Short review: A superbly entertaining science fiction novel with a fascinatingly complex and well thought out plot.
Okay, you need more than that to pay the price of admission, right? I don’t blame you!
The long review: The Flight of the Silvers, by Daniel Price (Amazon link) is the type of novel that all science fiction authors should aspire to write. According to the author notes, Mr. Price spent three years writing this marvelous story and it shows; oh gosh it shows itself in the intimately drawn characters, with all of their flaws, insecurities, strengths, and especially their personalities.
The Plot: Here’s another thing that’s wonderful about this book; I can reveal much of the plot without giving out spoilers. That’s not easy to do with the average (in every sense of the word) SF book I’ve reviewed.
Chapter one: Our universe comes to an end! Trust me, that’s not a plot spoiler — it’s the beginning of a harrowing ride for six protagonists who are “saved” by a trio of mysterious . . . humans (”quote–unquote”) and are transplanted into an alternate universe, an Earth mostly like our own but also different in many disturbing ways. In this new, alternate universe, a “split” from our own, the inhabitants have discovered time manipulation through technology. However, our six characters don’t need this technology because each of them have an innate, or genetically programmed ability to shape, or read, or alter, or communicate with, or predict the future. Thanks to mysterious benefactors, they wind-up in a laboratory where they are the subjects. That’s a gross simplification that doesn’t do justice to what Mr. Price has written. They’re aliens in an alien Earth. (Thank you, Mr. Heinlein!)
Six young individuals who are torn from OUR universe and wind-up in another, scary one where they are not welcomed and are hunted down by many who want to kill them. Through the course of the book, their variously specialized skills are slowly realized and developed.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there are a whole bunch of folks who would like to eliminate these intruders into their universe. You have the equivalent of (our) FBI regarding them as criminals and killers. You have a rogue (our universe) saved guy who is trapped in a time-loop and hates several of our story heroes and lives to hurt them. You have the mysterious “saviors” who help or hinder our gang-of-six. You have “tribes” in this alternate Earth with their own special powers, trying to kill them. You have someone who might be trying to help them, or might be the ultimate enemy. Man-O-man, they have almost everyone against them! Perfect plotting. Our friends from the original (our) world have more hurdles than horses in a steeplechase, maybe the highest one being themselves. They don’t get along that well with each other, or listen much to each others’ advice.
Flight of the Silvers is a wonderful accomplishment; great sci-fi with fabulous characters and a marvelously plotted story. Don’t “speed read” this book. Slow down and savor the whole story as you’ll benefit from carefully dropped clues. There are slow parts, where the characters interact with each other. That includes self-and other- hating, loving, introspective individuals trapped in an alterverse they don’t belong in, and illumination of their makeup. Other parts of this finely written story move along at break-neck pace. This is how great novels are supposed to be. Alternate universes, time travel and manipulation, paradoxes galore, and great story telling all in one large but fast moving tale.
This is a big book, satisfying in itself, but just the first part of a series. It ends at just the right place in that some momentary security for our six protagonists is reached. But, there is a whole lot more to come and I’m an impatient kind of guy. Please, Mr. Price, write the next chapter (book) swiftly and surely, because anyone who reads this first installment is (like me) anxiously going nuts to see what happens next in your alternate universes.
The Flight of the Silvers is a great read for any science-fiction fan, as well as anyone else who just enjoys a mind-expanding story.
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