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A Sword Into Darkness Paperback – August 16, 2013
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About the Author
Thomas A. Mays (Tom) is an 18-years-and-counting veteran of the US Navy, working as an officer in the surface fleet aboard destroyers and amphibious ships, as well as teaching and assisting with research into electromagnetic weapons and ballistic missile defense. He has two degrees in applied physics, but his passion is writing (he tries not to let what he actually knows get in the way of telling a good story). The author of several short stories in both print and online magazines, this is his first published novel. Tom usually lives wherever the Navy tells him to (currently North Carolina), making a home with his lovely wife, three beautiful kids, and an insane Hawaiian mutt. Tom's blog, The Improbable Author, can be found at: http://improbableauthor.com/
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Top customer reviews
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Set in the near future, one man recognizes a change in the color of the star Delta Pavonis for what it really is, the signature of an alien star drive heading for Earth. Unable to convince the government, he sets out to do what he can. The early parts of the novel deal with developing the technology that will enable the Earth to do something about it (being that there is a spaceship on the cover, I don't think I am giving away too much :)). From there things get interesting.
The space battles are tense, and to fans of pure military sci-fi, might go a bit quickly, but I don't believe the author ever intended them to be the center of the action. Rather they are necessary to moving the plot forward. Tension is built and sustained in other ways. All of this makes for an enjoyable novel. One of the better independent science fiction novels I have read in the last year or two. Definitely worth the relatively modest price. I will definitely be looking forward to the sequel and will probably re-read this in a year or two.
One of the gentlemen on the other side, I discovered, had penned an SF novel entitled A Sword Into Darkness. The ebook price was right, so I bought it and read it.
Overall, it's a pretty good book - I'd give it three stars. The action is engaging, the science is solid, and his invading aliens have unique motivations and modes of travel. (It's important to figure out why they are moving so slowly.)
But it's not a 4 or 5 star book.
Sword is in many ways old-fashioned. Chapter 1 is a temper tantrum thrown when a wealthy alt-space guy can't convince NASA with five (5) (five!!!!!) months of telescopic data that the aliens are coming. After five months, with dozens of telescopes and hundreds of astronomers looking, everybody would know the aliens are coming. Yet NASA somehow keeps the lid on the invasion for decades.
So, in Chapter 3, wealthy industrialist decides to invest his billions in developing and building the type of tech we'd need to defeat the invasion. This goes surprisingly smoothly, despite government interference (of course the government interferes - ignore the fact that they're paying SpaceX and others) and has few technical glitches. (It's only rocket science, after all.)
Oh, and there's a hijacking of a ship that I saw coming for a while. And the US Secretary of Defense has to be fired in order to put a stop to his obstructionism. (It's only an alien invasion.)
Now, despite all of this I did find the story entertaining. Also, the aliens were unique, so it's not all recycled material. But there's a lot of recycling going on. It was enjoyable, but cotton candy for the mind. It will not be on my Hugo list.