Gabriel's Redemption by Steve Umstead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s suspense from the outset of Steve Umstead’s debut novel, and book 1 of the ‘Evan Gabriel Trilogy’, named for his main character. This is one of the better science fiction, action novels you’ll find out there whether indie or big market. Umstead is meticulous in establishing the back story for not only his characters but this futuristic universe while being mindful to maintain the pace and flow of his plot.
Umstead intertwines much of his character development and interaction with some jazzy futuristic technology incorporated in a way that is very believable. Those deftly written inter-character relationships in the early chapters enable the reader to understand the social, political and economic realities of this future time frame because it is based on an evolution of our modern standards. All the while you will get to know Gabriel and his past, which drives much of the suspense throughout the story.
It’s that combination of the anticipation of a action-packed collision between our hero and his antagonists, along with genuine curiosity surrounding this futuristic world that make this novel very difficult to put down. While some may argue that there are elements that are too predictable, I think they are very few but well timed and strategically placed to keep the story moving at a fast pace and in a linear fashion.
All too often a stories are lost by an author chasing and explaining far too many details in the setting or trying to incorporate too many turning points throughout the plot that a reader becomes confused or bored. In both scenarios, Gabriel’s Redemption follows a logical path of genuine suspense and story development to a fitting climax with enough surprises to make you take more than one deep breath.
Umstead carefully balances the need to educate the reader while keeping you glued to the pages, an absolute must to elevate to a great sci-fi. More importantly you have to relate or empathize with the main character to some degree. You’ll easily do that as you learn more about Evan Gabriel and his bid for redemption.
Gabriel is that fallen hero who lost everything he worked for as a special operations officer. This former elite military man must take on one more mission for the man who brought him down in order to redeem his career and restore faith in himself. Gabriel knows there is more behind the mission than he’s been told but he’s surrounded by a team he knows nothing about. With no allies, Grabriel will have to follow his instincts in order to bring himself and his team back alive.
Gabriel is flawed by the universal politics and ambitions of the powerbrokers in this world. He is a tool, an instrument whose race to uncover a truth will completely reshape the universe one way or another. With only a finite amount of time, he must flush out the villains nearest him and expose their masters amongst the elite. More than his own skill and intuition, Gabriel must learn who to trust others because these are monumental tasks he cannot do along.
Gabriel’s Redemption is a 'guys read'; a hard-core science fiction with plenty of gadgets and adrenaline to keep the synapses firing while you turn the pages all night long. In fact, I managed to devote twelve straight hours to reading this novel and highly recommend it to any guy who loves science fiction or military-style action because this has plenty of both. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t give it less than five stars.
More importantly, I can't wait to read the next book - Gabriel's Return
Tom Clementson (Kindle Book Review)