The Dawn of Mars by Jeff Ferry

The Dawn of Mars by Jeff Ferry
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (298 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Revolution has come to Mars. Max Lupine has been secretly creating a virus to pacify and enslave the populace. However, a mining accident triggers a premature release of the virus and sets off a pandemic that causes the majority of the populace to become mindless killers. Beverly Gibson, lead scientist of the Delta Dig, tries to rally a resistance not only to battle the infected that roam the populated living domes of Mars, but to stop Max Lupine from consolidating his despotic power. Beverly is assisted by Edgar Lourdes who is the only man on the planet with the ability to diagnose and combat the virus. He must discover how the virus was created and how to save the millions of people living on Mars. Recently arrived Thomas Stargell must battle across the Martian landscape to find Beverly’s resistance group and help them break Max Lupine’s control of the communications on Mars. He must attempt to contact Earth and hope they will come to the aid of the beleaguered Martians. When Lupine discovers how to control the infected the stage is set for a final showdown to find out who will control the future of Mars. Beverly’s rebels and Lupine’s forces meet in a climactic planet wide showdown that will cost many their lives and force the people of Mars to become revolutionaries or find themselves under the control of a madman.

It isn’t wise to start a revolution at the same time that a pandemic is spreading. Or is it?

Some of my favorite passages in this book were the ones that described how the Martian cities were laid out. The descriptions of them were so thorough that I genuinely felt as though I’d just finished walking up and down their streets. They were perfect setting for this tale given all of the changes their buildings have seen as one human generation gave way to the next.

It took a while for me to get into the story because so much time was spent introducing the characters and describing what life on Mars was like for average people. While I appreciated all of these details later on, including so many of them in the beginning did slow down the pacing of it. I had to plough through the first fifty pages or so before the plot picked up.

The explanation for the origin of the virus was well done. It fit all of the hints about where it might have come from that were dropped early on, but it still managed to surprise me in a few places. I also enjoyed the time that Mr. Ferry spent telling the audience where it came from and showing why it was so dangerous.

I would have liked to see more time spent on character development. It was hard to keep everyone straight because there were so many of them running around. Their personalities weren’t given an opportunity to develop to the point where I could tell the difference between two people based on how they behaved or spoke. Even knowing a few key facts about the most important characters would have made it much easier for me to remember who was who.

There’s definitely something to be said for intelligent protagonists. One of the things I was able to figure out about the main characters is that most of them were smart. They tended to be fairly cautious in new situations. That isn’t something that happens too often in this genre, so I was pleasantly surprised by how Mr. Ferry wrote those sections.

The Dawn of Mars is a good choice for anyone who likes science fiction that is heavily plot driven.

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