This is a review of The Hand of God: A Homeworld Novel, by Eric Brown and Jason Cordova
For the Earth Republic, victory over the Coalition was but a short reprieve.
The alien Ra’tid are advancing, and there is little to stand in their way as they move towards Earth. Battleships larger than anything the Republic has seen before have easily obliterated everything that has come before them. In order to survive, the Republic must cut off the head of the snake with one deft, deadly stroke – a direct shot at the home world of the Ra’tids.
However, there is a small problem. There is only one man in the universe who has gone toe to toe with the alien Ra’tids and survived… he just happens to be one of the Earth Republic’s most feared enemies.
Templar Saul Derring has been asked to save the Republic that he fought against once upon a time. A Republic who executed the men and women who had served faithfully under him. The same Republic which had banned his religion, made a mockery of his beliefs, and cast him out into the cold night bereft of his honor.
The Hand of God was discarded like an old dishrag. Vengeance – in one form or the other – will be had.
Disclosure: This copy was purchased by the reviewer.
I was looking forward to reading this book. I enjoy a good action space opera, and this had all the hallmarks of one. As I began reading it, I noted that the structure is well-wrought, the pacing is good, the dialogue decently written. Although you do bounce from location to location, and different characters, the authors do a good job of making it clear where you are, and with whom, for which I applaud them, it’s something many authors fail miserably at.
There were some issues that cropped up as I was reading. I didn’t mind that every time you get attached to a character, they die. That’s not actually a bad thing when you are reading about wartime. What I did see was a pattern, where I’d see something happening, and I could say: This comes next. I’ll leave it for others to see if they can splice a connection between an evil statesman, wielding unworldly energy and menacing the good guys with an army of clones, and a little later, the recruiting to the cause of a scruffy smuggler, his crew, and a very fast ship.
I did not find this a difficult read, and was enjoying it, right up until I came to a complete and crashing halt. What caused the book to make a metaphorical arc across the room and hit the far wall almost hard enough to leave an imaginary dent (I say this as I was reading on my tablet, a real book would have really done those things) was an error in the laws of physics. I have Jimmy Doohan in my ear complaining ‘you canna change the laws o’physics!’ as I write this. And I am afraid it is a spoiler, so if you are planning to read the book, stop here.
I’m warning you. Really.
Ok, you kept reading, you really want to know. The issue I had deals with nannites. Now, I have no problem with using them as a plot device. When I posted this online in the momentary reaction of the reading, someone pointed out that what I was describing is the ultimate gray goo, and he’s right. The one that made me laugh, though, was the dubbing of this phenomena as ‘Nannite Pirahnas!’
I’m talking about the description of the main character inserting a small, clear vial into a disabled missile, shooting it into the enemy’s ship, which then crashed on the planet. MOMENTS later, another good-guy ship reports in horror that the planet is visibly dissolving.
Um, no. That’s not how it’s going to work, and even if it was, it wouldn’t happen that fast.
So, I don’t know. The writing as far as characters, world-building, and what-not was workmanlike and fun to read. But the last bit, there? Depends on how far you can stretch your SOD (suspension of disbelief) without breaking it. Since there are a lot of movies that are a lot more improbable, I suspect most readers would let this one slide… Heck, if Michael Crichton could do it, then why not?