Saturday, December 29, 2018
Book Review: 'The Silver City: An Adventure/Sci-Fi Classic (Father Earth Book 1)' by Brad W. King
‘A helicopter was landing in their open field, only a few hundred yards away.’
Author Brad W. King offers the first in a projected series of science fiction adventure geared toward the ages 10 – 18. Brad offers no biographical information either on the Amazon site or in his book, but the words speak clearly that this is a man with a keen sense of storytelling and a fine writing style for a debut novella (93 pages).
The Prologue (set in the year 2021) sets the tone – ‘Snow. Ice. Everywhere. It envelops him. It is thrown into his face by the howling wind. He feels his eyelashes freezing and he is struggling to breathe. He slams his icepick with a maddening fury into the ice wall that he is barely attached to. With an icepick in his left and right hands, he alternates with intensity. Left, right, left, right he ascended. In all reality, it felt a little more like left, panic… right, deep breath… left, don’t look down… right, don’t die. His surroundings were enchanting. Beautiful mountain peaks as tall as you could imagine occupied the skyline around him. Everything was black and white. Even the evergreen trees that covered every inch of the snowy slopes looked dim and dull. In a word, serene. At this moment, however, the scenery was the least of Fin’s concerns. He needed to stay alive. Each moment he dangled from the cliff was another moment that his fatigue threatened to end his life. The muscles in his arms felt like they were disintegrating and even his unusually strong mental stamina felt like throwing in the towel. With each strike of the icepick, he felt the motion rip through every fiber of his entire body. Every ounce of him struggled to survive. He was nearly to his destination. All he needed to do was make it up another 40 feet or so. His problem wasn’t so much the distance, it was the path he had to take to get there. The angle of the rocky cliff face was starting to become anything but straight up. He found himself nearly upside down trying his hardest to slam each icepick in as hard as he could, given his body’s state. The crampons on his ice climbing shoes allowed him to kick with force into the deep ice. He continued the bloodcurdling ascent with trepidation. His progress was painfully slow. For the sake of survival though, it was worth it. He rounded the edge of the cliff slowly, but surely. As he neared the upper side of the tough angle, he found it more difficult to find a flat surface. The rock was jutting out every which way. His feet were secure in the ice but when he went to strike a spot in between two of the jutting rocks, he missed. His right icepick hit a sharp, protruding section of rock. It bounced back at him with as much force as he had put into the swing... causing him to get knocked backwards sharply. The force of the blow was enough to push his body weight past the contact point that his left icepick was holding onto. As his left icepick came out of the icy rocks, he felt his weight fall and his heart drop out of his chest. He found himself swinging back and forth, dangling upside down from his feet, in the middle of a Siberian mountain range. The Verkhoyansk Range sat to the far northeast of Russia. It was arguably one of the coldest places on earth. With record lows of nearly -90 degrees Fahrenheit, it wasn’t a place for the faint of heart. As the young man dangled completely inverted from the cliff, feeling the -60 degree wind blasting at his face, being held on only by his $700 ice climbing shoes, the last thing anyone could dare to call him… was faint of heart.’
But then we meet our main character – ‘24-year-old Fin Shaw stared at his report card. A’s lined the columns. When your passionate about something, you do it well. That philosophy certainly occupied a place in this young man’s bright mind. This was his final report card before he received his PhD in archaeology from the University of Istow, California.’ The synopsis then helps us gear up for the story – ‘A helicopter touches down in Fin Shaw's front yard. Inside, is a man that has some big news to break. "Fin, you're going with me to Egypt!" The moment the young archaeologist has been waiting for his entire life has arrived! The men arrive in The Valley of the Kings and locate a secret chamber in the tomb of King Tutankhamun that has an insane secret. Two silver boxes hold all the answers. Fin finds himself trekking across frozen Tundra with the love of his life in peril to find a lost city, only to be confronted with the greatest mystery of all time while being pursued by a global crime syndicate. What will Fin find in the ancient hidden city?’
A fine first episode for a series that promises involvement and dedication on the part of young readers!
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.