chris baylis

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Smashwords book reviews by chris baylis

  • A Taste Of Despair on March 02, 2012

    This is the sequel to A BREATH of HOPE. Written some 20 years after the original, this continues the story of Hamilton, the tough mercenary, and his crew of humans, part-cyborgs, rebreathers and Enjuns as they alone fight to save humanity from Walsh and the Jada-Ko-Vari; a sentient, alien virus-race who are intent on destroying mankind. Robert's style of writing is very descriptive, sometimes possibly a little too much at times. I like the occasional Sci-Fi story and film and understand that ships can go into hyperdrive and wyrm holes to get to their far away destination as comfortable and quickly as possible, but I have never felt the need to know anything much about the mechanics of a starship or the inner workings of an off-world mining operation. After reading A TASTE OF DESPAIR I felt like I could get a job at NASA. .... well almost ! The story takes up where the original left off. Hamilton and his pals have survived the journey back, well most of them have made it, safely, only to find that Walsh and his drones have taken over the minds of many humans in prominent positions and before the "good" guys can get out of quarantine they find that their records have been altered and that they are now all regarded as terrorists. The story then gets very descriptive and long as Hamilton and friends find their way out into space and begin to plan their attack on Walsh. This involves a clever twist, a couple of bumpy rides through asteroids, an attack on a mining station, a split amongst the "good" guys - those who want to fight and those who want to settle - and the deaths of a couple of characters who I would like to have read more of. As the second book in a trilogy this is definitely the filling in the sandwich; it has taste but no real substance. It leaves the reader wanting more, more from the story, as in a conclusion, and more from itself. There is often too much definition, at times I was mentally screaming "get on with it, I really don't care that much about the size, cost, price, breakdown etc etc etc of the sub-doohickey engine" . However I put my prejudices aside and ploughed through the descriptions and came out the other side elated at the result. Now I can't wait for Robert to write the third part. Meanwhile I have ebooks of two of his other books to read while I wait.
  • A Breath of Hope on March 02, 2012

    A BREATH of HOPE was written by Robert E Taylor as his first novel some 20 years ago. It is the first in a trilogy of stories under the umbrella name, the Humal Sequence. The story is told from the viewpoint of a tough veteran, an anti-hero archetype by the name of Hamilton. Like all good leading men Hamilton has friends in low places that he can call on for aid, as well as acquaintences, such as the half android Klane, that he would trust with his life. The story has Hamilton, Klane and a number of other mercenary types hired by a wealthy magnate called Vogerian to go into deep space in search of Humal relics on a Humal ship and planet. The crew are a typical motley bunch of which one, Lewis, Hamilton takes an immediate dislike to. He is also wary of Carl, Volgerian's bodyguard, who is not all, if any, human. The journey into deep space is long and virtually uneventful until they reach the main ship and the shuttle taking the crew they are relieving explodes within seconds of its departure, naturally killing all on board. Later a crew member is found dead. The reason for his death is never fully explained, except that it puts Hamilton more on his guard than ever. I do not want to spoil the tale by giving too much away, so I shall suffice it to say that virtually all is explained and the story ends with an obvious opening for continuation, which 20 years later Rob Taylor has obliged with; stating right at the start that a third volume is imminent (hence why I called it a trilogy although this is not actually mentioned previously). My personal view is that Rob has created some good characters but hasn't rounded them off enough to be much more than average stereotypes; and just when one or two of them begin to get really interesting their part in the affair ends, which is maybe realistic but a shame as there was a lot more mileage, especially in a trilogy, to be had from them. The actual telling of the story is at times slow and thus laborious and sometimes over described. Instead of saying "He did this" or "He did that" Rob uses the surname over and over so you get "Hamilton did this, then Hamilton did that, then Hamilton looked at his watch, and then Hamilton knew that it was time that he, Hamilton and Klane, should go here..." That was not actual text from the book but just an example of how it too occasionally reads. I understand that this was Rob's first book and it should be applauded as a fine effort. I read it from beginning to end and then started on the second in the series almost immediately, which shows I want to know what happens next, as well as how Rob's writing has altered in the 20 year gap. Rob's books are easy to download and cost very little. You can read more about Rob at http://www.hipoint.co.uk A Breath of Hope is now available on download: A Breath of Hope can be purchased at the following outlets: Smashwords eBook (take your choice of formats) $2.99 USD Diesel eBook Store $2.99 USD Barnes & Noble (NOOK) $2.99 USD Sony Reader Store $2.99 USD Apple iTunes iBooks Store £1.99 GBP Or download direct to your iDevice using iTunes on your iPad, iPhone, iPod, etc. CreateSpace Paperback eStore $8.99 USD Amazon.com Purchase options. Other more localised Amazon sites are available. A Breath of Hope Author: Robert Taylor Manufacturer: CreateSpace Amazon Price: $8.99 Offers - Buy New From: $8.99