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“Far From Home”


Far From Home

Here’s another kind of short book by one of my favorite authors. Mr. Walker had for years seemed to write books that had one central theme, one mission, one story-thread and he followed those through to the end. Not so lately. This book has at least three story threads that have to be figured out until they kind of converge towards the end.

Our main character, I think, is Seth Levy, a human, is really, really having a bad, bad day. Then he gets abducted from Earth by an alien starship ran by the Guild. Apparently, the Guild kidnaps humans for some kind of zoo they set up on worlds who like that sort of thing and can pay the price. The Guild is the commerce organization of the greater galaxy. The control almost all trading of goods and services throughout the galaxy. If you want something or need something done, you have to go through a Guild of one distinction or another. Of course, Seth doesn’t know any of this. He’s just been in a car accident and expected to wake up in a hospital or worse case along side the road near his mangled car. Instead he wakes up shackled to a bench in the hold of a Guild starship along with a bunch of other “people”. Little does he know his impossible journey is just beginning.

There are a few other people you’ll read about. Albon Shaw is a rebel against the Olarin Empire. The Guild does a lot of questionable things in the name of business, but the Olarin Empire does a lot of bad things just because they can. They rule with an iron fist, hammer, sledge hammer, or whatever it takes to know you down. They don’t have a problem conducting genocide against and entire planet that attempted to revolt. Albon Shaw and his rebel partner have just raided an Olarin Intelligence outpost that was supposed to destroy some very incriminating evidence of this atrocity. Albon got the information disk but in his attempt to get away, his partner was killed. So, he’s now on his own in what was his partners spaceship headed for what he hopes is a rebel contact so he can turn over the evidence he has acquired.

Now, back to Seth Levy. He awakes in the Guild starship and finds one other person also awake who is Nitha. She is also a rebel who was captured by the Guild because she had a bounty on her head. Apparently, she’s been in similar situations since she helps Seth free the both of them from their chains although they have no way of reaching the hatch high above their heads. So, they really don’t know what to do until that is answered for them when their ship begins to dive towards a strange planet. It’s not a pleasant dive either. They are certainly going to crash and it’s doubtful that anyone in this starship will survive.

Meanwhile, Albon Shaw’s starship is also passing by the same planet when his ship starts taking an uncontrolled nose dive towards the planet. He doesn’t know why it’s doing that nor can he seem to prevent what’s going to happen and that’s a very bad crash on the planet. He realizes at the last minute which planet he’s about to crash into and he’s hoping like hell that he doesn’t survive. Death would be much more desirable than crashing into this particular planet.

So, where are these two starships going to crash. Why it’s the prison planet Lakon. Yeah, it’s an entire planet populated by prisoners of the Larking Empire that they just didn’t bother executing. This planet is barely suitable for life and there is absolutely no way off the planet, ever! Doesn’t matter how you got there, you’ll never leave. You’ll die here and your body will decompose and become part of the planet, but you’ll still be here. But, first you’ll meet Erva. He’s the planet’s administrator. He’s also a former Olarin Empire gladiator that, while one of the greatest gladiators to enter the ring, didn’t completely please his former masters. So, he’s now been sentenced to Lakon and this is where he will die. For other prisoners, meeting Erva is something they don’t really want to do.

Finally, you’ll read about a Olarin military officer who, on the surface, seems to be a good guy. Still, he’s headed for trouble no of his own making and it involves the prison planet Lakon. Oh, he’s not going to be an inmate, but if he doesn’t solve this next problem, he very well could be. Even his socialite future wife doesn’t have the connections to save him from what could a disastrous mission failure.

There you have it. A lot more information than I had before starting this read. It’s still a very fast read if you can keep all the threads separate until they are supposed to merger. Each chapter seems to contain a part of each thread so that kind of keeps the story straight, I think. This is the first book of a new series and it seems to be off to a good start. I’m going to add book 2, “Corrupt Stars”, to my reading list and recommend you do also.

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