06 September 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Starhold (Starhold Series Book 1) by J. Alan Field

StarholdStarhold (Starhold Series Book 1)
by J. Alan Field
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Human civilization has fled to the stars, abandoning a poisoned and deserted planet Earth. Now, hundreds of years later, there is an accidental and shocking discovery: not only has Earth’s environment been completely restored, but someone (or something) has taken up residence on humanity’s ancient homeworld. At the same time, unidentified warships begin attacking human outposts. Are these events connected?

To meet the threat, the Sarissan Union dispatches agents Frank Carr and Etta Sanchez to discover the identity of Earth’s new residents. The pair have to work fast however, because following close behind them is a Sarissan war fleet, whose actions will depend on what Carr and Sanchez uncover. Will First Contact be followed by peace or war? Meanwhile, political intrigue in the Sarissan capital threatens to rip the Union apart before Carr and Sanchez even complete their mission. The future of not only Sarissa and Earth, but of all humanity hangs in the balance.

This novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story, but is also the first book in an upcoming space-opera series. Space battles, spies, political intrigue, and surprises abound in Starhold. 

I really like this modern self publishing scene and this fun indie sci-fi novel typifies, to me, what is good about indie books and authors. It had me hooked right from the start. The book tells the story of humanity that has spread out into neighbouring star systems and has formed a number of small political groups of planets called "Starholds". Upon this background it is discovered that their deserted and forgotten homeworld Earth (which is quarantined and effectively off-limits) is now playing host to someone or something after being left abandoned for centuries. What ensues is an enjoyable yarn about the mission to discover what us happening on Earth while also building the background scene of the Starholds and their political landscapes. The book is surprisingly well written, and there's really nothing to complain about, typographical errors typical of self-published books are almost non-existent and the language used is excellent. The world building is good, the characters are interesting and well formed and there is plenty of action to keep the story moving along at a nice pace. Overall this book is very good and looks like it's going to be part of a longer saga. Well done J. Alan Field, you have produced a nice work of science fiction here and I wish you much success. I will be watching with interest.

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