Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Book Review: 'Krakenscourge (Voidstalker #2)' by John Graham
‘That left just the survivors…’
Author John Graham made a significant writing debut with the publication of his novel – VOIDSTALKER – a science fiction tale that is far more than the sum of the usual components. John is willing to take on contemporary philosophy, genetic engineering, and space manipulation and blend this with a truly terrifying glimpse at corruption of the highest level. He now extends the premise and adventure with Book 2 - KRANKENSCOURGE
An example of the facility with which John writes is evident in this short passage form his first book – ‘“Robots lack the capacity to second-guess their superiors. They also lack something much more crucial - The spark of Humanity. The voidstalker programme has long-term purposes which transcend its immediate utility as a tool of deep-space intelligence operations. They hinge on the long-term survival of Humanity as a whole, and it is therefore vital that the voidstalkers actually be Human, anger and all.”
To set the tone of the book John opens with a palpable atmosphere - ‘Worlds die long before the stars that sustain them, at least in most cases. When this star’s core had collapsed, it had expelled most of it mass in the form of a devastating supernova and scorched the planets it once nurtured. The even had in incinerated their still thriving biospheres and permanently irradiated the ravaged rocks that remained. All that was left was a neutron star. The outer edge of the system was surrounded by an enormous cloud illuminated by the glow of the neutron star, setting it alight in a mesmerising riot of colours. ’
But sharing excerpts of this startlingly fine book may be addictive but the plot line is very important – ‘Far beyond Human space, a massive alien vessel appears, its systems badly damaged and its crew slaughtered in a mysterious ambush in the depths of the void. The emaciated survivors can only identify their attackers by one word: voidstalker. A year has passed since the events of Voidstalker, and Gabriel cannot forgive the DNI for its role in those events…or forget what he saw. Unknown to him, his enigmatic superiors in the DNI are pressing ahead with plans for his family long in the making, and his wife Aster will find herself trapped between their web of conspiracies and forces determined to thwart them. Meanwhile, the DNI receives disturbing intelligence about why the alien vessel was attacked in the first place, and Gabriel is sent deep into uncharted space to investigate. Far beyond the safety of Humanity’s frontiers, Gabriel is forced to contend with sinister alien forces who will stop at nothing to bend an ancient abomination to their inscrutable wills. Humanity is not the only race that would sacrifice everything for absolute power.’
Well-written, finely composed plotline, and a well-crafted arc and dénouement assures us that John Graham’s hobby of science fiction has found a solid home in writing.
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.