No, I am not a shill, relative, or in any way acquainted with the author. This is an honest review from someone that's actually read the book.
There is a lot of indie junk floating around pretending to be decent reading ever since virtually anyone that wants to can publish themselves for the Kindle and try to make a buck. I've read some truly atrocious drek in the past couple of years. So why do I keep reading the cheapo indie publications? Well, first because despite the fact that it costs almost nothing to produce an ebook, old-school publishers still think they're doing us a favor by selling books that have been around for decades at the Kindle "bargain price" of $10 - $15. This truly ticks me off. Why should I pay more for an electronic copy of "The Stand" than the original hard-cover copy cost me when I bought it in the 1970's? I don't practice greed and I refuse to encourage those that do. Call it a pet peeve but it's the exact same reason I refuse to cough up over $150 to buy 3 seasons of an almost 50-year old Star Trek from Paramount. Between syndication, VHS, cable and international sales, merchandising profits, DVD, and Lord only knows what else, haven't they made enough that they could be a bit more reasonable with the Blu-Ray releases? Of course they can.
Just give me a second to step down from my soapbox. Sorry...
Anyway, the second reason I read indie authors is because every once in a while I run across a Hugh Howey (Wool) or an Anthony Bellaleigh (Firebird) or Ian Robb White (ASBO, Sam, et al) and discover a truly gifted writer. When that happens I get all kinds of excited. Well, add Raymond L Weil to the list. Add him pretty close to the top, too!. I started out by reading the three short novellas that set up the Slaver Wars. At the conclusion, a trilogy of full-length novels was promised. Luckily for me, I finished up the trilogy the day after "Alien Contact" was released. I knew the author had a couple of other series in progress, but I didn't want to pick them up until I saw what he could do with a full-sized continuation of the fascinating premise presented in the first "Slaver Wars" novellas.
Wow. No joke. Wow. I tore through the book in just over a day. Then I went back and read it again, intending to take my time and savor it slowly as the story unfolded. Not a chance. I ripped through the second read in less time than it took to read it the first time. Good science fiction is horribly rare unless you go back to the Golden Age authors like Asimov, Clarke, and so forth. This book stands with the absolute best galactic sci-fi I have ever read. No spoilers here, just praise for an author that seems to be getting better each time he sits down at the keys. As soon as I'm done with this review I'll be lining Mr. Weil's pocket a bit more by purchasing his other available titles. I don't know how much better this guy can get, but if "Alien Contact" is his peak and everything else he writes in the future is only "somewhat as good" he'll still merely be the best sci-fi writer I've read in decades. I'm nearing the age of 60 and grew up reading what are remembered as the all-time greats. Multiple Hugo and Nebula award winners line my bookshelves. If Mr. Weil doesn't get a Hugo nod for this book I will be absolutely stunned.
Yeah, it's that good. This is one that would be worthy of a price tag at least double what he's asking. Buy it quickly before he comes to his senses!