Publisher: Severed Press
On a routine escort mission to a human colony, Lieutenant Michael Chalmers is pulled out of hyper-sleep a month early. The RSA Rockne Hummel is well off course and—as the ship’s navigator—it’s up to him to figure out why. It’s supposed to be a simple fix, but when he attempts to identify their position in the known universe, nothing registers on his scans. Nothing at all. The vessel has catapulted beyond the reach of starlight by at least a hundred trillion light-years.
Then a planetary-mass object materializes behind them. It’s burning brightly even without a star to heat it. Hundreds of damaged ships are locked in its orbit, but before the scanners go offline, the crew discovers there are no life-signs aboard any of them.
As system failures sweep through the Hummel, neither Chalmers nor the pilot can prevent the vessel from crashing into the surface near a mysterious ancient city. And that’s where the real nightmare begins.
REVIEW FROM JONATHAN HULS
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All action, all the time. That’s how Joseph William’s novel, Furnace, reads for nearly every page of the book. First Lieutenant Chalmers, the narrator of the book, is tossed onto an unfamiliar ship with unfamiliar people, then lured to take a shortcut that results in their spaceship unexpectedly arriving at a planet so far beyond our universe that there are no stars in the sky.
Chalmers is chucked into a blender of a planet with an abundance of vicious aliens, when he is suddenly sent on a seemingly suicide mission on the surface of the planet by his crazed captain after their crash landing. The author’s writing is superb, particularly landscapes and situations; his descriptions of some of the aliens on the other hand come off as somewhat ‘off-the-mark’.
Chapters are vibrant and exciting. So much so that I regularly had to stop reading (usually to walk off the anxiety while getting a snack or cold beverage) because they were simply too intense and stressful. Readers are sure to connect with the main character and many of the situations he is placed in, and will rally and cheer for him in every horrendous situation he finds himself in.
There also seemed to be some inaccuracies in the book or instances that just weren’t explained well enough to make complete sense in my layman’s mind. In one instance, a crew member’s head is exploding because of the planet’s atmospheric conditions. In the next instance, the main character tangles with the clown, which violently shatters the face shield on his helmet, but nothing happens to the character. Even after a second read of those portions of the book, in an attempt to get clarification, I could not figure out why each of the occasions resulted so differently.
Furnace reads very linearly. With so much action packed into every chapter, I would have personally benefited from and enjoyed a parallel story line or several flash backs of Chalmers previous experiences instead of only hearing his internal dialogue during the nonstop exhilaration. A change in pace would have been well received and would have likely broken up the book to allow for longer timeframes of reading.
If you like books that are filled to the brim with the main character being tossed into impossible situations and escaping repeatedly by the skin of their teeth, this book is perfect for you. If you are like me and you enjoy action but need it delivered to you in manageable bites, you will relish your time with Furnace, but will want a second book standing by to break up the unrelenting tension.
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