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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Audio Book Review: The Lost Starship by Vaughn Heppner

I found this to be an engaging Sci Fi listen with lots of danger and little touches of humor.
The Lost Starship
Written by: Vaughn Heppner
Narrated by: David Stifel
Length: 13 hrs and 49 mins
        Series: The Lost Starship, Book 1
    Unabridged Audiobook
    Release Date:11-13-14
    Publisher: Vaughn Heppner
Genre: Sci Fi Adventure
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
Ten thousand years ago, a single alien super-ship survived a desperate battle. The vessel's dying crew set the AI on automatic to defend the smashed rubble of their planet. Legend has it the faithful ship continues to patrol the empty battlefield, obeying its last order throughout the lonely centuries.
In the here and now, Earth needs a miracle. Out of the Beyond invade the New Men, stronger, faster and smarter than the old. Their superior warships and advanced technology destroy every fleet sent to stop them. Their spies have infiltrated the government and traitors plague Earth's military.
Captain Maddox of Star Watch Intelligence wonders if the ancient legend could be true. Would such an old starship be able to face the technology of the New Men? On the run from killers, Maddox searches for a group of talented misfits. He seeks Keith Maker, a drunken ex-strikefighter ace, Doctor Dana Rich the clone thief stuck on a prison planet and Lieutenant Valerie Noonan, the only person to have faced the New Men in battle and survived to tell about it.
Maddox has to find a place hidden in the Beyond and bring back a ship no one can enter. If he fails, the New Men will replace the old. If he succeeds, humanity might just have a fighting chance...
©2014 Vaughn Heppner (P)2014 Vaughn Heppner

Earth has a new and formidable enemy known as the New Men. They resemble men but they are bronze, big and stronger – basically they are superhuman.

Captain Maddox has had a successful career in intelligence. No one knows that he has a secret that helps him succeed – except apparently his supreme commanders. They have kept facts from him that he is just uncovering. Now they are asking him to save mankind. They direct him on a stealth mission to go to The Beyond of the known galaxies to pursue a rumored weapon. He is to commandeer a relic of an alien super-ship which is left over from a battle thousands of years ago. It is believed that only the technological secrets of that supership can help mankind survive an invasion by the New Men. Maddox is provided the journal and notes of Professor Ludendorf who is the only explorer known to have led an expedition to the supership and survived to return.

Maddox is told what crew he is to recruit because they have “the right stuff”. Some he has to coerce, or kidnap and some he has to rescue. The only one who comes along voluntarily is Valerie Noonan, the sole survivor of a New Men battle attack. She has a reputation for knowing and following regulations and commands. This trip will definitely take her out of her comfort zone. The pilot is a brash Irishman who lost himself to the bottle. He is a brilliant pilot but only if he can keep his head clear. Two other crewmates must be rescued from a prison planet where the harsh environment and jungle rot are the primary cell walls. There Maddox is to rescue his second in command who killed the arrogant son of a wealthy crime lord who was cheating in a fight against Maddox. The second person to be rescued is a genius scientist who worked with Professor Ludendorf. She believes the mission is suicidal and, bitter towards all of mankind, she could care less about saving anyone but herself and her bodyguard friend, an amazon woman.

It is bad enough that Maddox and his mismatched, sometimes antagonistic, crew are being sent to retrieve a ship that is set to kill those who invade its territory. But matters get worse when it becomes clear that the New Men have infiltrated the Star Watch command so that Maddox can’t trust any other ships or communities.

I found these characters to be well developed and fascinating in the world they face. There are flaws and issues among the crew which adds in-fighting to the suspense. The story had humor, danger and action and it moved at a good pace with a reasonably plausible (if out of this world) mission. The betrayal and constant tension make for good engagement as I wanted to know how they would overcome the next obstacle – always trusting that Maddox or his team would pull a rabbit out of the hat. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a fast paced sci fi adventure. I will seek out more from this series!

Audio Notes: David Stifel does a very good job with the narration. He hit the right voices and attitudes for the characters. There were one or two minor slips but that didn't disrupt my enjoyment. My reading experience was enhanced by the audio format and I would like to listen to more.

I received this audible from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review. This is part of my 2015 Audio Challenge.

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