Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A galactic dustup in Gabriel’s Revenge

Gabriel's Revenge (Evan Gabriel Trilogy)Gabriel's Revenge by Steve Umstead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Evan Gabriel Trilogy is complete with Steve Umstead’s action-packed final installment, Gabriel’s Revenge. The transition is seamless as the third book picks up only moments after Evan Gabriel realizes he must return to Mars and finish his business with the South American Republic (SAR) once and for all.

The stakes are higher than ever as Gabriel and his team will have to fight their way to the red planet and locate Renay Gesselli, who has been captured, along with the governments of two of the planet’s largest dome cities, by SAR henchmen. But it wouldn't be a proper mission without nearly impossible odds so the SAR has employed a fleet of Chinese space-fighters and a group of elite mercenaries to take out Gabriel and his team.

The pace never slows as Umstead’s plot drives his characters through successes and setbacks – building to a crescendo for a final climactic showdown between hero and villain. Umstead reveals new technology and uncovers new bits of history that adds even more excitement and intrigue to his sci-fi action finale. Characters will be tested and loyalties will be questioned, adding elements of suspense to keep the reader turning the pages.

There is no question that Umstead can write an action-packed adventure story better than most. He is an artist in designing a high-tech battlefield and weaving in the human element with his character’s depth and color. While some may feel the dialogue is a little too efficient, it’s important to remember that a military unit like this tends to be manned with “quiet professionals”, speaking with actions rather than words. Umstead is true to that principle and develops his characters accordingly.

There is no drop-off in quality or consistency between any of these books and Gabriel’s Revenge will bring it all to a close without slowing a step. The only hitch for me came in the climax where I felt one portion was a bit of a stretch compared to every other scene in this series. I chalk that up to personal preference and how I would have liked that scene to play out.

Nevertheless the entire body of work is a five-star effort with the finale being a 4.75 star read on its own. If you like action in a science fiction setting then you really need to pick this up from book one and give it a shot.

Tom Clementson (Kindle Book Review)

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