The Sword of Agrippa by Gregory Lloyd

The Sword of Agrippa by Gregory Lloyd
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (48 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It is 2020. A rogue scientist’s search for dark energy collides with the interests of those profiting from a lucrative, stagnant status quo. Computerized sensors are now more common than computers and smart phones.

Graphene is now being produced in large quantities and ever more powerful properties have been discovered.

Roy Swenson, banned from the US, hits Prague on a quest for energy which will transform the world and lead to a new tech revolution, a new renaissance.

Mainstream leaders in science, industry and religion have become enemies. Dark energy could render entire industries obsolete. Discoveries threaten religious dogma.

Roy, empowered by tragedy, will not back down. Every life has a purpose and he knows what his is.

Roy’s dreams take him to Egypt as a young Roman soldier, Marcus Agrippa. He falls for Samia, an Egyptian slave priestess. In the secret chambers of the Great Library, she guides him through mysteries political and cosmic. Mysteries now hidden behind the veils of history and conquest.

Science and religion answer completely different sets of questions. What happens, then, when the line between them begins to bleed?

Roy’s dreams provided some of the most interesting scenes for me to read. They were so richly detailed yet oh so subtly affected by the fuzzy logic that can creep into even the crispest dream that for a moment I briefly wondered if I were actually still awake. It isn’t easy to write such convincing snapshots of dreams, so I was impressed by how well Mr. Lloyd fleshed them out.

I found the first third of this short story confusing due to how much happens during it as well as the limited amount of time that was spent explaining certain key plot points.The two main characters had such similar voices that I also sometimes had trouble telling them apart. Everything made much more sense once I was a dozen or so pages into it, but it was frustrating to not know what was going on for such a large percentage of the plot.

This tale is the first in a series of instalments, which isn’t something that I realized when I requested it. It sets up the background information and conflicts quite well, and even begins to unravel some of the biggest questions facing these characters. It will be intriguing to see how my criticisms of this tale hold up once the characters have had a chance to explore more of the worlds they inhabit and explain certain details of it to the audience a little better. In the meantime, this can be read as a standalone piece, although I know that I’m curious to know what happens next!

The Sword of Agrippa is a good choice for fans of hard science fiction, especially if they already know a little something about neurology or microchips.

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