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A large and varied universe filled with credible action,
This review is from: Hellhole (Paperback)
When General Tiber Adolphus fails in his rebellion against the corrupt Constellation, the interplanetary empire run by a select band of scheming nobles, he believes his days are numbered. But his opponent Diadem Michella Duschenet fears the creation of a martyr and instead seeks a subtler form of execution.
Exiling the General and his supporters to colonize the most desolate and inhospitable of the Deep Zone worlds is a certain death sentence: the planet is named Hallholme after the man who defeated Adolphus and is perfectly suited to finishing the job; the colonists are not expected to last a year. This is all covered in the short prologue, the rest centres on events ten years later.
The planet Hallholme has survived, much to the Diadem's displeasure, nicknamed Hellhole it is the Constellation's dumping ground for the unwanted, exiled and outcast. Survival is difficult, all Deep Zone worlds are expected to pay an exhaustive tribute to the Diadem to benefit the more prestigious 'Crown Jewel worlds' of the Constellation and Hellhole's climate throws constant deadly challenges at the settlers. Despite this, General Adolphus retains hope and as he slowly builds his world he also hatches other plans to permanently free his people from the Constellation.
With political intrigue, environmental hazards and the constant threat of discovery threatening his plans Adolphus is unprepared for an additional complication to come from the ground beneath his feet. Hellhole is the only known planet to have once supported alien life and when a chance discovery uncovers the planet's incredible secret the results threaten to change everything.
The narrative changes perspective throughout with different chapters presenting different perspectives. The reader is given an extensive tour of the various relevant worlds and characters from all walks of life. This allows for the effective telling on numerous interconnected plots which weave together as the story progresses.
If Hellhole has one weakness it is that it does not provide a conclusive ending, clearly written with a sequel in mind it allows several plot threads to just stop when it reaches the end. That said, I could not put it down and the appendices and glossary provided a comprehensive summary of the occasionally complex universe.