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Gulag Moon Reviews



Diane Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, January 2012


GULAG MOON is the novella prequel to the Chronos Military Science Fiction series, is set in the year 2113, and is a 'must' introduction for any reader of the Chronos series. This isn't to say that prior fans won't find it immensely satisfying to 'go back in time': just that newcomers to the series will find GULAG MOON neatly sets the place and tone for the following sagas.

 GULAG MOON introduces the character of Zach Murphy, the main protagonist in the other titles, at a stage of his life when his military training is just beginning. On a planet uncommonly rich in natural resources the Mining Syndicate has dropped off a thousand unwanted factory workers to struggle for survival.

 GULAG MOON tells of that event and the struggles and growth that ensue, and it's told from the viewpoint of  freedom fighter Zep Hedgewick, who is the property of the Syndicate but who plans on spending his life opposing their repressive ways.

 Zep's meeting with Zach Murphy will change his life, transforming him from an ineffective part-time black marketer to a worthy opponent of the Syndicate. The two meet outside of school during a robbery attempt where Zep has been instructed to help mug Zach. Zach easily thwarts the assault, spares Zep, and the two form a bond that will change their lives.

 As they both become immersed in battles against the Syndicate, the Syndicate tightens food supplies and resources in an effort to starve out the gulag. Both Zep and Zach undergo further training that lead them to be invited to join the Rybos Militia, then find themselves caught by another militia who are also journeying to Rybos Five.

 There they face laser array battles in the jungle, EMP attacks, and rapidly changing alliances on the battlefield, all of which hone Zach's military skills and bring him ever closer to being a seasoned leader of opposition forces, with Zep as his less savvy sidekick.

 The military encounters and descriptions of high-tech battles are vivid and changing, reinforcing Zach's coming of age and also offering a satisfying contrast between Zep's abilities and Zach's growing leadership skills. Zep becomes a lieutenant in his own right and leads defenses against EMP and laser weaponry and other military devices, using their own high-tech tools for response.

 GULAG MOON is a cat-and-mouse game well played: jungle advancements and retreats, check and checkmate battles, and military strategy played out well by both sides all keep the action fast-paced and the main protagonists edgy and well-developed. Zach learns to deftly field technologically advanced weaponry despite some disasters, and grows stronger with each encounter.

 By novel's end Zep has been transformed from a bumbling sidekick to a military man with his own powers and passions - and Zach has moved from a soldier to a leader. The friendship that originally bound the two men deepens throughout conflicts and results in a rich connection by the conclusion of GULAG MOON, which promises further satisfying adventures in the Chronos series.

 


The BaryonReview

Tom is the author of the exciting Chronos Series and this too brief novella is a prequel to the earlier books. This is the story of the meeting of Zep Hedgewick and Zach Murphy who are major characters in the other books of the trilogy.

Zep and Zach meet during high school and seem to be on different paths until the machinations of the Mining Syndicate starts transporting older factory workers to a forest moon and leaves them to fend for themselves. They must learn to survive and prepare for an eventual showdown with the Syndicate.

Zach recruits Zep into an underground movement against the Syndicate and this story of their adventures shows their growth and experiences as they mature into the characters of the other works in this series.

This is an enjoyable, although, short adventure that will help you learn more about the characters and their motives. Check all of the books in the series on Amazon.com.