This novel starts innocently enough in the year 2027 as Kantak Johnson, an Inupiat from Alaska, strolls through the campus of MIT, days away from graduation. But that's where the innocence of the scene ends in this original, apocalyptic war-thriller by debut author Glen E. Books.
Johnson and a classmate have made a startling discovery that will have a dramatic effect on the Embargo War, a war that pits the Western Alliance against the Mid-Asian Consortium. Using his friend's senior project of carbon fiber doped in silicon, Johnson realizes that his friend's formulated fibers completely absorb microwaves. "Coat them on a stealth plane and they will prevent radar detection." The development, Johnson realizes, will give the Western Alliance a huge advantage in their war against the Mid-Asian Consortium.
What follows in the novel is to be expected in this genre. The Mid-Asian Consortium, through their spy network, manage to get their hands on this new technology as Johnson enters the Air Force as a fighter pilot. When an international incident pushes the two sides to the brink of war, an unfortunate and tragic decision by the US President triggers an all-out attack. Johnson is assigned to Alaska, where he meets up with a long lost girlfriend. There, he realizes to his delight, the girl he has always loved had given birth to his child while he'd been attending MIT. The reason she never told him? She didn't want to ruin his career.
Books has penned a tight, lightning quick techno-thriller in his first outing. He effortlessly weaves dense technological and scientific information into the plot of the story without losing the reader's interest. The writing is spare and economic, and at no time does this author stray far from his well-thought out plot. The political posturing between the two hostile sides is handled with deft and much skill in the capable hands of Books. By the time the war is waged, we have fully bought into the tragic sequence of events that have led to this apocalyptic crisis.
This is Books debut novel, or should I say novella, and it is fine start. The only criticism I had of The Sky Between Two Worlds is that I wished the characters had been further expanded upon. While I enjoyed reading about each one, I think had he fleshed-out the sections about his main characters and made the book longer, this would have pushed this book over the top. Knowing this is his first novel, I fully expect Books to only improve his craft with future works.
The Sky Between Two Worlds is a first-rate techno-thriller, sci-fi novella that should be read by all fans of this genre. Books, who has an impressive science and academic resume, is an author readers should keep an eye on.