Late again but – ah well. Better late than never.
This week I have read a lot of non-fiction – boning up on stuff for work plus a couple of those terrific serendipitous finds on a market stall – but I have fitted in a couple of fiction titles too. It’s one of those I want to wax fulsome about today and a rare and fabulous thing it is too.
Gyrfalcon by Anna Butler
Oh look at that cover!! What a thing of beauty. This book is published by Wilde City Press, rapidly becoming my go to place for finding books with LGBTTQ protagonists that are a bit out of the ordinary. And this book too is something a bit different. What I found here is genuine old school military science fiction, every bit as good as the Vorkosigan Saga, and promising to be as long and as enthralling.
The first of a proposed six book series, Gyrfalcon follows the adventures of Bennett, a highly trained operative in Shield, a special forces organisation that, in addition to regular armed forces, protects the last remaining colony of long lost Earth. Shield seems to be an amalgamation of the SAS and commandos but with a high level of technical training and the ability to formulate long term strategies against the enemy, Maess – aliens that nobody has ever seen who wage war on the surviving humans with the aid of robotic drones built in a parody of human shape.
As if this ongoing war wasn’t trouble enough, Bennett is undergoing a lot of personal conflict in his estrangement from his family and the impossible demands from his long term partner, Joss, who wants Bennett to give up his Shield commission and come home to share in a life of luxurious academia.
But Bennett has another mission – a really crazy one, it’s his idea and it has taken 2 years to line up all his ducks – and he needs a ship. The massive dreadnought Gyrfalcon is commandeered on his behalf, and there he finds the other thing he needs – a team of superb pilots and the best of the bunch, Flynn, who is nearly as crazy as Bennett.
The world building is terrific but I was left wanting more. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at this stage in a series. I don’t need to know the whole history of the human diaspora and I’m certainly given enough to be going on with. Because this book isn’t a mass of dry exposition – it is action from page one. A glance at the blurb will reassure potential readers that there is a romance component but it is most definitely NOT a Romance. This is action, adventure, military drama and thriller combined with exciting hardware and some nicely judged psychological crises. Not all the good people are nice, not all the bad people are villains. Flynn, in particular has his moments where I was muttering Wheaton’s Law to myself. But it’s a very satisfying start to what I hope will be a nice long and complex series.
All I need to know now is how long I have to wait until the next episode!