I remember when Gavin Smith’s debut novel, Veteran, hit the shelves, and with it came this confident and action-orientated voice that was much fun to read. For reasons that escape me, I never did get around to its sequel, War in Heaven, and while I did try Age of Scorpio, I just couldn’t quite get into it. However, Smith’s latest novel, The Hangman’s Daughter (the first book in theBastard Legion series) jumped out at me the moment I heard about it. Military SF with a twist and some very interesting characters to go along with a plot that begged to be read – this book has pretty much everything I could ask for. And it delivered the goods too…
The publisher touts The Hangman’s Daughter as one for lovers of Suicide Squad and Aliens, both of which ring true as the pages turn, and due to this it will appeal to many readers looking for that bit of SF action, while delivering more than is apparent at first glance. Some great worldbuilding, a varied cast of characters, and a take-no-nonsense anti-heroine make this a novel that is well worth checking out. Recommended.
Three hundred years in our future, in a world of alien infiltrators, religious hackers, a vast convoying nation of Nomads, city sized orbital elevators, and a cyborg pirate king who believes himself to be a mythological demon Jakob is having a bad day:
“Nothing gets in the way of a hangover like being reactivated by your old C.O and told to track down an alien killing machine. The same kind of killing machine that wiped out my entire squad. And now it’s in my hometown.
My name is Jakob Douglas, ex-special forces. I fought Them. Just like we’ve all been doing for 60 bloody years. But I thought my part in that was done with.
My boss has other ideas. If I didn’t find the infiltrator then he’d let the Grey Lady loose on me. And believe me; even They’ve got nothing on her. So I took the job. It went to shit even faster than normal.
And now I’m on the run with this teenage hacker who’s had enough of prostitution. The only people I can rely on want to turn the internet into God. And now it turns out that They aren’t quite what we’d all thought. I’ve been to the bottom of the sea and the top of the sky and beyond trying to get to the truth.
And I still can’t get far enough away from the Grey Lady.
All things considered I’d rather be back at home deep in a whiskey bottle.”
Veteran is a fast paced, intricately plotted violent SF Thriller set in a dark future against the backdrop of a seemingly never ending war against an unknowable and implacable alien enemy.
A powerhouse SF debut – a jawdroppingly vivid hell-on-earth future, a brutal war against unknowable aliens and Jake – a harder than all the rest anti-hero its impossible not to love. Continue reading “Veteran by Gavin Smith”