Environmental disasters and uncontrolled AI armies have caused the human population of Earth to flee. They lie scattered across innumerable space stations and colonies, overcrowded and suffering. The Earth is cut off by the Interdiction Zone: a network of satellites to prevent anything getting into or out of the planet. The incredible cost of maintaining it has crippled humanity, who struggle under the totalitarian yoke of the Sol Commonwealth government, whose rich grow richer while the poor are on the brink of starvation.
Many have been driven to the edge of society, yearning for freedom and taking any work offered, criminal and otherwise, in order to survive. The crew of the Arcus are just such people.
A client has come to the table claiming to have the codes necessary to penetrate the Interdiction Zone. Once through, a world of priceless artifacts awaits, provided anyone crazy enough to make the run can be found. They ve all heard the rumors ships that have set down, pilfered the ruins of a museum or private collection, and escaped with enough priceless works to retire. Arcus Captain Lynch knows better he’s been on-world before, a brief and harrowing experience that he’s in no hurry to relive. But fuel is running low and cred accounts even lower, and the Arcus survival might depend on taking the job.
Yet on arrival on Earth, the crew discovers that what remains on their world is not as they have been told, and the secrets they find are big enough to bring the entire Sol Commonwealth tumbling down
Author: J. T. Nicholas
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 21/09/2021
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Stolen Earth’: 3 out of 5
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Having enjoyed ‘Re-Coil’ by the same author, I jumped at the chance to grab this one. Although it had enjoyable concepts and plenty of bells and whistles to make it interesting, I felt the overall plot and pacing of said plot, was very slow. I also felt that, in an effort to world build, the author was guilty of introducing a lot of cool things that never really got a chance to do anything or evolve into parts of the world that truly meant anything.
I liked the crew, I never felt overly attached to them (besides Fedarov), but I liked them regardless. I feel that there could have been more done to make them feel like a group than there was. As it stood, they felt like a bunch of individuals more than a group of people that had built bonds together over the course of their time together.
Going back to the ‘stuff was introduced but not allowed to shine’ part, I feel like, if this was the first book of a series, I’d be very interested in seeing where the series went. Especially with the epilogue. The run down of events that happened after the main story could have made a good book or two. As it stands, there’s just a load of things I wanted to see more of and had an interest in, but was never really allowed to come out of the shadow.
I had a bit of an issue with the characters they encounter. Everyone seems to just take things at face value and accept what’s happening as the done thing. It felt a little flat where interactions with characters/entities were concerned. The shock at certain things you’d expect from a real encounter of the likes that were occurring, just wasn’t there. Also, I get why people in space call Earth ‘Old Earth’. They thought it was destroyed. To them it IS Old Earth. But why does EVERYONE they meet on the planet refer to it as Old Earth? It’s literally not old to them. It’s the same place they always lived and it made zero sense. If someone walked into my house and starting referring to it as my old house, I’d quickly correct them rather than let their mania run wild a little longer. It’s things like that that soured me a little toward this one as I think the overall execution was a tad lacking.
Still, the concept is very interesting and there are several points throughout that got me very excited. It’s just the above concerns for me that held this back from a higher score and, if I’m honest, took me a good while longer to finish than originally intended.