Penumbra, a haphazard city of outcasts, rebels, and malcontents, has floated around a dead planet in a backwater system for longer than living memory can recall. Its towers abandoned starships melded to an ancient, mysterious core, Penumbra is the last remnant of chaotic individualism in a galaxy where conformity to the will of the all-powerful Galactic Council is paramount. Dropped into this dangerous mix are Marcus Wells - a Human of Earth who has squandered his potential to live a life of least resistance - and his adventurous friend Justin. Immediately entangled in local politics and targeted by a vengeful representative of the Council who is determined to drag the city back into the fold, Marcus has a choice to make: continue following the path of least resistance and allow Penumbra to fall, or show these aliens what a truly determined Human can accomplish.
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A squid driving a Prius.
Justin wanted a little adventure, a break from being a businessman which is how he and friend Martin find themselves being pursued by a sore loser who had gambled away all his money and a rather stunning necklace, thrown in at the last minute, to make up the bet. A necklace which was to give them far more of an adventure than either of them could have anticipated.
This is a terrific story, initially establishing the characters of the two men and their easy relationship, great dialogue, then moving later into more frenetic fight scenes. Plenty of assorted aliens, too, none of whom are glad to see a human. (There is actually a glossary of the various aliens represented within the Galactic Council at the end of the book, giving brief descriptions of their appearances and temperament)..Very interesting to see the internal changes which come about for Martin. Fun and fast moving, the 17+ hours of this audiobook passed all too quickly.
The narration was excellent, Ray Greenley reading fluently and clearly, well paced and with just the right range of intonation as the excitement grows. His voicings of the various protagonists was also clear, with a range of vocalisations spread throughout. It is definitely his reading which, in part, at least, made this such an enjoyable listen. Although the story is complete, it is obvious that another Shadow novel is to follow.
I have deliberately said little about the storyline to avoid any spoilers: it is not an elaborate tale of itself but has an interesting basic idea which is elaborated and woven into an exciting book, unusual in context. My thanks to the rights holder, from whom I was gifted a complementary copy, via Audiobook Boom. I spent a very enjoyable few hours in the author's world and was sad to leave Justin and Martin behind.
- Norma Miles
Great start to what should be a fun series