- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 902 KB
- Print Length: 496 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Inspired Quill (25 July 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00M4Y88NQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #619,802 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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We Bleed The Same (The Anjelican Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I would have prefered to see a little more detail of the setting of the universe, but this remains a well paced and exciting novel. Think "The 39 Steps" in space, and you'll not be far wrong.
I just have one question, when is the next book coming out?
Danny finds himself in the hands of an organisation he always believed were terrorists. They want his help to expose the evil his empire has committed, but are they any better?
What I like about this book is it’s not always straight-forward in its morality. You have a lot of people who all believe that they’re doing the right thing. There’s the frequent repetition of the justification that ‘it is necessary’ as people do things that are morally dubious in the name of helping others. It’s not a simple matter of good heroes verses the evil empire, but people just trying to live their lives and the people in power having to choose between the lesser of two evils. It feels as difficult as real life.
The story is told from the perspective of Danny, but there are a lot of other characters out there who help create this rich tapestry of a world. They are interesting and varied, with their own motives and justifications. They feel like real people, sometimes doing things that are noble, sometimes being petty or selfish, sometimes making mistakes and sometimes attempting atonement. It all adds to this feeling of plausibility.
The other thing going for it in terms of plausibility is the science. The author is a physicist and he's clearly put in a lot of thought about the science involved, such as how the ships manage artificial gravity and how their shields work. These details are worked into the narrative but never bog it down. The book never stops the plot to give a science lecture, but still manages to give an impression of a world that works.
All in all, I very much recommend this book. It explores interesting ideas about politics, but at the same time tells a very human story about a man trying to do the right thing.
(I've also posted this review on my blog)
It is in the early chapters when Danny adjusts to life as a 'puniserve' (or 'puny')and a 'noob' (newbie) aboard a battleship that the energy of the novel really picked up for me. Danny is a prisoner working off his time but this former bureaucrat makes friendships and learns to negotiate his way round the ship's pathways as well as the social dynamics. Wilkinson is brilliant at evoking the atmosphere of a group of men on a long-haul mission. The dialogue crackles with slang and sarcasm. Danny works as a 'beaner' or combat-messenger, so-called because while 'most of us are safely strapped into our chairs at combat stations … you get to rattle around like a bean in an empty can.' On board a whole cast of complex, vivid characters jostle for our attention and sympathies as they bicker and compete in the closed hierarchy of a battleship squadron. There is humour and plenty of sub-plots to thicken the intrigue. It reminded me of the gritty naturalism of the re-incarnated BattlestarGalactica TV series. You can hear the creaking of those metal bulwarks and smell the stale air of their sleeping quarters. And like that TV series, David Wilkinson also does peril and bloody battle scenes with great conviction.
So why didn't the opening chapters work so well for me? I did feel the protagonist's first moral crisis was rather rushed and I likewise found the figure of his La Marque girlfriend Sandie rather flat and perfunctory – it didn't feel as if he was losing much by being torn away from her and his home-world. Perhaps I might have thought Wilkinson was less confident in his female characters till we got to his hero's stint on the Federation ship where he encounters a number of compelling women with fascinating back-stories. A major, an interrogator, a 'bunkie' – they each challenge and change Danny in different ways. I was impressed that this 2nd act of the novel opens a whole new world that is just as vividly realised and engaging as the Empire ship. And the moral compass Danny thought he had held onto now starts twitching in wholly different directions as his 'captors' persuade him to take sides with the Federation. The mission to Ijjalion will clinch it. But while Danny keeps searching out who to trust, the author is probing the humanity, messy and vulnerable as it is, of each of his characters.
The character arc of Danny is certainly satisfying as he develops from a rather shallow Governor's assistant to a critical, questioning man of action at the front-line of two competing empires. However I think the author could trust his readers more to reach these conclusions and judge the hero for ourselves. Quite frequently, other characters step in to pronounce on David's moral fibre in case we've missed the point: 'You had it all and made a stand. And then every-time you came to a crisis, you've chosen what you think is the morally right path …' The plotting is ambitious in scale as the action moves through four different planets or ships, each bringing further revelations and tests of loyalty for Danny. If the section on the world of Engalise seems to digress somewhat, it is clearly laying the groundwork of interplanetary histories and divergent cultures that will sustain multiple narratives of 'the Angelican saga' to come. (Unsurprisingly, on the publisher's author page Wilkinson lists Isaac Asimov with his masterly 'Foundation Trilogy' as an early influence.) So a word to the editors at Inspired Quill Publishing – I'd have loved a glossary for some of this that I could refer back to. But the pace picks up as Danny and his new Federation comrades head 'home' to La Marque for a show-down. A very well-executed invasion scene, lots of twists and reversals, jet fire and sonic booms and a cavalry of horses all bring the rollicking adventure to a shocking and suitably thoughtful conclusion.
In the parlance of the novel, this writer is a 'noob' but certainly no 'puny'. The writing grows and matures much as its hero does. It finds its stride some way in and goes on to earn its place in the stellar fleet of spaceship sagas that thicken the skies of our sci-fi universe. The intricacy of its world building, the dark themes of political conspiracy and state repression, the heartfelt conflicts of its characters are all sure to bring readers back. I can only hope the sequel will excavate more of the history of these feuding galactic empires, as well as their hard-fought futures. All in all, it was a well-crafted and enjoyable debut from Wilkinson and when Danny dusts himself down, he surely has plenty more to deliver as the hero of an unfolding epic. If you like your science-fiction intelligent and intense, this is one saga to follow.
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