One of the fun things about conventions is meeting new people. A dapper couple dressed to the nines bought Vulcan’s Kittens and The God’s Wolfling from me at the LibertyCon Author’s Alley. I snapped a picture, as I am wont to do, and the convention swirled on and around me like streams of chaos and fun. Later, on facebook, a mutual friend tagged them in my shot, and told me enthusiastically that the gentleman was an author, of pretty good books, one Jacob Holo.
Given that they’d done me the honor of picking up my books, I got a copy of one of Jacob’s, Bane of the Dead. I’m happy I did. For a mere dollar, you too can enjoy well-developed giant mecha battles in space… but I get ahead of myself.
The basic premise of the book is that Earth is only one of many, many worlds ‘seeded’ by an alien race which originated in another dimension. Eleven beings – no, twelve – were exiled because they had created the twelfth. The twelfth was the creature called Bane. Holo does an excellent job of beginning the book with action, threading his world-building in and around that action and slowly unfolding it.
Bane of the Dead is pure Space Opera. Discard all your puny notions of the laws of physics, and just enjoy the almost cinematic descriptions of machines and men melded into seraphim, the protectors of humanity and their titanic clashes with the ironically bureaucratic Fallen. In a universe where not one, but two ‘spare’ planets have been set into orbit around Earth (and one leaves abruptly) without any mention of that mass affecting the Earth, it is not a surprise to learn of mental powers that can extend to… but that’s a spoiler.
This isn’t a story about the characters, who remain elusively aloof from the reader. Although they are well-enough described, I was never quite able to connect with them emotionally. The dialogue is lacking flavor, but that’s not why you read books like this. This one is a fun tour de force of chaos sword battles, hand-to-hand Mecha combat, and the dead world hiding terrible secrets at the center of it all. If you enjoyed Saberhagen’s Berserker series, this may appeal to you. Besides, it’s only a dollar. Brain Candy! Oh, and the cover is awesome, I love that art.