Just released by Smithcraft Press, The Cleansing (Earth Haven) Book One, by Sam Kates tells a familiar story of a deadly virus killing off nearly all of the 7-billion people on Earth. What distinguishes this story is that the disease was intentionally spread by a group of 5,000 aliens who look just like us and are living amongst us. They’ve been on Earth for 5,000 years, waiting for a sign from their home planet that the rest of their species would soon be arriving. Hence, the need to cleanse the Earth of humans so it can become the haven for the soon-to-arrive aliens.

There are other, important factors to this story concerning us humans, but in the interests of not spoiling the read for you, I’m going to withhold it. It doesn’t matter to the review itself.

I have, in other reviews, said that I don’t worry myself too much over the validity of the science, in a science fiction novel. I just try to enjoy the ride. I DO — however — require some logic to the story line. What rubs me wrong?

First, the aliens can, by communing, exert some mental control over us (humans) as long as there aren’t too many of us . . . which makes me wonder why they didn’t do that 5,000 years ago when the population of Earth was a tiny fraction of what it is today and there were twice as many aliens (apparently they don’t reproduce much). The estimated population at that time (3,000 BC) was 14 million. About the same as the number who have survived this plague (according to the aliens, who designed the disease to spare .02% of the population).

For that matter, given that they had the technology to travel to our world, why wouldn’t they (in 3,000 BC) simply migrate to, say, someplace where there were few if any humans? They could have had North America to themselves.

Secondly, the leader of the aliens continues to say that “we abhor violence” yet has no trouble giving the command to wipe out 7-billion people with a deadly disease.

Small points, I suppose! The Cleansing is well written and focuses on two surviving humans as well as one pacifist (traitor) alien who befriends them. That was another peculiarity; how out of 5,000 aliens who have interacted with us for 5,000-years (I TOLD YOU — they live a long time!) only one took a shining to us or at least generated enough sympathy for us not to do his part in spreading death.

There are other characters profiled, but none of them are likable. The story is grim and ends without a lot of hope for the .02 percent of humanity that survived the aliens’ disease.

Since this is “Book One,” you can rightly surmise that the story will continue and it will be interesting to see what direction the author has chosen. I’ll give this installment three-stars out of five.