Friday, January 13, 2012

Edi's Spotlight: Gabriel's Redemption by Steve Umstead

Introduction

The year is still young and so far I finished only one book. And today you get my review of the first book in the Evan Gabriel Trilogy. I have to say thank you to author Steve Umstead who sent me an electronic copy of Gabriel's Redemption (available in paperback [ISBN-13: 978-0765329561] and also for all major e-reader platforms). Before I go into details let me emphasize that it was me who asked him for a reviewer copy!
And before I forget the Evan Gabriel Trilogy is a science fiction series.


Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store.
The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:

Gabriel's Redemption by Steve Umstead
is available in paperback [ISBN-13: 978-0765329561] and also for all major e-reader platforms. Please visit Steve Umstead's site for details.

"Can a disgraced Special Forces soldier find redemption, and will redemption cost him more than just his own life?
North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel was dishonorably discharged after losing his covert team on a far off world called Eden. Now, he’s being offered an opportunity to command a new team, on a new world, with a new mission, but the true motives behind the mission are unclear.
From the decaying Caribbean to politically-charged South America, from the slums of Mars to a tiny colony on a planet six hundred light years from Earth, Gabriel’s Redemption follows the disgraced Commander Gabriel as he leads a Special Forces team to an ice-bound world. Their given mission: to eradicate a drug cartel that is producing a highly-addictive stimulant brutally extracted from the bodies of the native inhabitants. Upon arriving, Gabriel and his team find the mission isn’t exactly what it appeared to be, and that they weren’t the only force dispatched to the planet." [Source]

My Expectations
My expectations have been nebulous. There was something in the blurb which forced my wanting to read the book. It was something like a gut decision. And mostly I'm happy with the result when I follow my gut.

Theme
Gabriel's Redemption is a near-future military science fiction story of a personal journey seen from the perspective of a soldier who has lost everything; one who desperately needs to redeem himself not only in his government’s eyes, but also his own. Interstellar action and political intrigue mixed with one-on-one battles on the surface of a frozen planet in this exciting tale of salvation.
Not to forget the recurring questions of responsibility, honor and humanity.


Setting

The setting is definitely one of the highlights for me. Steve Umstead delivers a sometimes appalling but always believable description of the near future. The timeline at the end of the book is very helpful. It is incredible to see that with a few sentences the reader can imagine a fully developed world. I also appreciated that it is possible to reach other worlds by using wormholes but that the final approach still takes time. The distance between our world and Steve Umstead's Earth is nearly nothing compared to Star Trek.


Plot and Character(s)

Gabriel's Redemption does not accelerate as a Ferrari. It gave me time to get comfortable with the world the characters and the style of the author. Without the blurb you would not have a clou in which direction the the story will develop. I like that because it gives me the opportunity to speculate. I found it refreshing and promising at the same time that the reader only gets hints about the terrible event on Planet Eden. You know something worse happened. It is a deep impact on Gabriel's life, his actions and opinions.
I also liked the unobtrusive depiction of the inhabitants of Poliahu. There is more behind them as you can see at first sight. The reader seems to know the "good" and the "bad" guys from the beginning. But there are more janus-faced persons as you assume.


Style

Even in fast paced action scenes Steve Umstead takes his time to deliver details and that does not interrupt the flow of the story.
Most of the time the writing is rich and let you forget that you are reading a book. It sounds more like a good friend tells you an amazing story. But there are parts where I felt ripped out of the story. That was the case when it got too technical. I do not mind to read technical explanations as long as I'm able to imagine what I read.


The Inevitable

What shall I say. A well done science fiction debut and a good start into a new series. My only complaint is that some parts of the story have been too technical for me. I do not want to understand every single detail but it must be possible for me to imagine what I read.

You like to read science fiction with
- a great and convincing back story,
- well done action scenes,
- a main character who does not reveal everything from his past
- a believable story with twists and turns and without a cliffhanger
then you should give Gabriel's Redemption a try and then you will end like me:
Hungry to get more information about Gabriel and his world.

I look forward to read Gabriel's Return and Gabriel's Revenge.

4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad it's a good book! I already have it downloaded on my iPad, waiting in line.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Edi, I have just been catching up on posts. So many great books to read.. more great reviews and a guest blogger...
Thanks for all the info. Hope your Italian holiday goes well.
I must say I too love Historic Fiction. How else can we enjoy learning history other than from a good fiction author.

ediFanoB said...

Alex,
I hope you will like it too.

Anyway I was happy that I could finish the review before I fell asleep :-)

ediFanoB said...

Rosalie,

at lot is possible when I have a few days off.

My trip to Rome includes a three day meeting from Wednesday to Friday and one and a half day to discover Rome on our own (Saturday and Sunday).

Historical fiction is awesome and it is indeed a great way to learn history.

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