Inish Carraig by Jo Zebedee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Inish Carraig by Jo Zebedee
There are so many things that are good, about this novel, that it's difficult to say which one might have pushed it over the top and onto my pile of best novels for the year 2015. I've read the author’s first novel, Abendau's Heir, and I would recommend that when you finish this novel you should check it out if you haven't already read it. Abendau's Heir showcases the authors style of writing which might be described as fifty shades of dark. She likes to start things out in grey areas and slowly drip the characters through darkness until they reach some of the darkest places. But in this novel I think she proved that she could balance that and since Abendau's Heir is the beginning of a series it bodes well that she will eventually balance the scale in that story also. All of that considered: what she does better than dark; is her delving into consequences. Her characters are not the sterling white knights that you see in some novels. And the stories she tells start with those consequences and lead the reader and the characters down a path toward whatever redemption is possible. It’s a long and winding path filled with dark moments and things are rarely easy and often gruesome.
In Inish Carraig John and Taz are survivors, but just barely; and they are scratching the bottom just to keep the remainder of their families alive. Aliens have devastated the earth, despite our technology the Zelotyr did not recognize humans as sentient and they began a systematic extermination of the vermin, because they needed the Earth as a replacement for their own dying world. When they finally recognized the error, they reversed course and began working toward coexistence. Still many humans did not gracefully accept this coexistence or the fact that the aliens still held superior power and authority over Earth. There is the GC, Galactic Council and its members which include the Barath'na who seem to be in some type of cold war with the Zelotyr. And on the night we get acquainted with John and Taz, they are completing a task for McDowell; a man who has always been the lowest of low who commands the dark streets they hide among. After going to high ground, the two begin to release what almost appears to be ashes into the wind and that begins their descent into a convoluted scheme that starts with the Xenocide of those Zelotyr on Earth.
John and Taz are quickly caught and easily linked to the outbreak that is killing the Zelotyr. As the few remaining Zelotyr abandon earth the Galactic Council, and specifically the Barath'na, move in to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. John and Taz begin the trials that will show them the consequences of the actions they took and even though through ignorance they know they will face the consequence; but Taz is now sick because he was foolish enough to test the 'ash' (out of bravado and ignorance) before they released it. To make things worse, others who have been involved with spreading the virus are turning up dead and that doesn't bode well for John and Taz's future. John and Taz could help fill in the spaces and connect the dots; but they have family that they are certain McDowell will harm if they talk; so they walk that thin line allowing them to be convicted of the crime they committed in ignorance.
There is a far greater and more insidious plot below all of this that will put the human race at risk; as the only people who might be able to put things together are slowly and systematically removed from the playing field. As the responsibility slowly devolves upon John and Taz until they discern that they may be the Earths only hope, they are uncertain that they are up to the task especially when they've been handed over to the somewhat enigmatic Barath'na who have vowed to bring justice against the perpetrators.
This novel varies in its style of writing from Abendau's Heir and I suppose that might be something to do with editors and editing. And though there were some few glitches that suggest the possibility of author tinkering post-edit; they were not enough to distract from the intensity of the story. The pacing is somewhat less intense as regards the delving into darker areas, but is well paced overall to make this a rapid and satisfying read throughout. It's a well told and tightly plotted story that maintains a solid feel that lasts right to the very end.
Lovers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Suspense and Mystery should enjoy this one. And though the science is almost taking a back seat, it maintains a consistency necessary to carry the reader through. The story takes place in and around Belfast and contains some elements of colloquial speech that I found helped the story along and rarely demanded I stop to look things up, because the context usually clarified the meaning.
Read and enjoy.
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