Title: Heaven's Shadow
Author: David Goyer and Michael Cassutt
Publisher: Tor UK
Release Date: July 2011
Now, I know that you will have already seen one review of this book so I will not bore you by giving a précis of the story again, I’ll just go straight into what I thought of this book.Heaven’s Shadow begins with the discovery of an object of unknown origin headed toward Earth. Speculation as to what it might be runs high, and leads to an international competition to be the first to land on it, to claim both the prestige and whatever other benefits there might be. Thus, two rival teams of astronauts begin a thrilling and dangerous race – but what they find when they reach their goal will turn out to be unlike anything they could have imagined . . .
What they have landed on is no asteroid but a spacecraft from a civilization that has travelled tens of thousands of years to reach earth. While the team try to work out what it is they are needed for, more sinister occurrences cause them to wonder if their involvement with this alien race will lead to anything but harm for humanity.
Firstly, I though t that it was a damned good read. Easy to read, flowing story that I was keen to keep reading until the end. And was quite disappointed when it finished. It did give the impression of a screenplay, in the construction of the story and maybe it is the heritage of the authors showing through. I think that the characters lacked a little depth, but if there is a follow up they might develop more, now that they have been thinned out a bit.
Possibly because I am of an older generation than Mark or Steve and have read more stories of this type but I can see plenty of influences of Arthur C Clarke here. I can remember reading Rendezvous With Rama for the first time and then the sequels. Seeing the stories develop in strength and depth. I can also see a bit of Greg Bear and The Forge of God here as well. It seems that everytime we meet an alien they either want to fight us or have us fight for them. Wouldn’t it be nice if, just for once, the alien came to planet Earth and said “We come in peace” and actually mean it. Bit of a boring story, though. Alien sits on the sofa with Earthman and they all watch the telly and live happily ever after.
It is always nice to see the paranoia that develops when rival agencies are trying to achieve the same goals, the foundation of many a good science fiction story.
So there you have it. A good story, well written. But could have been better. The sort of thing that I would read next month when I am sat on a Spanish beach.
About Andy Venn
I'm Andy Venn, aka Giant68 due to being 6'8" tall. I have been reading science fiction for 35 years since picking up the Lensman series. And fantasy since I pinched "Lost Worlds" by Clarke Ashton Smith from my uncle. I read both in, pretty much, equal measures. I write a blog occasionally, containing the whimsical, or bad tempered, meanderings of my mind at http://giant68.blogspot.com. Go and have a look, you'll find out all about me, and Lord knows I need the followers! Or email me at email@example.com.