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The Lost Voyager (Carson Mach Adventure) by A.C. Hadfield
Review by Ernest Lilley
A.C. Hadfield Kindle Edition  ISBN/ITEM#: B00UXL87C4
Date: 20 May 2015 / Show Official Info /

A.C. Hadfield's second novel, again featuring freelance adventurer Carson Mach and crew, The Lost Voyager, comes off as something of a budget-priced cross between The Expanse series and Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's not a bad thing, just what it is. Hadfield has consciously assembles all the classic characters here for a ship for hire series. The Intrepid is an small exploration ship with a few more cannons than average, her captain,†Carson Mach, is a charismatically iconoclastic former military officer who's in a relationship with the human hybrid assassin that came to kill him but stayed for breakfast, his best friend is the professional hunter and general bad-ass who saved his life way back during the war, and the other crew members are assorted leftovers from recent wars with aliens, including a slightly mad scientist and his AI pet. Now former enemies and allies are all working to meld together into a team.

Today's mission, which will clear a host of debts and fines against the captain and crew if they live, is to find out what happened to the missing mining vessel Voyager, which we know was forced down on a the planet it was heading towards and then attacked by big mean alien somethings. They're also supposed to wipe the data from the computers at the mining facility in the system, because it contains sensitive information.

What the crew doesn't know, because the captain hasn't come clean with them, is that the Voyager had a super-secret planet busting super bomb on board and it's actual mission was to set it off to get rid of it, and incidentally on the planet the ship crashed on. He's not telling them, at least until he has to, because it's the sort of mission that he needs to take for noble reasons, and he's not sure he can sell that to the crew. He experiences much angst over this, since, in the classic fashion, his crew is his family, and he's always straight with them. Even about the fact that he's got the ship wired up to spy on every nook and cranny and that he likes hanging out in his cabin checking up on them.

That's a bit creepy, but it's really just a handy way for the author to give us periodic overviews of what's going down.

Things go from bad to worse as we find the planet overrun with nearly un-killable aliens that breed like wildfire, have grabbed the bomb off the downed ship, and look to be getting ready to move on to strip the rest of civilized space clean as soon as they finish picking the remains of the previous crew out of their teeth.

Recently I read The Lazarus War: Artefact, by Jamie Sawyer, another reasonably priced Kindle offering, and the parallels between the two books are pretty impressive, right down to the last ditch efforts to invade the underground alien stronghold and blow up the superweapon. You could almost say that about James S.A. Corey's Cibola Burn, sans the hordes of aliens. I'm just pointing out that there's a lot of formula being applied here. By the way, if you like Hadfield's writing, give Jamie Sayer a try, he's at least as good, if not better.

I was sorry not to see a cover credit for either this or the authorís previous book, The Atlantis Ship, because they're both pretty good, which matters even if Amazon doesn't open Kindle books up to the cover page.

The writing and storytelling in The Lost Voyager are good enough to get the job done, but nothing stellar. Readers grabbed by this will be pleased that Carson Mach's story seems nowhere near the end.

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