March 23, 2017
Freefall, by Felix R. Savage
Despite NASA budget cuts threatening to put a sharp end to his career as an astronaut, British-born space shuttle pilot Jack Kildare knows without a doubt that his life will never be the same. Photographs snapped from the International Space Station reveal an alien spaceship in orbit around Europa, opening a terrifying new chapter in human history, and Jack finds himself in the center of a gigantic international effort to respond to the alien threat. But when he is dismissed from NASA over a trumped-up security gaffe, Jack and his close friend Oliver Meeks combine their skills in an attempt to generate an innovative new development: a spaceship drive based on their observations of the alien craft’s technology. With the unknown threat driving international competition and the entire planet’s spaceflight resources thrown into the fray, the focus of attention turns toward one single goal… a ship capable of traveling to Jupiter to confront the alien menace… the Spirit of Destiny. Amid unknown entities pushing to destroy the project from the inside out, and enemies baying for blood, Jack finds himself submerged in a world of secrets, sabotage attempts and cold-blooded murder. Can Jack decode the secrets surrounding the arrival of the alien spaceship in our solar system? Or will his dreams of the ultimate space adventure be taken into the ashes with the Spirit of Destiny?
I read the entire Interstellar Railroad series by Felix Savage already, so I was expecting a bit of irreverence with my hard science fiction when I started reading the Earth’s Last Gambit series. There wasn’t nearly as much cheekiness, but Freefall did have its own humor. I was a little disappointed in the cliffhanger ending, but, the sublime writing more than made up for it.
Freefall has everything I’ve come to expect in a great space opera – Intrigue, political maneuvering, religiosity, tech, grizzled space bums who just want their last chance to walk on the moon, clandestine sabotage, and so much more.
As with any novel, the characters motivations and dimension are supremely important. Moreso in a long-form space novel quartet. We science fiction fans have grown up on Star Trek and Star Wars. We were cheated with Firefly and Space: Above and Beyond. I could easily see Earth’s Last Gambit picked up as an ongoing series – one season per book.
Freefall is easily five stars, and you’re daft if you like sci-fi and don’t get it.
You might say Felix R. Savage has a long history associated with rebellion. He was born in the 1970s, a decade of American youth rebelling against the safe culture of their parents. He is married to a wonderful woman and they have a beautiful daughter. Together the three of them live in Tokyo serving their cat overlord and benevolent protector. Felix writes Science Fiction and Fantasy while not translating, delighting in his family, or catering to the whims of the family’s cat. He never stops watching out for any sign the lizard people have found him.