I had some trouble with this one. First of all, there were some severe formatting [not editing] issues that Michael and I chased down so that I think I can say they are only seen in iBooks, the ePUB3 ereaders, and possibly the iPad Kindle app—and that they are caused by his publisher. I’m certain he’ll get them fixed. The cover is good.
The basic story is very interesting
I enjoyed the story even though the character development is a bit thin. It’s a steampunk alternative universe, but the steampunk portion is barely mentioned and does not really figure into the story. It really only figures into the book description.
The real story is that Mars is inhabited by radical occultists and earth by nominal Christians. The martians had tried to destroy the Earth but they’d been defeated. They are completely confused by the forgiveness and tolerance of the Earthers. They believe absolutely in the rule of the strong over the weak and see it as the true virtue.
There has been a new discovery on one of the asteroids that can possibly provide access to power capable of destroying a planet. The Martians see this as spiritual power. The Earthers see it as technological or scientific power. The Martians want that power to destroy the Earth. The earth is trying to stop them—pretty standard stuff so far.
The bad guys [occultists] are more real than the assumed believers
They have a mish-mash of occult ideas from Ascended masters, Chi, demonology, and various evolutionist beliefs. Some of the stuff is almost scientology. This is interesting and believable. These bad guys have real power and a real personal relationship with the Enemy and his minions. They are believable and well done, for the most part.
I don’t have any problems with this, because it is reality. Remember, the Lord didn’t say these things don’t work. He said they are illegal, dangerous, & stupid [focused on the creation rather than the Creator].
The only strange thing is that they consider Earther science and technology blasphemous. This is interesting because in many ways it is. Evolution is one of the most evil religions. But technology? I’m not sure how that is considered evil although the enemy certainly uses it for his nefarious schemes. On the other hand, believers also use technology to advance the Kingdom. In other words, I tend to see technology as neutral—it’s usage is dependent upon the spirituality of the user.
The believers seem to be good, moral people
That’s nice. The occultists berate them for their stupidity in forgiving the nasty Martians instead of killing them. So, the good works are at least on the New Testament level. But, good, moral people doing New-Testament-style good works don’t stand a chance against evil people wielding real power. The truth is that a personal relationship with the Lord causes a transformation in the believer’s life. Part of the result of this transformation is that the Holy Spirit comes to live in him or her and [if allowed to work] The Spirit is immeasurably more powerful than anything which could be coughed up by an occultist.
These earthers don’t seem to have any issue with the blatant evolutionist/scientologist beliefs about the asteroid belt. But then evolutionist beliefs are simply assumed and not talked about by either the good guys or the bad guys.
So both sides are equally evil
There’s no real hint of a savior. They’re both going to hell. There is no true believer seen anywhere in the book. That is very sad. But the story is entertaining. The romance is a bit thin, but nice.