Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Lazarus War: Artefact

Title: Lazarus War: Artefact
Author: Jamie Sawyer
Pages: 439
ISBN: 9780356505466
Series: The Lazarus War #1
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction/ Military SF
Source: Review copy from publisher

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Mankind has spread to the stars, only to become locked in warfare with an insidious alien race. All that stands against the alien menace are the soldiers of the Simulant Operation Programme, an elite military team remotely operating avatars in the most dangerous theatres of war.

Captain Conrad Harris has died hundreds of times - running suicide missions in simulant bodies. Known as Lazarus, he is a man addicted to death. So when a secret research station deep in alien territory suddenly goes dark, there is no other man who could possibly lead a rescue mission.

But Harris hasn't been trained for what he's about to find. And this time, he may not be coming back . . .

Dying is just another part of the day job for Captain Conrad Harris the commander of an elite military team - Simulant Operations. Remotely piloting simulant bodies, combat enhanced clones of themselves tailored for war, they take on suicide missions battling the Krell, a terrifying bioengineered alien species that make the xenomorphs from Alien look like docile puppies. When the team are send on a mission deep inside enemy territory to investigate a mysterious artefact they are stranded on a hostile planet without the use of their simulant bodies or backup of any kind. Faced with the sudden fragility of their own flesh they need to not only find a way to survive, but also a way home. What is worse is that the greatest threat might not even be from their alien foe.

Lazarus War: Artefact is a tense, heart-pounding SF adventure that forges ahead at an unrelenting pace. There is a surprising depth to all the characters as they struggle with the psychological aftermath of once again having to face their own mortality. The ending is a tantalizing promise of a much larger adventure that is still to come. It will be interesting to see the repercussions of their actions as the greater mystery unravels in later novels.

The Verdict:
The Lazarus War: Artefact is a stunning debut novel; Jamie Sawyer shows that he is definitely an author to keep your eye on. If he continues on this trajectory Neal Asher might just need to watch his back. If you like gripping military SF filled with deadly tech, terrifying aliens and huge explosions then this is definitely the book for you. Now I just need to get my hands on the rest of the series. Recommended!

The Rating: 7/10 (Very Good)

Thanks to Charlene from Jonathan Ball Publishers for the review copy.

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