As a semi-avid science fiction and Arthur C. Clarke fan, I was intrigue when... recommended the Venus Prime series (Volumes 1-4) to me. I had read other works written by Mr. Clarke when paired with other writers, (The Light of Other Days with Stephen Baxter, and the Rama series with Gentry Lee, both of which were excellent). Venus Prime, written exclusively by Paul Preuss, but based upon some earlier works by Mr. Clarke, at first glance didn't seem appealing, (probably due to the overly-comely and simplistic illustration of a young female space explorer on the cover), but my interest eventually grew as I read more editorial and customer reviews, (and as... computer kept recommending it to me based upon the product ratings I awarded to other science fiction novels I had read).
I eventually succumbed and ordered Volume 1. I read it over a weekend (and as I took my son to his piano lesson) -- and it was excellent! As I write this review, I'm now reading Volume 3, after having just finished Volume 2, each of which is as engaging as the first.
Venus Prime is an excellent science fiction novel -- and an excellent series -- taking place on the future Earth settlements of the Moon, Venus and Mars. The main character, Ellen Troy, is a young woman with a mysterious and forgotten past which, during each episode, she slowly attempts to uncover as she searches for her parents whom she suspects, from her shattered and brainswashed memory, may be dead. Through the scientific manipulation of her body when she was younger, she has been endowed with super-human intellect and para-normal physical capabilities, the latter of which enable her to interact directly with computers and their machinery (think the Bionic Woman from Intel and you'll be close) which she puts to good use solving mysteries -- and, in the process, saving a few lives -- in her duties as an inspector for the Board of Space Patrol. In her travels, she eventually stumbles across Blake Redfield, a young man also from her past, who slowly becomes her love interest.
For those familiar with other science fiction series, the big advantage of employing multiple novels to tell a saga is that it permits the writer to slowly reveal the larger mysteries -- while solving smaller mysteries in each episode. This format also allows for greater character development and in-depth storytelling regarding the future technologies and social structure of extraterrestrial Earth societies. All of these opportunities are well leveraged by Paul Preuss in Venus Prime.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fact-based novel that is a mixture of light mystery and science fiction built around an attractive heroine with innate (but modestly displayed) super-human perceptual and analytical abilities. The plotting of the work is very linear, which makes for easy reading, but the book's glimpse of the future is highly thought provoking and intriguing nonetheless.
Each book stands alone as an individual novel. And even though I haven't yet completed all of the episodes, I can assure you that the Venus Prime series is both highly engrossing and extremely satisfying. Enjoy!