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NARC #4: Aphelion
All roads lead to the homeworlds. The Scorpio data-trail ... the Michiko dossier ... it's all pointing in one direction, and Jarrat and Stone can only follow it to Earth. Mars. They find themselves in the timeless cities of ancient worlds, which have grown dark, wicked. Corrupt. For the outsider -- the stranger, colonial, mutoid -- it's a mean arena that can seem oddly alien, and is undeniably dangerous. For the 'Earther' headed back in, like Stone himself, it's not what one expected, nor a place where one would choose to be.
The action takes the NARC captains to Chicago, Marsport and the incredible skycities of the Jupiter system -- new-old worlds on what was once known as the high frontier. These worlds have become new battlefields, but Death wears the same old face.
Aerosports and Angel packwar -- the launch of a super-carrier -- the death of a friend...
Nothing is as it seems. Very soon Jarrat and Stone learn to trust only those they know and believe only what they see, as they and the key elements of the carrier NARC-Athena bend the rules to breaking-point -- and beyond.
Read the first 10% of this novel right here, in PDF format
(Caveat: material in this free sample is not suitable for juniors. Consider yourself warned!)
Length: 185,000 words
Rated: R (sex, violence, language)
Publication date: November 2007
Price: $9.99 - ebook
Want to know more about NARC? Click here for a collection of articles, interviews and features which open a window into this amazing world!
APHELION REVIEWED BY DENNY B.
Aaaaahhhhhh, at last! I have it in my hands!!! I'm reading it!!! In fact, stayed up past midnight to finish. Woah. This one has everything. Can't hardly believe the amount there is in this book. And it's a page-turner from the get-go. Don't even ask me to name my fave part. Well .... maybe .... the scene in the storm in Harry's garden ;-) .... and then the 'sim' scene in the middle of the book before the ship arrives at Earth ... woooo. I also really like having TWO guys doing the undercover work. Bring it on. More please, soon please. And I want to take my next vacation on Mars!!
APHELION REVIEWED BY BUCKEROO BONSAI
Now, this is the book I've waited fifteen years for. Since reading (devouring / inhaling / ingesting) the original Death's Head (which we all now know was abridged within an inch of its very life), I've wanted (longed / yearned / begged) to see the planet Earth. To know where Stoney comes from. To see what's become of human society (politics / fashion / environment). I freedly admit, this is the kind of sci-fi I like. There are no monsters and Earth is not being invaded for the umpteeth time. [MARGINALLY OFF TOPIC HERE: There are also no characters in alien costume (meaning, human actors who look almost 100% homosapien till one arrives at the head, where the unfortunate performer is wearing a large, often grotesque, rubber creation. Trek. Farscape, Stargate. Babylon. Star Wars ... it's been a Hollywood trend since somebody glued a pair of anetnnae on an actor whose face had been painted blue. I suppose I have nothing major against TV/cinematic SF; however, one grows weary of the masks, and aliens who appear so weird and then behave in ways that are so completely human, you can only go out for another bucket of guacamole dip and hope for better luck after the commercial break. I digress, for which, profuse apologies -- but having said all of the above, you now know a little about me, and will perhaps value my opinions of Mr. Keegan's work all the more highly!] The NARC novels are about HUMANS BEING HUMAN, in a world that is very different ... yet strangely the same. One can see exactly how the world of Keegan's twenty-fourth century evolved, item by item, from our own world. Put another way, you could take the world in which the NARC books take place, and reverse-engineer it step by step -- and end in our own world. As each novel was released (the first two from GMP, the latter works via DreamCraft) I was on tenterhooks to see if Keegan could maintain the sheer logic of the world-building, at the same time as keep up the integrity of the purely human drama. Ten out of ten. Five stars out of five in the Buckeroo Bonsai Great SF Guide. And as I began, the facet I've been waiting for was to explore the planet Earth, see where Stoney (my favourite; sorry; one isn't supposed to pick favourites, but there you have it ... guilty as charged) grew up. APHELION delivers, value plus. Highly recommended, if you're looking for human drama, gay romance, and a kind of sci-fi that has seldom been done to date -- and has never been done better.
READERS WHO ENJOY NARC ALSO LOVE HELLGATE:
Mel Keegan comments on APHELION
Making up the catalog in February 2007, we were careful not to say too much regarding the plot. We don't want to give the plot of APHELION away, and we were also mindful that some NARC fans had not yet read SCORPIO, so we were leery of doing plot spoilers. (The reason some NARC readers have not yet -- even now -- read SCORPIO and STOPOVER is simply that the advertising for the MK novels with DreamCraft is only now commencing. To this point, the vast majority of readers have found us a search engine such as Google, which sent them to Mel Keegan Online. Fact One: the number of NARC fans we still need to reach far exceeds those who have found us on their own. Fact Two: we're about to remedy this, at last!)
In this fourth Jarrat and Stone opus, the carrier Athena is returning to Earth. We see the launch of the new carrier... go to an aeroball game ... visit Stoney's old stomping grounds ... and we'll see city bottom on Earth and Mars. Every question arising from the enigmatic note on which SCORPIO closed is answered; and as MK says (with a secretive and somewhat smug look), "All is not what it seems, and Jarrat and Stone will be wading in it."
For those who loved the previous books, APHELION is an absolute blast. And if you've not read SCORPIO and/or STOPOVER yet -- it's time to. APHELION very definitely builds on story concepts from both of those titles, especially SCORPIO, and you'll know you're not quite on the same page with everyone else. (Know that 'I must've missed an episode' feeling?!)
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