Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: Stoke the Flames Higher

The latest release in author Peter Grant's Maxwell Saga came this past weekend.  Stoke the Flames Higher is an action-packed space opera that was filled with suspense from start to finish.  I heartily recommend it.

While the story continues the tale of Steve Maxwell, a member of Lancastrian Commonwealth Navy, it requires little to no knowledge of Maxwell's previous exploits.  Peter Grant has done an excellent job in this novel of making sure you learn enough of Maxwell's background when relevant, while neither regurgitating past tales nor leaving you wondering too much.  (You should buy the earlier novels, anyway, because they're great fun, too.  They start with Take the Star Road.)

In this tale, Steve Maxwell is supporting a diplomatic mission by his Lancastrian Commonwealth. The diplomatic mission seeks to help a planet ensure that members of a religious sect aren't supporting fanatical, terrorist members of that sect in a nearby star system.  Supporting a diplomatic mission may not sound like the start of an action-packed story, but it is.  I shall say little more on the specifics of the plot, to avoid spoilers, but I will say it accelerates rapidly, and has quite a few twists and turns through to the end.

There was a minor formatting problem in the initial release, which has since been fixed.  Otherwise, formatting and typography were quite well done.  The book is nearly free of typographical errors, a rare situation even in major publications these days.  Thankfully, this book is quite clean in that respect.  If I have even the tiniest complaint, it lies elsewhere.

There were a couple places where the main character, Steve Maxwell, makes suggestions that were good, but should have been obvious to another character.  Yet the other character seems somewhat surprised and thankful.  This is at most a very minor annoyance, and story flows so well that I was quickly back to being completely engulfed in the story.

In all, I really liked this book.  Plot, characters, and language all were excellent.  Production values were good.  It is a solid, entertaining, gripping story.  If you liked the previous books in the series, you'll probably like this one.  If you haven't tried the previous books, that's fine, too - give it a try! The price is right - only $4.99 as I write this.

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