Saturday, May 5, 2018

Blood Orbit: A Gattis File Novel by K. R Richardson

Blood Orbit: A Gattis File Novel. K. R. Richardson. Prometheus Books. Copyright May 2018. pb.  495 pp.; ISBN: 9781633884397. 

Rookie Eric Matheson and his mate discover a gruesome, mind-blowing massacre of sixteen victims.  His mate is injured and Matheson is assigned to investigate the murders with the Chief Forensic Officer, Inspector J. P. Dillal.  Dillal is the first cybernetic investigator in the corporate-run planet of Gattis.  But Dilall has origins from a despised ethnic underclass in a caste system that not only feeds dislike but also guarantees outbreaks of violence.  The murders occurred in what is called a jassi, a place where illegal activities flourish and bonds among the criminal elements of society develop in spite of the clandestine nature of these jassi meetings.  Matheson and Dilall are charged with solving the murders quickly with hints that failure to speedily conclude this matter could have devastating results for both men. At the same time, Dilall is new to this cybernetic life and there are some adjustments that need to happen in order for him to avoid infection and death to his new mechanical being.

Dillal is glad he has a rookie for a colleague in this investigation so that he can train him in techniques that actually work, before the rookie Matheson is tainted by the local police who are supposed to enforce the law but instead pursue the interests of Corporate goals and greed.  Matheson’s peers however, resent his promotion to this job and violently let him know it.  Add to that the groups on the street who support and more often oppose him finding the answers about this murder.  The reality is that corporate office is trying to cover up the truth so they can name one of the lower-class groups as guilty, thereby justifying some elaborate methods of exterminating the despised lower class or classes of Gattis.

To say more would spoil the conflict’s evolution; suffice to say Dillal and Matheson will solve the crime but may not live to enjoy the victory!

This sci-fi novel is very difficult to follow, but it’s worth it to break through the challenging group names, acts by superiors to confuse and alter the progress of the investigation, and determine who are the ones directing Corporation commands.  Interesting read and recommended for true sci-fi fans!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by M. T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park and Deborah Hopkinson

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All.  M. T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park and Deborah Hopkinson. Schwartz & Wade. May 2018. 416 pp.  ISBN#: 9781524716197.

Attracting the eye of Henry VIII was definitely NOT a good thing.  Yet, remarkably, each woman whom Henry courted thought she would be the one to succeed where others had failed.  Denial is certainly such a powerful phenomenon!

We have here the story of each royal bride, narrated by different authors, told with a unique point of view that adds interest to the belabored topic of Henry’s wives.  They all have one element in common – please, yes amuse and flatter Henry VIII.  After each narrative we have Henry’s brief comments on his experience with each lady – with the same cycle of initial interest, disappointment, feeling betrayed, and separation.  It reminds this reviewer of a child grown bored with toys. Familiarity breeding contempt becomes the precursor to the “block.”

So for those unfamiliar with these brides, this will be an engaging, fascinating read.  For those familiar, it’s the story we all know but with some added emphasis to differentiate the women.  So Catherine’s disbelief and faith are quite remarkable.  Anne Boleyn’s account claims to be focused on joy but that is hardly the picture we get of this woman who passes from giddy to enraged to extremely pious in a most incredible manner.  Anne of Cleves is probably the smartest, most perceptive wife whose marriage has duped the King and for which she gains exile and independence, which isn’t such a bad outcome considering the demise of Henry’s other brides. So the narratives continue…

Fatal Throne… is labeled a YA novel but it is amenable to readers of all ages.  Each author has obviously done considerable research not only about the main characters but also about the prevailing, conniving advisors to the Tudor court.  Enjoy the latest addition to the Tudor novels depicting one of the most significant periods of English history!  Nicely crafted and certainly fascinating as the reader gets a closer look at the intricacies of initially pleasing and ultimately fragmented, fatal royal bonds.