home planets on generation ships. I think there’s another reason as well but maybe I’ll come back to that.
Anyway a senior position opens up on “Sat A” by the death of the previous head of this unit*. Normally of course he would be succeeded by his child but this particular COO did not have one. Or did he?
And so begins a tale of a boy with a hidden past who is suddenly thrust into a position of power by a birth right he didn’t even know he had.
He says in the front matter that this was a NaNoWriMo book. I think that this shows, and not necessarily in a bad way. It’s short and has a big central idea but a lot of the avenues it could have taken aren’t expanded on, especially toward the end. Whether that was because the author was “pulling to the finish line” or simply he didn’t want to major on those parts of the book I’m not sure. What I do know is that a lot of the first half of the book is full of corporate politics and bureaucratic wrangling and power plays. Which may appeal to some but I found I was over it relatively quickly. It was well done I think just not really my thing. How our main character uses the vagaries of the supply trade agreements to assert himself over central control was cleverly worked out but for me, not as interesting as some of the later passages about space battles, mining settlement trouble-shooting and dealing with smuggling issues. In other words the action-heavy versus the talky-heavy sections of the plot were not evenly distributed.
At this point it’s probably appropriate to point out something important about the structure of the book. Which is that it’s based on a well-known myth but set in space. The author himself has mentioned this elsewhere on Goodreads but not in the book description so I feel I’d be spoiling to point out exactly which myth it is. I can see how this idea would be the sort of thing one might come up with for NaNoWriMo. It gives you a ready made plot outline to work to. It did make me think at times though, once I realised just how closely to the source he was sticking, whether he would have done certain things if he hadn’t been following this pattern. A couple of the analogues he found were quite clever(show spoiler)
but then there were sections I think don’t make sense at all unless you realise what it’s based on(show spoiler)
It was fairly enjoyable overall. Short and readable.
The legend of ... in space!
Oh nearly forgot. The title alludes to something in the book which is a set up for a truly awful pun.(show spoiler)
(*I was never 100% sure whether a “sat” was an artificial satellite like a space station or a natural one like an asteroid. Plus I think there were planets but whether they had a different designation and how they fit into the corporate structure was unclear, or I simply missed it.)
Not a bad thriller.
If you've read books like Straw Men by Michael Marshall then I suppose there are similarities.
The difference I suppose is that there are really two timelines in this book. The main character, Sarah, was abducted and kept captive thirteen years ago. Now, her captor is up for parole and in order to make sure he doesn't get released she needs to contact her fellow victims. So we have a kind of investigative story set in the present and an unfolding of what actually happened years before.
I enjoyed it although there were some points where I wondered about plausibility.
Would an FBI agent, even a very sympathetic one, give over information so easily? Would they allow them to leave after the release of the women from the van?
It was interesting that Jack is always in the background but he never really gets an active role. Definitely not in the present and even in the past the action is all through the women's eyes. I don't think there was any dialogue from him. The letters I suppose.
So the import's finished.
I'm impressed that it's loaded all my reviews. I'm less impressed that some of my books are without covers, and some have loaded as completely different books.
I guess I never expected it to be 100%, but that means I've got some checking/tidying to do.
So I joined this site because it was highlighted as one of the places for Goodreads refugees to go. I'm not sure that's me. I'm happy to wait and see how Goodreads turns out under Amazon.
I'm not even here to keep my options open as some are doing (i.e. staying on GR but creating a login elsewhere just in case...)
So why am I here?
Because I checked it out out of curiosity and it looks good.
I like books and I like reviewing and discussing them - so this seems like a good site.
I read this book because I had read and enjoyed We Are Here and this book introduces some of the characters that appear in that book. However I think it's OK to read them in either order, it's probably better to read this first.I did enjoy this but it was darker and more horror than supernatural thriller. I think if you like Stephen King you'll enjoy this. It has that same sense of some dark and powerful brooding menace out in the woods.