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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Ark by Patrick S. Tomlinson

This novel is brilliant! I hardly ever use exclamation points in reviews but I really believe this book has earned it. Rarely can I pick up a sci-fi novel and be completely absorbed in its story, but there's something very special about The Ark. The mystery, the military conspiracy and the human interactions are just a few things that make this story so gripping. I also think it's the subtle way the author was able to illustrate the fragility and the resilience of the human race

The book feels very similar to Robert J. Sawyer's Red Planet Blues, but it still manages to retain its originality. Like Sawyer's novel, it's a mystery/thriller that just happens to be set in space. In The Ark, we follow Chief Bryan Benson as he investigates the murder of Edmond Laraby, an important geneticist for the survival of the human race. His suspect list is 50 000 long, so basically anyone on board the ark, the ship that hold the last of the human race. The ark is on a two centuries old voyage to a new planet since Earth has probably been destroyed by a black hole called Nibiru. Some believe it was an act of God, others think it's a message to the human race to take better care of its resources. Benson has his theories and his hunches, but being led on a wild goose chase leads him nowhere near the real killer.

Benson has no real experience dealing with murder investigations. What he knows is limited to old Earth movies. His duties are usually limited to enforcing conservations codes, codes that are written to help ensure human survival with its limited resources. Since the ship is fast approaching its final destination, Tau Ceti G, Benson needs to solve this mystery before the Flip, less than two weeks away. His hunches are telling him that something else is about to happen that might put the whole ship at risk. Unfortunately, terrorism isn't something that died with Earth. A small faction of terrorists seem to have emerged from the depth of the ship, and Benson has no proof and no leads to tracking them down. He really believes there's a link between the Laraby murder and the possible terrorist threat, however, he has no way to prove it.

While the author took the time to describe who is on the ship and what it's general mission is, the writing could be a little bit more refined, especially when it comes to describing the ship and its hierarchy. Some scenes were a little bit rough, but as the series moves on, and the author gains more experience, I anticipate better quality in the future. The character building was also quite limited and I would have liked more background information on the main characters. I do appreciate the little details such as the food available on the ship, and some of the technology described. I'm also really glad the author uses the metric system, despite the fact the book was published in the USA. And as a big sports fan, I'm delighted the author took the time to develop a sport that can be played in space. I mean, two centuries is a long time and humanity does need entertainment to stay sane.

As a whole, I definitely recommend this book, not just for this series debut, but for the possibility of what's to come. There's so much more to be told, especially since so many secrets and lies were exposed in the last few pages of the book. Also, the ship hasn't even arrived to its final destination, and already you can feel the anticipation about landing on a new planet. The Ark and Patrick S. Tomlinson certainly deserve more recognition and I strongly urge you to become their next supporter.





Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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