Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Book Impressions - Below Mercury by Mark Anson

Like many established genres science fiction comes in a variety of flavours (I may be getting confused with ice-cream!) and this book is firmly in the hard sci-fi camp, however don't let this put you off as it's also a cracking story. Reading it you can tell that the author has done his research and it all feels plausible, however knowledge alone doesn't make a good book.

The story concerns a terrible mining tragedy on the planet Mercury killing hundreds of people, the families claim that the investigation was a cover up by the corporation who owned the mine. After years of legal battles they manage to get the investigation re-opened and a team is sent to Mercury to find out what really happened.

It's an interesting story and the writer does a reasonably good job of balancing the technical details with the human side of the story. Occasionally he gets the balance wrong, but not enough to spoil the story. I had a couple of other issues with the book, the first was that I was hoping for something a little more surprising, although it is fitting with the tone of the story, I did feel it was a bit dry.

My other issue was that the ending felt abrupt, it does come to a satidfactory conclusion, but the last scene leaves it open for more, but is rather sudden. Still I enjoyed reading this a lot and is well worth checking out if you enjoy more serious science fiction and it's telling that I have immediately purchased the prequel to read more of the author's work.

Click on image to purchase from Amazon

KINDLE EXCLUSIVE second edition - includes bonus chapter and additional material.

Mercury – closest planet to the Sun. In the permanent darkness of Chao Meng-fu crater lie vast fields of ice that that have never seen the Sun, and the ruins of Erebus Mine, abandoned and forgotten after a devastating explosion that claimed the lives of 257 people. After an eight-year legal battle, the relatives of the victims have finally succeeded in forcing the Space Accidents Board to reopen its investigation. Matt Crawford, a mine engineer who escaped the disaster, joins a team sent back to the mine to discover the true cause of the accident. The team is led by Clare Foster, a pilot in the U.S. Astronautics Corps, who has taken on the mission in the hope of rebuilding her career after a near-miss incident.

But powerful forces are determined that what lies hidden in the mine will never be uncovered, and have taken steps to ensure that the mission team will never return. Stranded on Mercury, the team are divided by internal conflict, and a growing realisation of what really happened in the mine. Soon Matt and Clare are thrown together in a desperate race for survival against an implacable enemy that will not rest until it has killed them all …

This second Kindle edition includes updated background material on Mercury, an excerpt from the newly-released prequel Acid Sky, and a Kindle Exclusive bonus chapter. Featuring updated line drawings and maps, a highly detailed background story, and magnificent visions of the Sun's innermost planet, Below Mercury sets new standards for the science fiction thriller.

Click here to purchase Below Mercury from Amazon (and it is an excellent sci-fi read)

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