The Late Great Benjamin Bale by John Joseph Doody

The Late Great Benjamin Bale by John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (346 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

The destinies of two men depend on Maggie Thorn. One is dying and the other is dead…or is he? Supreme Fleet Commander, Admiral Geoff Grangore knows of only one man who could get Maggie to Timmerus and back while traitorous eyes are watching. That man is an old drunk who lives deep in the Thandimonean wilderness with his pet Eno, Snot. Benjamin Bale is suicidal and cantankerous, and Maggie can’t stand him—at first. Bale is a dead man. At least, that’s what everyone was told. But this dead man has a final mission to perform. The greatest star pilot in the galaxy has a chance to redeem himself and make right a great wrong. A wrong which he can never forgive or forget. A wrong that cost him everything.

This book continues the story of The Wonk Decelerator and this time Captain Maggie Thorn is the leading character. Maggie is a feisty lady who rules her ship in a fair but strict manner. Charged with murder, rescued and sent on a suicide mission to retrieve the scientist who knows most about the Wonk Decelerator from a planet he is unable to leave, her mission seems doomed to failure. Failure is not in Maggie’s vocabulary and she has to return to see if the man she loves, Thad Cochran, still lives.

I met Captain Maggie in the first book of this series and thought her a hard hitting woman who didn’t allow her emotions to interfere with her job. This time round I found her slightly weak at the beginning, but growing in strength and determination as the story evolved.

When Benjamin Bale agrees to help the Captain it seems that failure is almost a certainty, but Benjamin has hidden depths as does his alien companion, Snot. Technology plays a big part in this universe, but only a small part in the actual story. Maggie prefers martial arts instead of hand weapons.

I liked the way the story switched from one planet to another, but each scene was as long as necessary to involve me. I have to admit I might have missed something here as I still have no idea what a Wonk is. They inhabit a different space to the Earth universe, but where they come from or what they do is still a mystery to me.

On the whole a good idea developed in an unusual way. It’s stronger than the first book and leaves questions to be answered by any future novels in the series.


  1. Thank you for another great, insightful review of my Guild books. In response to your comments on the Wonks (what they are) below is an excerpt from my third Guild book, Return of the Crimson Witch. The conversation is between Thad and Gravian and I’m doing this snippet to avoid spoilers. This story is scheduled to be released by my publisher on Dec 8, 2014 and is still in line editing. Maybe this will help a little–reading book 3 will help a a lot:
    “Our friend, Kleevon, calls Wonk space, Eerindark. Have you heard that term before, Commander?’
    Thad nodded and closed the dome. “It’s the Bashtier place of the dead.”
    As they strapped in and Thad throttled up the engines, he said, “Do you suppose it’s possible? Could we somehow be treading on sacred ground?”
    Gravian shook his head. “I think the little Wonks are playing with our gray matter and we need to learn how to control it if we are to succeed at this mode of travel.”

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