Thursday, 1 September 2016

Lament For The Fallen by Gavin Chait

review by Maryom

When a spaceship crash-lands near to their isolated West African community, Joshua and fellow townsfolk don't expect to find any survivors - but there is one; a strange 'enhanced' human named Samara, from the orbiting city-world of Achenia,via the prison-planet of Tartarus from which he's escaped. Suffering from injuries which would have killed a 'normal' man, Samara lies in a coma while his self-healing systems work, and the townsfolk fend off the attention of the local warlord interested in the possibility of valuable metals to be salvaged. 
Survival isn't enough though for this strange being from the sky. Samara is determined to go back to Tartarus and free the prisoners kept there under inhuman conditions, so the community find themselves involved with sourcing the equipment he'll need and again attracting notice from the gangs who effectively 'rule' the area.
Set in a vaguely future time when technology has advanced sufficiently to build artificial 'planets' orbiting the Earth, while government in Africa seems to have regressed to the point where the best-armed, most vicious, war-lord rules, Lament For The Fallen is an interesting, intriguing read. It's one I'd recommend to readers who normally steer clear of sci-fi, as the story focuses more on the characters and the politics of their situation - Joshua and his townsfolk trying to build a harmonious city where people can live in peace, but beginning to feel the problems of outsiders looking to find safety there, or the desire of the orbiting worlds to be free of the Earth-bound countries that built them; the science - whether that which built the artificial worlds or the use of symbionts to enhance and prolong life among Samara's people - is taken for granted. To be honest, I liked the earlier half/three quarters of the book set in Africa, as Samara tells his parable-like stories and we glimpse the events that lead to his imprisonment, more than the 'space battle' ending, but I still enjoyed it.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Doubleday
Genre - adult fiction, sci-fi

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