Brian G Turner
Fantasist & Futurist
- Nov 23, 2002
This is an exceptional novel. The pace is incredible, with hard-hitting characters, and a powerful plot. It’s also intelligent, and cleverly juxtaposes the sectarianism of Northern Ireland with that of two different alien races with interests on Planet Earth.
John is a fifteen-year old boy, struggling to help his younger brother and sisters survive in a bombed-out Belfast, which has been left under the control of dangerous criminal gangs...
Henry Carter is a police inspector - and a hated liaison for the invading Zelotyr. When he picks John up during curfew, he finds himself caught up in a crime of galactic importance - one that will decide the fate of earth, and humanity...
It really was hard to put this book down. I was expecting a strong opening, that would fade into a quiet middle, before picking up towards the end. Instead, the pace is unrelenting, as the plot unfolds to reveal complex turns and real surprises.
The setting is amazing - Jo Zebedee clearly uses imagery from the “troubles” of Belfast to create an electric context, that creates far bigger tensions than should ordinarily be expected in this sort of story.
Added to that, the invasion already finished a year before the story opens - so there’s no high drama of seeing earth attacked. Instead, we have a focus on survival, and the dealing with the aftermath - one that becomes increasingly engaging as the plot progresses.
Overall, this is an ‘alien invasion’ story with a difference - it’s unique, intelligent, and fearlessly tense.
And yet - here’s the biggest surprise by far - this is a self-published book. Apparently it was almost picked up by a Big 6 publisher, but the marketing dept wasn’t sure whether they could sell it as a YA fiction or adult science fiction novel. So they let it go.
Now Jo Zebedee has paid for a full edit, polished it up, and self-published. And I’m so glad she did, because this is such a wonderfully told story - and certainly one of my Top 10 favourite reads this year.