Donovan is a world of remarkable wealth, a habitable paradise of a planet. It sounds like a dream come true. But Donovan’s wealth comes at a price.
When the ship Turalon arrives in orbit, Supervisor Kalico Aguila discovers a failing colony, its government overthrown and the few remaining colonists now gone wild. Donovan offers the chance of a lifetime, one that could leave her the most powerful woman in the solar system. Or dead.
Planetside, Talina Perez is one of three rulers of the Port Authority colony—the only law left in the one remaining town on Donovan. With the Corporate ship demanding answers about the things she’s done in the name of survival, Perez could lose everything, including her life.
For Dan Wirth, Donovan is a last chance. A psychopath with a death sentence looming over his head, he can’t wait to set foot on Port Authority. He will make one desperate play to grab a piece of the action—no matter who he has to corrupt, murder, or destroy.
Captain Max Taggart has been The Corporation’s “go-to” guy when it comes to brutal enforcement. As the situation in Port Authority deteriorates, he’ll be faced with tough choices to control the wild Donovanians. Only Talina Perez stands in his way.
Just as matters spiral out of control, a ghost ship, the Freelander, appears in orbit. Missing for two years, she arrives with a crew dead of old age, and reeks of a bizarre death-cult ritual that deters any ship from attempting a return journey. And in the meantime, a brutal killer is stalking all of them, for Donovan plays its own complex and deadly game. The secrets of which are hidden in Talina Perez’s very blood.
Review of Outpost
A strange mythology has grown about morning; it has sent its roots to twine inextricable rhizomes through the human psyche. Like all mythology, it is mostly falsehood. According to the myth, with the rising of the sun hope is kindled in the human spirit. The body rises refreshed, vigorous. The brain is audacious. Keen again. The profound and dark despair of the predawn soul has been vanquished by those golden bars of light which bathe a reborn world . . . or so the myth would claim.
Morning has another and more pragmatic reputation: the time of attack, of unexpected death intruding rudely and impudently into dawn’s domain. In contrast, that ancient reality is all the more gruesome. It is said among observers—at least among those of a sensitive nature—that the horrible irony and tragedy of dying at first light is reflected in the expressions of the newly dead. Only then has the mythology played its final deception.
—SHIG MOSADEK, DONOVAN PORT AUTHORITY, 2153
From Outpost by W. Michael Gear
The planet and it’s biogeography is the most interesting character in this book. Extremely dangerous creatures, lethal plant life and an exceptionally diverse landscape, from desert to deep forest, are what make up Donovan. And the planet is what shapes people and events for better and for worse.
The people are as diverse as Donovan’s landscape. Soldiers, corporate climbers, dreamers, miners, mechanics, settlers and hard-core colonizers. In Outpost, the circumstances on both Donovan and the ship Turalon leave many bitterly disappointed and scared. Some will make the most of it, others will give up.
Talina is the most interesting human character due to the fact that she has the essence of a quetzal inside her after hunting the creature that stole a baby from the settlement. It gives her enhanced senses, quick reactions and interesting internal conversations. That soul of the quetzal has a life of its own after the body dies. Is it another life form? Is Talina the only human that has experienced this condition? How intelligent are quetzals? They are an alien creature to be reckoned with. (If this sounds interesting, see the excerpt at the end of the review.)
Most of the action takes place on the planet, but look at the cover art. That image is from a ship out in space. It had been lost, but when it turns up, the horrific discoveries do nothing to calm anyone, on the ship or on the planet. There are some terrible, fascinating things going on in space. Is it connected to the planet? Don’t know. There is no answer to that question. Not in this book anyway.
There is a cliffhanger ending (which should get it a reduction in awarded stars, but somehow it doesn’t) with all the baddies vowing to claim all the power for their own. Abandoned, the next book in the series is due in November, so I don’t have too long to wait. Do I really want to read a book titled Abandoned? It doesn’t sound like a HEA, which is my preferred type of book.
When I first finished this book, I wasn’t sure if I would continue with the series. Honestly, there are too many not-so-nice, power-hungry, morally corrupt people and not enough really good people. But as I let it settle in my memory I really began to appreciate the inspired complex tale, amazing settings, and intriguing characters – heroes, conspirators and plotters. Yes, I recommend Outpost and yes, I will risk reading Abandoned when it is available.
Excerpt about Talina and the Quetzal
The quetzal fixed her with its three black and gleaming eyes. The beast wobbled as if hurt. Took a step, then another.
The quetzal uttered an eerie moan as it raised itself sluggishly. Less than a meter separated her from the three vitreous eyes. The creature blasted out a trilling whistle mixed with a hiss of rage. Crystal drops of moisture caught the light in diamond sparkles where they beaded on the razor-ranks of teeth.
“So, you’re taking as many with you as you can,” Talina told it, dazzled by the glow behind those angry eyes. And in that instant, she could sense the alien intelligence behind that stare.
“Not that I blame you.”
The quetzal replied with a clicking down in its iridescent throat, as if in agreement.
Why the hell hadn’t Trish taken the final shot? What was keeping . . . Of course, this far down into the narrow-walled canyon, Trish didn’t have a shot. Couldn’t see the target.
“Sorry, pal.” Talina granted the beast a weary smile. Blood was running down the side of her head.
The beast kept wobbling on its feet, mortally wounded. Gaze still fixed on hers, it tilted its head, as though in an effort to understand. It gestured with one of the wickedly clawed forefeet, as if demanding something of her. She could almost feel the bottled emotion as the beast whipped its tongue out between the elongated jaws.
She screamed as it made one final leap.
From Outpost by W. Michael Gear
Add Outpost to your Goodreads shelf: