The Firestorm Conspiracy is a science fiction novel by Cheryl Angst.
Fleet Commander John Thompson is on long term leave from the USEF and is pretty much just drifting through life until an old friend tracks him down and forces him to confront some very uncomfortable truths that he has been burying under a carefully constructed illusion of contentment.
Badgered into accepting a dangerous mission, he insists on maintaining his civilian persona, thinking his life of ships, space and fighting wars is over, never to return, but adjusting to life on board a warship proves more complicated than he imagined.
John even discovers he actually enjoys aspects of a journey he thought would be hell, when one of the main ship generators blows up and takes nine lives along with it including the captain and executive officer he must decide to either break every vow he made and take command of the ship or jeopardize the whole operation by allowing someone unqualified to take over.
One of the best things I liked about this book is the way the aliens are portrayed, here we have a race that while clearly bipedal are very different to ourselves and the way the author manages to really get inside the head of these creatures is great. The characterisation is also totally spot on, as long as you bear out the first few chapters that is. Once John becomes Captain both he and Rebbecca grow quickly into becoming very well thought out three dimensional people. It's great to see Rebecca grow as a person as the story is unveiled and we learn more about her, it's also good to see a strong female lead in a sci fi space drama as this happens too infrequently.
The Character of John is great, ex decorated hero who has built himself a protective bubble against the harsh pain of losing his family and is suddenly awakened to the fact that he was placing blame in the wrong areas and forgetting that which he enjoyed. Flashbacks are used to build his story and add depth to his character and these are kept short and sweet enough not to disrupt the pace.
The story itself is also very well constructed, we have the truce after long war which is under threat by a dangerous hidden group and seem to be manipulating events to meet their own ends. The plot is very well laid out, with snippets of information given out at just the right intervals and plenty of twists, turns, intrigue and conspiracy to keep your eyes really glued to the pages. The narrative is very well written and the action sequences brief but descriptive, keeping the pace moving at a very fast speed and allowing the prose to flow by.
The Firestorm Conspiracy is a very strong opening episode into what I hope will be a long and rewarding series, creatively written with plenty of drama and a breakneck pace, recommended.
Written on Tuesday 3rd May 2011 by Antony Jones.
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