I tend to switch between epic and sci-fi fiction when reading new books, then throw some urban and steam punk in between. My latest adventure was a weekend break with a three-novella set by David VanDyke called Forge and Steel.
VanDyke first caught my attention with his series-starter, The Eden Plague – billed as a techo-thriller slash military tale, but focused on genetic modification and engineering. That threw it smartly into my fantasy pile; not because it couldn’t happen in our world, but because it is a possibility. And to me, fantasy is about possibilities more than probabilities.
Forge and Steel is a great collection of three novellas that tie in the Plague Wars series and Stellar Conquest books. One of my favorite characters – Jill “Reaper” Rapeth, a hard-core female protagonist that takes zero crap – is featured in the first two shorts.
These three stories feature a modern Earth who face the Meme, an alien force that can – through their biologically-advanced technology – assimilate with and take over human beings. Less body snatching than the ability to clone biomass and thoughts, emotions and senses. On “living” bases, the Meme have endangered even the humans who’ve become physiologically advanced through biomech and the mixed blessing of the Eden Plague (including quick healing and near immortality).
In the final novella, a true morality issue is presented when humanity must choose whether they will fight the Meme by taking a page from their playbook – setting aside what makes their soldiers human – in order to win the war.
I found Forge and Steel a quick, exciting read that fantasy lovers should be able to sink their teeth into for a nice snack. It is a great intro, even if it wasn’t intended to be, of VanDyke’s work. He is a great world-builder and writes in a style that keeps the action at a nice tempo. 4.5 of 5 stars
Click the cover to get Forge and Steel today!
Check out an interview author pal, C.L. Rivers, did with David VanDyke and Ryan King about Eden’s Exodus, a Plague Wars book.