Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review::The Great Symmetry by James R. Wells

The Great SymmetryThe Great Symmetry by James R. Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Great Symmetry by James R. Wells

I picked this one up from the author's post on Kboards. I checked it out and ran through the sample offered and decided I wanted to read it. I'm glad I did because it’s a good story in more ways than I had expected.

It starts with Exoarcheologist Evan McElroy, who has made revelatory discoveries about an ancient race, the Versari, a long-departed alien race; and he is expecting this will round out his academic credentials. But Evan's sponsor, the Affirmatix family of companies, see everything as risk and opportunity and that vision will call for the death of everyone on Evan's team. While out in space checking out his theory about a new glome (most glome exit points are unknown until they send probes through and even then if they are too far our in space it might be a while to confirm); Evan is certain that he know the exit point of this new glome based on knowledge from an artifact. While finding the glome he also finds himself under attack from the family and he must make a rapid series of decisions. His decisions leave him in a known area of space waiting to float endlessly and uselessly in orbit until he dies.

This alone was a draw into the story as we see the oxygen level running out and the story of what it is he has discovered is slowly revealed.

But then we switch below to the Kelter the world which Evan calls home and the place he has sent an enigmatic message for an old friend Mira Adastra, who owes him. He also left behind an ex-girlfriend Kate DelMonaco. And these three Mira, Kate, and Evan would seem to be the primary characters in the story. But there are more.

In this universe information is of high value and the seven great families have kept it under lock and key for decades. One place on Kelter, the Untrusted Zone, Infoterrorist, who believe information should be shared, have been held at bay by an uneasy truce. Now Arn Lobeck has brought the force of the Affirmatix Family into Kelter space in pursuit of Evan to suppress the knowledge Evan has. With him he has brought a mix of Contract Professionals of which Sonia and Ravi are two who are meant to advise him.

This novel is a complex thriller with the threat of a world destroying battle formation known as D6 and while this thread takes a back seat most of the way through as a reader I found that this thread contained the story of the two most important characters.

James R. Wells creates some complex and real characters in this story. And the struggle that Sonia and Ravi go through and how it leads to their heroic and yet less than heroic actions will determine the outcome of the most threatening feature of Arn Lobeck's plan. And intermixed within all of this is the political landscape that surrounds the more powerful members of the great families.

This one goes in my top 5 of new Science Fiction with debut authors.

I think this is a Great SFF and should even satisfy some of those Simon Pure Science Fiction readers. There are some aspects of the ancient race that might look mystical but for the most part the science within the story stays fairly sound. Definite recommended reading and it will be interesting to see how Mr. Wells follows this one with book 2.

J.L. Dobias

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