In the start of first-time novelist Anguish’s sci-fi series set in the distant future, disappearing stars threaten life on various planets.
When earthling Jon Foster created Essens, he intended that the nano-bots absorb energy from stars for humanity’s use. Unfortunately, some stars have gone dark due to infected Essens, which have spread throughout the inhabited planets that make up the Sphere of Humanity. Jon fears that losing humans’ energy source will incite mass panic on the planets. To remedy this, humans will need a “Class G dynamic,” a human capable of harnessing incredible amounts of energy. Earthlings have found the only existing Class G dynamic—Saiph Calthari, a meek farmer—on the moon Jangali. Jon and a crew head to Jangali, where a military force already there has attacked Saiph’s village and enslaved villagers. Jon tracks down Saiph and tells the farmer that he has a unique role to play in saving many lives. With a special “aura suit,” he can be a powerful lethal weapon. But conflicts are forthcoming with other, evil dynamics currently on Jangali, and additional groups are on their way. A wealth of plot details, character development, and worldbuilding unfolds in Anguish’s debut. Periodic entries from Jon’s journal, for example, recount an extensive and engaging backstory, from World War III to Jon’s prolonged life of 600-plus years. And many curious characters inhabit these pages: Saiph is an asthmatic who suffered a crippling injury, and all Altainians worship Tengrii, Lord of the Eternal Blue Sky. The narrative boasts breathless action sequences, with Saiph battling baddies in his new suit. But it also teems with suspense; Saiph worries about separated family members, and Jon watches for potential enemies.
Fully developed characters and an intricate backdrop enhance this stellar opening installment.