Top positive review
Glynn Stewart continues to delight with an excellent third Mage novel
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2016
Glynn Stewart's Damien series (Starship's Mage, Hand of Mars, and now Voice of Mars) continues, with this third installment, to be an entertaining and at times thought-provoking series. Its hallmarks include:
(1) a future human society which is refreshingly positive overall (though certainly with its share of bad actors)
(2) a science-based storyline where technology has advanced considerably, but the only way to transcend Einstein's limits is to use "magic", a form of human mental energy originally developed through forced genetic manipulation, but now practiced by a guild of Mages as a service to humanity (except for the aforementioned bad actors)
(3) an emphasis on personalities, situations, and story, rather than detailed science concepts
The basic story revolves around Damien Montgomery, a young Mage who originally struggled just to find a place in society, but discovered a unique gift within himself that has allowed him to enter service to the Mage-King, and become a very powerful diplomat and enforcer of the peace. In this installment, Damien has come into his own as the King's Hand, and is sent on an important mission to prevent a simmering conflict from erupting into open war.
This third novel is another excellent book. I gave it four stars instead of five mainly because I felt that some of the initial qualities which attracted me to Damien, such as his exploration of his abilities, the moral dilemmas he faced, and his introspective nature, were subsumed beneath the events of the story. This novel was about politics and about space combat, with some elements of whodunit and heavy foreshadowing. Still very well done, but just not the same type of "wonder" that I felt when I originally read Starship's Mage.
Fans of the series will definitely enjoy this new story. But, if you are new to the series, you should definitely read Starship's Mage first - I guarantee you will love that novel, and will probably become hooked on Glynn Stewart's writing (just as I have!)
Side note: Glynn's "Castle Federation" series (two books, so far) is also an excellent read; a bit more of a military sf storyline, with some very compelling characters.
Glynn - keep on keepin' on, we are enjoying the ride!!