Thursday 16 July 2020

#BookReview — Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb #scifi #spaceopera @charnewcomb

Echoes of the Storm

By Charlene Newcomb


The battle for Torredo is over, but the war has just begun…


Jack Gamble’s lover is a double agent. Norse betrayed the resistance and now commands Galilei’s military operations.

Rallying what remains of the resistance and their galactic allies wasn’t part of Jack’s plans. His contacts are scattered, maybe dead. Streams are broadcasting his face from one end of the galaxy to the other, and mercenaries under the command of Captain Ben Stone intercept his ship.

Space pirates, friendly interrogators, security grunts, and Norse stand in Jack’s way. Can he trust Stone? The intriguing captain has his own problems with the empire – and an interest in Jack.

Jack isn’t looking for a one-night stand, and any emotional entanglements need to be off the radar. He has a rebellion to win and a world to take back. Failure means his people will never break the empire’s chains, and his homeworld is screwed.

Norse already did that to him.

He won’t let it happen again.

“We could spend hours reciting the names of friends we’ve lost. It won’t bring them back. We’ll honour them by ending Galilei’s rule…”


But that was easier said than done.


Jack Gamble had been every kind of fool. He had thought that what they had was love, but it wasn’t love, he knew that now. Ari Norse had used him to get what he wanted. He had used them all. With the resistance scattered and his heart broken, Jack flees his homeland.


However, Norse is not a man who gives up easily, and he certainly isn’t going to give up on one of the resistances greatest fighters. He knows Jack. He knows how he thinks. And he has the perfect weapon in which to manipulate his former lover and bring him back home. Jack will meet his fate. He has to. For it is the only way Norse can get what he truly wants.


From a desperate flight to a battle that will decide who is the better man, Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb is the unforgettable story of Jack Gamble and his resistance friends.


With a realistic science fiction backdrop and a narrative that entices, enchants and enthrals, Echoes of the Storm has an awful lot to recommend it. There is an authenticity to the atmospheric backdrop, and a realism in the characters that one meets on this journey that Jack Gamble finds himself on. But this is not the story of just one man, but a group of resistant fighters, who fight for their planet, the galaxy, but more importantly each other. This book has it all. There are desperate betrayals, extraordinary acts of heroism and a beautifully tender love story as well. The writing is absolutely phenomenal. It is in a class of its own. This novel is next to impossible to put down —  it is addictive to the extreme. This is the kind of book that one would happily forgo sleep to finish.


Newcomb has an understanding of not only what makes a great story, but also how to write realistic science-fiction. You will find no loud explosions in space in this book! Nor, will you find any impossible situations, or worlds that are so implausible that there is no way they could ever exist. What Newcomb gives her readers is realism. The planets, the space crafts, everything is backed up by a confident scientific understanding. It is very clear that Newcomb knows what she is talking about, and this is what makes this book stand out on a very crowded bookcase. Kudos, Ms Newcomb. Kudos, indeed.


Jack Gamble is the kind of hero that a reader can really get behind. Norse’s betrayal blindsides him, and yet he finds the courage to continue to fight for his beliefs, even in the face of terrible adversity. Jack is a very astute and very driven man who cares very deeply, which I think is why I was drawn to him. He is this wonderfully honourable man who could easily have lost his confidence, who could have spent the rest of his life in hiding, but he cannot walk away. He has to finish what he started. To pen a hero that touches the heart of the reader is a lot harder that one would think, but Newcomb has nailed it in her depiction of Jack. I adored everything about him, and he certainly drove this story forward.


Ben Stone is a character that did run and hide many years previous from the same people who are now hunting Jack. Ben, despite now being a pirate, is one of the most compassionate characters in this book. His keen wit, and his willingness to help Jack, made him a character that I came to care about. I thought Ben’s depiction was sublime. I enjoyed reading about him and his scenes, particularly with Jack, were delightfully portrayed.


Likewise, Atticus “Tic” Ford is a man of deep integrity, who like many has been living a double life. Tic was a character that I enjoyed getting to know. He is, like many of the resistance fighters, incredibly empathetic, but he is also very intelligent, and he isn’t scared to put himself forward for the most dangerous missions again and again. I thought his portrayal was fabulous.


The antagonist of this story is cloaked in shadows of his own making. Norse has an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Fantasies of success and power blind him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. However, he is also very clever and was willing to wait a very long time to make sure the circumstances were right for him to play his master hand. He is a very manipulative man who wears two faces. At times there are hints of the loving man he pretended to be, which makes the reader wonder if he really was pretending. However, there is a ruthless, very brutal side to him which leaves a reader with a sense of fear as to what he would do next. This is a villain that is obsessively motivated, and he has the resources and the audacity to take what he wants while at the same time demanding absolute loyalty. I thought Norse’s depiction was brilliant.


Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb is an absolute must for fans of quality science-fiction. This is quite possibly the best science-fiction book that I have ever read.


I Highly Recommend.


Review by Mary Anne Yarde

The Coffee Pot Book Club.


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Echoes of the Storm

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Charlene Newcomb

Charlene Newcomb lives, works, and writes in Kansas. She is an academic librarian by trade, a former U.S. Navy veteran, and has three grown children. When not working at the library, she is still surrounded by books and trying to fill her head with all things medieval. All three books in the Battle Scars series are B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees; Book II was a finalist and Book III was short-listed in the Chaucer Awards for pre-1750 Historical Fiction & both are recipients of numerous accolades.

Char is a huge Star Wars fan and has contributed short stories to the Expanded Universe featuring an underground freedom fighter, She has also published a mainstream contemporary family saga: Keeping the Family Peace centers on the lives of a Navy family.

Char loves to travel, and enjoys quiet places in the mountains or on rocky coasts. But even in Kansas she can let her imagination soar.


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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx