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Fathers and sons…
Friends and lovers…
Revenge and redemption…
It is the year 2218, ten years after alien invaders have devastated much of the world and left the survivors recovering from fear and destruction. James Poole, the son of a famous military hero, gets his chance to hunt down the aliens and avenge his father’s death at their hands. With Earth’s most sophisticated warship and a secret new living computer, he flies into space burning with revenge, a powerful enemy waiting just beyond. With hatred his fuel, will his revenge be sweet, or can he find a Cyclopean Rescue?
BILLY WALKER STROLLED out of Hardwickes Pipe and Tobacco with a box of expensive Cuban cigars and crossed the bricked street of Monument Circle. He glanced at his watch. His friend was late. The Great Indianapolis sky was crystal blue, and the early April air was mild and fresh. But it was too windy for him to feel warm. He wasn’t used to wind. There was no wind in space.
Billy walked to one of the buffalo-head fountains at the base of the 19th century Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial, which gave Monument Circle its name. He casually surveyed the tall, gleaming stone column and ornate statues of the monument. Workers hus-tled about the old edifice, putting up decorations for the impend-ing Hudson Bay Day. It was the worldwide holiday celebrated every April 14th, and this year’s observance promised to be spe-cial. It was the tenth anniversary of the great victory that had saved humanity. But he knew his friend would do no celebrating.
It was a Saturday, nearly noon, and most of the bankers, busi-nessmen, politicians and assorted elitists who populated Monument Circle during the week were nowhere to be seen. Probably, Billy mused, they had escaped the city for their estates along the Ohio River. But the Circle was still crowded with tourists and colorful street vendors. Children raced up and down the old Indiana lime-stone steps of the ancient monument, and the smell of foods cook-ing from vendor’s carts filled the air. For most of those around him, Billy imagined, it was an idyllic, even glorious day.
He reached out and rubbed the nose of the buffalo head, as water fell from the mouth of the old metal beast into a small basin. It was an old good luck gesture. All things considered, Billy fig-ured, he needed all the luck he could get.
He felt out of place. Billy and his tardy friend had been back on Earth just a week, and he wasn’t quite used to normal gravity yet. They’d spent the past six months in space near Pluto, test-piloting two new prototype fighters. Billy had loved every nano-second of this secret mission. He wished he were still in the cockpit of his ship, racing his friend through space. But the tests were over. Alas, he reflected, they could be stuck in Great Indianapolis most of the summer while their ships were modified.
That wasn’t all bad, he thought with a smile as he brushed back a strand of his dark hair. He could see Rowena.
Then, finally, he saw his friend, about a block away. James Clinton Poole walked with purpose down Market Street toward the Circle, with the ancient but still imposing State Capitol Build-ing behind him. James was an imposing figure too. The sun seemed to bounce lightly off his dark blonde hair, creating a hint of a halo. It was like a mystical sign that proclaimed that this was someone special, someone to be reckoned with. Billy watched him move through the crowded sidewalk effortlessly, confidently. People seemed to voluntarily get out of his way, as the Red Sea obediently parted for Moses. It was as if they sensed his presence and parted a path for him automatically.
And James certainly had presence. He was tall, with square shoulders, powerful arms, and an athletic quickness. His face had chisled, rugged features that were handsome, graced with a touch of warmth and humor behind his light baby-blue eyes. But of course his piece de resistance was his smile. Bold and friendly at the same time, his famous grin was the goal of the paparazzi and set the hearts of women around the world pounding with fantasy and de-sire. It was said to even be powerful against the most reluctant of minds and souls, as if even his opponents could not long withstand its mesmerizing and convincing powers. But James used his smile less and less, in public or in private, Billy thought with regret. It was as if the joy in his friend’s life was slowly draining away by the events of the last ten years, and the famous smile was too much ef-fort to achieve.
There's action aplenty in this future-Earth science fiction. Astrounauts Billy Walker and his friend James Clinton Poole become embroiled in political intrigue and threats on Earth and on an alien planet. It's a hard/soft SF combination as our protagonists travel through space and deal with a unique alien culture.
When Earth's deep space probes send information about the whereabouts of the Cyclopeans (who, ten years before, devastated Earth), Poole is motivated by revenge. Poole's father was killed in the fighting--fighting in which Earth forces drove away the aliens in a grand battle at Hudson Bay. James sets off in a prototype space vehicle TC-111 to find the Cyclopean home world and destroy as many of the creatures as he can.
His friend Billy Walker is left behind on Earth, impatiently awaiting the completion of the second of the new class of ships; he plans to go out as backup for his friend.
Earth politics push actions to desperate measures. Rowena Surguy--top news reporter--gets a tip about a secret space something called Redstone; she calls Billy to see if he knows about it. They are immediately in danger and it seems the only hope is to leave the planet and follow their friend James on his mission.
Womack has given a touch of the past by having both Walker and Poole as The Beatles fans. Lyrics are sparingly used, and Poole even carries his guitar with him into space. Womack has also added elements of introspection, especially with James Poole, who is so driven by revenge. Along with neatly placed (and not too long) flashbacks about Poole's childhood and his relationship with this father, the reader gets to see Poole mature. Redemptive elements make changes in James' outlook.
The intricate story is filled with action and accessory characters who add background and drama. Most notable are the Cyclopeans, (who are embroiled in their own mishmash of power politics), and LM--the live computer that runs James Poole's ship. Her (James christened it female) involvement in the thrilling finale of this story is unexpected and it creatively entices the reader to the next Womack book--a sequel--due out in 2006.
- Review by Arryn Heath, author of the Science-Fiction novel DAUGHTER OF THE STONE
Set in 2218, ten years after a horrific alien invasion, CYCLOPEAN RESCUE is a futuristic-science fiction novel that keeps readers turning the pages at a feverish pace to learn more about the hero’s quest for revenge in the name of family. James Poole’s motivations are strong and believable, and he never veers from his journey for the truth and to avenge his beloved father’s death. Despite the fact a decade has passed, the memory lives strong in James’s mind, and he is more determined than ever to find those responsible. His father was a war hero, and James proves he is made of the same honorable stuff on countless occasions. This poignant theme will resonate with readers and draw them deeper in Steven Womack’s enthralling story.
James, Billy, Rowena, LM and a splendid cast of secondary characters show depth in their fictional personas, and their emotions are palpable. Throughout their voyage, they slough off the fear pervading many scenes and remain steadfast in their personal and collective convictions. The magical imagery used in this novel, as well as references to the Beatles, will garner CYCLOPEAN RESCUE a vast readership and captivate readers of all ages. As well, setting details are well rendered.
Though this story is a futuristic one, the individual themes explored in the book’s pages are pertinent in today’s society. Reaching your destiny despite setbacks. Banishing fear of change and allowing for the resultant self-growth. Embracing the fact that facing the unknown often leads to an inner peace. Struggling with desertion/abandonment in the quest for a higher plain or more important goal.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 384
Paper Weight (lb): 16.0
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