When a scientist is murdered after finding signs of alien magic in an archeological dig, Mage Damien Montgomery, Hand of the Mage-King of Mars, is sent to investigate both the murder and the alien runes.
His investigation is interrupted when a mysterious ship attacks the ruins with weapons only available to the Martian Navy. Despite saving the dig site, Montgomery is left with more questions than answers.
His investigations reveal questions about the origin of his magic and his nation - and lead him back to the one place that should be safe: the court of the Mage-King of Mars.
©2016 Glynn Stewart (P)2016 Tantor
Glynn mixed the characters up in this book which made the novel less predictable and more interesting. The introduction of several new first tier characters also improved the story; although, the new teenager seemed more like a literary device created merely to assist in his subterfuge rather than any other meaningful role, at least as far as this book used her.
The narration is still very good, however, I'm still not pleased with the tone and inflection of Damien's voice making him sound too self-important, all the time.
Even so, a nice addition to the series.
The 4th book in the series has shown that the lead character is maturing and now making the tough decisions, which he would probably not make earlier in his career as the Hand of the Mage King of Mars. For those who are considering buying this audio book, I do highly recommend it, although it might confuse you a little as it isn't the normal magic and sci-fi story one would imagine it to be. It does require a bit of a mental adjustment if you are a pure fantasy or sci-fi fan but you do get into the plot and enjoy the ride. Hope you find this book and its first 3 books enjoyable.
I've been having loads of fun with this series. very original concepts, good prose, solid characters. That said, and I'll try to do this without spoilers, our protagonists spend much of this book suffering from a sudden case of plot-induced stupid.
Damien does have an endearing knack for finding problems by obliviously whacking his sad little face into the sticky bits, and yes, it's entertaining to see him creatively wizard everything into submission (or pieces) once he catches on, but I thought he'd picked up at least a little guile in his last few years. He issues several of his trademark ultimatums here, where he might have otherwise employed his wits and knowledge to make threats that would use the opponent's priorities to make compliance, negotiation, or further explanation of the opponents' opinion more attractive than the course they did choose. Our protagonists seriously need to quit reacting sometimes, and try to proactively screw with opponents' ye olde OODA loops.
I love a good conspiracy, but some of the secret plots and criminal organizations in this universe are just getting unreasonably competent for their size. Their funding and motives are plausible, but the scale of the things kept secret over this book and the last seem to imply a future that lacks Snowdens and Clintons. (Too soon?)
This is, nevertheless, absolutely worth a read, and the Starship Mageoverse continues to develop in interesting directions without a hint of staleness.
I'm not one for conspiracy stories, especially if they don't conclude. This series started off well and had a great premise, but books 3 and 4 have left me wanting something else. We started off with a young student who didn't realize the powers he had. In the second book he grew into his new role as a "Hand of Mars". These books are relatively short and I can't help feeling like we're in for a 9 or 12 book series that should have been a trilogy.
It feels like the author is bouncing around trying out ideas that don't quite work, then maybe finds some new science or power to explain it away, if we're lucky. The spaceship battles make no sense for the most part. In this book a ship apparently tracked another, but they don't explain it even though it was a big deal when one character could do that in an earlier book and that character was absent in this one. We are in a universe where mages can jump instantly up to a light year in space, yet it's not explained why they don't do that when their ship is about to be destroyed. In the first book the counting and capability of the jump mages was a big deal, now we're not told anything about it. Now we have the possibility of aliens that are completely absent and a conspiracy that is half-uprooted.
We have zero information about WHY there is a conspiracy. It's alluded to that if the main character only knew why they did what they did he would be on their side. Yet they seem to want him to forfeit his allegiance and side with people committing mass murder in secret before they will tell him? So we're left knowing nothing about why anything happened in this book, leaving the characters' actions meaningless.
I'm somewhat interested in what the author chooses to conclude this series, if he ever does, but I probably won't be spending another credit unless there is just one more book and it has some answers.
I've enjoyed this series, however each novel has been a complete story in itself. This book ends in the middle of the story. Since this book is relatively short it could have easily included the entire story. That's disappointing. otherwise I enjoyed the book.
One minor quibble I had was the author's tendency to fixate on one word and use it several times in a sentence or two.That's something that I probably wouldn't have noticed reading, but was very obvious when listening.
The narrator read in a kind of radio announcer's voice, which didn't really fit the character's personally.
This series is so exciting. Hand of Mars, Damian Montgomery is loyal and is so dynamic. He is serve his king valiantly and does what he need to do with faltering. The action is so good, it kept me glued to the audiobook till the end. I hope there will be a continuation to the series as it would be interesting to see what will happen to Damian. Will he be pardoned for doing his duty to his king? I hope book 5 will come out ASAP.
loved them all so far...can't wait for the next installment...very cleverly conceived plot....it's not just all power magic...he uses his brain as well to solve problems.
"Please change the narrator!"
Once again a book is ruined by Jeffrey Kafer. Differentiating between characters is impossible based on voice - he uses the same one for everyone, even the women - and his downward infection on the final word of each sentence drives me mad. He is, without a doubt, the worst narrator around and having already made me give up listening to anything by C.T. Phipps, I'm close to doing the same with Glynn Stewart's books too.
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