Monday, 17 September 2007

CSFF Tour: THE RETURN by Austin Boyd

This book was almost impossible to put down, which certainly made it easy to get through at high speed – which was good, since I got it just last weekend and hurried to read it in time for the blog tour. At first I was skeptical of “just another astronaut story”, but this one is anything but.

A far-reaching tale of bravery versus deception – story strands run through Earth and Mars, looking through the eyes of various characters scene by scene. We are plunged straight into the action, and although this is the third book in the series, it didn’t bother me at all that I haven’t read the first two – this one is complete in itself, and contains snippets of backstory as the characters remember prior events.

Admiral John Wells and his team are hard at work on the Mars base, and he is dealing with the loss of his family six years previously. The discovery of a mysterious second Mars base and its connections to a fertility cult are enough to occupy the NASA astronauts’ attention. Meanwhile, that cult’s leader on Earth is gearing up to fulfill his twisted dreams, spoken to him by a bodiless voice – and the fate of hundreds of teenage girls is in the balance.

This is not your usual astronaut story. It’s filled to bursting with unusual happenings and peculiar inventions – such as a tooth transmitter, an interactive virtual copy of a dead man, an alien hoax, messages in garden patterns, surprise appearances, fresh vegetables and a wagon train on Mars, and an international chase back on Earth. The topic of clones is also very well handled, showing that each is an individual soul even though their bodies are identical.

It’s a space tale with real warmth, humanity, and spirituality. Unlike the Apollo 13 brand of story that depicts space as empty and brutal, Mars is described as a good place to be, and the people living there change and grow through the pages just like the people on Earth. Occasionally you’ll need a fairly big stretch of the imagination to accept the outcome of particular situations, but that’s only a minor niggle and for me, made the whole ride a lot more fun with its unexpected twists and hitherto hidden opportunities. Yes, this story is about space exploration, but first and foremost it’s about people, about hope, and about the ultimate victory of good over evil. Expect the unexpected!

Take a closer look at the book's Amazon page here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/157683946X

Other participants on this tour: Trish Anderson Brandon Barr Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer Karri Compton Lisa Cromwell CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Janey DeMeo Merrie Destefano or Alien Dream Jeff Draper April Erwin Linda Gilmore Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Christopher Hopper Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Kait Karen Dawn King Tina Kulesa Rachel Marks Karen McSpadden Rebecca LuElla Miller Eve Nielsen John W. Otte Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Chawna Schroeder Mirtika Schultz James Somers Steve Trower Speculative Faith Laura Williams Timothy Wise

And by the way... Today, my first-ever author interview has been published! You can check it out here: Lena Nelson Dooley's Blog - anyone leaving a comment there will be in to win a free copy of my book.
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