Iron Scepter by Andrew M. Seddon. 245 pages. Independently published.
This is the second Speculative Christian Fiction book I’ve reviewed this month, and the pickin’s have actually been pretty good. This time, we have a military sci-fi story, one that I was happy to receive. As many who visit here often know, I loves me some good military sci-fi, and this story didn’t disappoint. Here’s the Amazon summary:
It is the year 2495 on the rediscovered, independence-minded colony world of Lenore. Embittered Political Officer Major Karel Novacek, haunted by ghosts from his past, seeks to resurrect his career by integrating the planet into the splintering Terran Hegemony. All is proceeding according to plan until a young colonial woman confronts his beliefs and assumptions. And when first contact is made with an alien race, will they – and Lenore – become the first casualties of an interstellar war? This tale from the history of the Terran Hegemony precedes and sets the stage for the events of the novels “Farhope” and “Wreaths of Empire”.
The story is told in first person, from the perspective of Major Novacek. Whenever you write first person, you have advantages and disadvantages, and you have to accept the good with the bad. The good is that you get to see the main character’s POV a lot more intimately, and the author does a good job of this, including some interesting and important backstory. The bad is that you don’t see any one else’s POV, which really can limit your story sometimes.
Because of this, the story is really the story of one man, this Major Novacek. He starts off as a pretty hard-nosed character, and he tries to keep his hard image, even after coming in contact with the colonial woman on the planet Lenore. There are shades of Roman occupation here, and their view of Pax Romana, of an iron fist being the only solution for peace. But the people of Lenore aren’t going to take things lying down, and they have secrets that are revealed as they story develops. In addition to this, we have aliens. And who doesn’t like aliens?
In fact, I would have liked to have seen more about the aliens. And going back to the POV, I think the story would have been stronger if we would have seen more than just Novacek’s viewpoint. Finally, because this is a Christian story, I felt that the spiritual aspect was a bit weak. But for a military sci-fi story, it’s good.
Four stars out of five.