on Jan. 17, 2012 :
I enjoyed Gabriel's Revenge very much. Steve Umstead did a great job with imagery, both to paint a picture of each scene as well as to shed insight into the story's characters. The characters had a depth and realism that encourages the reader's emotional investment. The socio-political and technological background upon which the story was crafted was believably realistic. The plot itself had some nice twists, including my favorite plot device -- a coming full circle.
Gabriel's Revenge is one of the better books I've read from smashwords, and I definitely plan to check out the sequels.
(review of free book)
on Aug. 15, 2011 :
I just finished "Gabriel's Redemption," and I was captivated right from page 1. And this coming from a reader who is not generally a fan of space fiction! Umstead has created a dynamic, well-thought-out universe with a tightly woven history, timeline, and culture, and has peopled it with characters who are very far from the all-too-common two-dimensional action figures you often see in this genre. We genuinely care about his protagonists.
And along Evan Gabriel's journey toward redemption, we are met with several plot twists that absolutely took me by surprise. I love books that keep you guessing, and this one certainly did!
I give it a very high recommendation -- especially if you like futuristic military fiction, "Gabriel's Redemption" should be on your to-read list. And even if it's not your preferred genre, you'll find it a quick-paced, engaging read!
Kudos to Steve Umstead, and I look forward to his next novel!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Pavarti K Tyler
on May 2, 2011 :
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Gabriel's Redemption from the author after I sent out a request for Indie Sci-Fi books to be considered for inclusion in my upcoming blog post on NYX Book Reviews. Umstead was not guaranteed inclusion in the article nor was a review even mentioned. However, after reading his book I would like to include it in my list of recommended reads.
Gabriel's Redemption is a near future science fiction work that includes all of the hallmarks of top quality sci-fi. Umstead has created a readable, accessible and highly engaging world where intrigue, aliens, drugs and intergalactic travel work together seamlessly. There is never a moment in this book where you think to yourself: well now that didn't make a lick of sense! Instead we are presented with a combination of real and imagined science that is so commonplace to the characters it never occurs to the reader to question it.
Evan Gabriel is a taciturn and troubled man who has buried so much of himself in order to survive the horrors and injustices he has witnessed that he has become a mere shell of the hero we come to know and love by the end of the book. Quickpaced, Gabriel's Redemption is an easy read. It flows from scene to scene and moment to moment flawlessly, always leaving the reader begging for more. By the third chapter I was so hooked I read the entire novel in one night.
Umstead deals with issues like honor, responsibility and human nature. While deep in thematic content the forward thrust of the story never stops. In this way Umstead has been able to create a rich, dynamic and believable world with a cast of characters who entertain and inspire. The bad guys are quality villains and the aliens are just strange enough to evoke the reader's inherent xenophobia. At the core of the story is one man's pain and regret and the opportunity to redeem himself.
My only complaints about Gabriel's Redemption are not reasons not to pick it up.
1. It's a military based fiction which I personally don't generally enjoy. Umstead does a phenomenal job of making the military jargon and topics accessible to non-military readers without sacrificing the details. It just doesn't speak to me. I was able to enjoy the story despite this which if anything speaks to the author's skill at weaving a compelling yarn.
2. It's not in paperback. This is one I'd love to have on my shelf.
Similar books you may enjoy:
Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 10, 2011 :
Pretty good debut novel.
It was very enjoyable to read.
It may have had some punctuation mistakes or whatnot, but I don't care. I read for enjoyment and a good story is a good story.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on April 6, 2011 :
Think the super-soldier getting one last chance to clear his tarnished name by running a secret mission is a tired plot line? Think again!
Umstead weaves a gripping, action-packed tale brimming with nifty gadgets, roller-coaster plot twists, and futuristic technologies reminiscent of sci-fi greats. Gabriel's Redemption is an impressive display of talent and imagination that kept me turning pages.
I will definitely be reading the next one...
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on March 28, 2011 :
Gabriel's Redemption is a classic tale of espionage, deviant tactics and squad-level military suspense, all set in mankind's distant future. As a former military member, I was instantly taken in by the rich detail of the Naval backdrop for Commander Gabriel and his newly-formed special forces unit.
Straight away, Evan Gabriel is whisked into operation for the North American Federation and plunged into an intricately-sewn and twisted plot that reaches into the upper echelon of the Naval brass. Gabriel's Redemption instantly puts you into the action, and seldom is there room for a breather.
Interstellar travel, commensurate gunplay, backstabbing and good-old Gung-Ho military brotherhood (and sisterhood) pepper the story throughout, and I honestly did not want to put the book down. Steve Umstead keeps you guessing until the end, and the end is not one to disappoint!
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Feb. 27, 2011 :
In his debut novel, author Steve Umstead introduces readers to Evan Gabriel, a futuristic North American Federation Naval Commander whose fall from grace brings new and dark opportunities on the far-distant world of Poliahu. But things are not what they seem for Gabriel and his crack team of elite soldiers. When allies turn enemy, the frozen planet of Poliahu is plunged into a bitter war that leaves Evan Gabriel searching for answers and ready to dole out his own brand of justice.
In Gabriel’s Redemption, Steve Umstead has created an inter-planetary landscape rich with believable characters, non-stop action, and all the twists and turns that make for a great story. Gabriel’s Redemption is best described as a science fiction/thriller that will surely not disappoint.
The characters are well-developed and the dialogue is tight – especially as the story’s hero Evan Gabriel comes to grips with the bitter choices he faces on the desolate planet of Poliahu. From the detailed sequences that showcase the ferociousness of inter-stellar battle to the subtle moments where Gabriel reveals his softer side, Umstead has created a hero that is part super-soldier and part every-man.
My only complaint – I wasn’t ready for the story to end! At 66,000 words Gabriel’s Redemption is a tightly-paced read filled with action and intrigue that signals Steve Umstead’s arrival as an up-and-coming voice in science fiction.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Feb. 21, 2011 :
Gabriel’s Redemption gives the reader a glimpse at an all too possible future, where global tragedy has altered the physical and political landscape of the world, leaving the stars as a refuge for hope and a better life…as long as you can survive.
I loved this book and when I set it down I wanted more. Now when I say I wanted more it is not because I was left unsatisfied with the story or the way it ended, I say it because I loved the characters, the story and the writing so much that I hated to see it end. Steve Umstead has crafted a piece of science fiction that is reminiscent of the works of Ben Bova, Larry Niven and Isaac
Asimov, rich with description that feels natural, characters who seem real and technology that feels plausible and acceptable.
If you love a good story but the techno-babble of some science fiction steers you away from the genre, this is the book for you. Umsteads sells you his vision of the future with well crafted writing as opposed to drowning you with scientific terms. The end result is a believable future that is easy to relate to.
Gabriel’s Redemption is the story of Evan Gabriel, a disgraced member of the North American Federation Navy, who is given an opportunity to recover his former rank and to have the blame for the disaster he was blamed for removed from his records. When the offer is made by a man he cannot stand and does not trust he has to wonder whether or not the risk is worth it, and when things start to go bad on the mission he has to figure out who he can trust and how he and his team will survive so that he can take advantage of the redemption he has been promised.
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)