Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gabriel' Return Reviewed

Okay, so I know I promised this for Monday, but as everyone has experienced life, the day job and other "stuff" happens. But I always deliver even if a little delayed.
So without further adieu here are my humble thought on Steve Umstead's Gabriel's Return.

                
NAF Navy Commander Evan Gabriel receives an interrupted message from a former mission team member. The only problem is that for years, Commander Gabriel believed he was the only survivor of the ill-fated mission to Eden. The message from Katoa speaks of a terrorist group and dangerous weapons, so Gabriel must take a new team back to Eden and to confront the terrorists and its strange, dangerous jungle. Can he lead this team to success or is it another trap?

                Gabriel’s Return is the second book of Steve Umstead’s Evan Gabriel Trilogy.

                Full disclosure: I know Steve Umstead well as a fellow member of PubWriteGroup. Our association with each other and our fellows in Pubwrite has been and will continue to be based on honest feedback that helps each other grow as writers.  There is no compensation, direct or indirect, for this review.

                Umstead brings back Evan Gabriel, the remaining members of the team assembled in Gabriel’s Redemption and new characters that intrigue and entertain. Umstead continues to deepen his characters, even secondary ones to create a cast that is as diverse and fascinating as the flora and fauna of the jungles of Eden. Speaking of the setting, the rich description of animals and plants that are just different enough from anything found on Earth to be unique but similar enough to create a visual image in this reader’s mind made this a treat. I am not generally a reader of science fiction, particularly the overly technical type.  Umstead’s worlds and technology are clearly alien and futuristic but at the same time accessible. Gabriel’s personal growth and is struggles with his warrior (destruction) nature and his peacemaker (community builder) nature reveals itself as his personal battleground.

                I initially read, Gabriel’s Redemption, the first book of the trilogy and enjoyed it.  This second novel by Steve Umstead is even better. Steve is a master of mechanics and Gabriel’s Return is no exception.  From a plot, pacing and structure perspective, Return is even better. The writing is tighter adding to the tension and fast paced action. Personalities are were drawn with even seeming secondary characters have a distinct presence and role in moving the plot and/or my understanding of Gabriel or his key antagonist, the mysterious man called only The Prophet. If I had one suggestion, it would be to continue to refine the Evan Gabriel character. He has the potential to be richly layered and worthy of more than just a trilogy.

                I look forward to watching both Steve Umstead, the author, and Evan Gabriel, the warrior politician, grow and change.
                 NAF Navy Commander Evan Gabriel receives an interrupted message from a former mission team member. The only problem is that for years, Commander Gabriel believed he was the only survivor of the ill-fated mission to Eden. The message from Katoa speaks of a terrorist group and dangerous weapons, so Gabriel must take a new team back to Eden and to confront the terrorists and its strange, dangerous jungle. Can he lead this team to success or is it another trap?

                Gabriel’s Return is the second book of Steve Umstead’s Evan Gabriel Trilogy.

                Full disclosure: I know Steve Umstead well as a fellow member of PubWriteGroup. Our association with each other and our fellows in Pubwrite has been and will continue to be based on honest feedback that helps each other grow as writers.  There is no compensation, direct or indirect, for this review.

                Umstead brings back Evan Gabriel, the remaining members of the team assembled in Gabriel’s Redemption and new characters that intrigue and entertain. Umstead continues to deepen his characters, even secondary ones to create a cast that is as diverse and fascinating as the flora and fauna of the jungles of Eden. Speaking of the setting, the rich description of animals and plants that are just different enough from anything found on Earth to be unique but similar enough to create a visual image in this reader’s mind made this a treat. I am not generally a reader of science fiction, particularly the overly technical type.  Umstead’s worlds and technology are clearly alien and futuristic but at the same time accessible. Gabriel’s personal growth and is struggles with his warrior (destruction) nature and his peacemaker (community builder) nature reveals itself as his personal battleground.

                I initially read, Gabriel’s Redemption, the first book of the trilogy and enjoyed it.  This second novel by Steve Umstead is even better. Steve is a master of mechanics and Gabriel’s Return is no exception.  From a plot, pacing and structure perspective, Return is even better. The writing is tighter adding to the tension and fast paced action. Personalities are were drawn with even seeming secondary characters have a distinct presence and role in moving the plot and/or my understanding of Gabriel or his key antagonist, the mysterious man called only The Prophet. If I had one suggestion, it would be to continue to refine the Evan Gabriel character. He has the potential to be richly layered and worthy of more than just a trilogy.

                I look forward to watching both Steve Umstead, the author, and Evan Gabriel, the warrior politician, grow and change.

                I award Steve Umstead’s Gabriel’s Return                   4-1/2 
               
For those who are wondering, that is a triskele, an ancient symbol thought to represent the three worlds of Druidry and the unity between the worlds.
               
     Both books are available for Kindle, Nook, in paperback. Visit Steve's website  or the PubWriteGroup site for more information