We first meet our protagonist, Corporal Peter Blackwell, when he wakes up from a coma with a head injury at a medical facility of North American Space and Air Defence. They tell him that he’s a “dungeon watcher” for the NASAD and that he’s suffered an accident – one that has left him with amnesia.
Blackwell finds himself having weird memories of smells and sounds, in a world where suicide – the Black Despair – is a common occurrence, and also learns that bound up with his identity is a vital secret that must remain concealed because the future of millions of lives is at stake. The secret is linked to a comet that’s approaching earth, and there are those who will stop at nothing to extract his secret, then kill him.
Nine Planets is a very real, human story with multiple layers. It is a story about hope, a theme explored in a setting where suicide is completely acceptable. Peter Blackwell is a sympathetic protagonist. Brave, determined, and loyal, he’s surrounded by an interesting array of secondary characters.
Byrne is a talented storyteller who pays special attention to language and possesses a writing style at times simple and straightforward, at others lyrical. The technical and science aspects are very well done as well. Part mystery, part thriller, Nine Planets is a science fiction novel quite different from others on the market. If you love SF novels and thrillers, I recommend you give this one a try.
Purchase from Amazon.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.