Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Review: Burning Skies by David J. Williams

Burning Skies by David J. Williams
Spectra / Ballantine trade pb 401pp

The first thing I should say about Burning Skies is that it is part two of a trilogy. I honestly didn't know that until I read the author page at the back. The book has been written to accommodate those readers that didn't get the first episode. I can't say that it is rife with flashbacks as you would expect. Burning Skies stands on it's own very well indeed.

The next thing I have to say is that Burning Skies is almost impossible to lay down! Why? Because it quite literally is crammed with non stop action! Just as the speed of the tale slows a bit, Williams shifts perspective and point of view and the reader is off once more at frenetic speed.

The novel is filled with political intrigue, military maneuvering, absolutely stunning rolling gun battles and there is still time for some dialogue! You would think with all this action that one would be left with cardboard cut out characters, and though they might not be “complete” (and there may very well be a reason for that....) Williams has done a credible job of rounding out the players.

If you go by the book cover you would almost expect that it's all a “one person show” when in fact this mysterious player Haskell seems to be playing from the shadows, in truth most of the perspective is from ground pounders though there are hints early on that they may be more to several of them than we are lead to believe early on.

The plot is easy enough to get a grip on. An insurgent / terrorist group called Autumn Rain wants to put mankind under their control. To that end they have disrupted or destroyed the net and assassination of the president. From there they work on the destruction of the Europa Platform. Huge asteroid based habitats.

How Williams keeps all the players and action under control is a mystery to me, but he does it and the hat trick produced from all this plate spinning is The Burning Skies. This isn't a space opera and neither is it a take of introspection. But don't think you have this book figured out in the first hundred or so pages. Williams plays some cards very close. So close in fact that I have had to revisit sections of the tale for those “oh yeah! Ok, I see it now” moments.

I honestly think that if I can say running gun battles and your pulse goes up, that you will enjoy this book. Or political intrigue played by a master gets you will enjoy the book. There are no larger than life people here, just a bunch of people that honestly believe in what they are doing...even if what they are doing or believe in was someone else's invention.... Check it won't be disappointed.

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