Nine Planets by Greg Byrne is the first book I’ve read that combines science fiction and the Santa Claus myth. Original idea!
We first meet our protagonist, Corporal Peter Blackwell, when he wakes up from a coma with a head injury at a medical facility of North American Space and Air Defence. They tell him that he’s a “dungeon watcher” for the NASAD and that he’s suffered an accident – one that has left him with amnesia.
Blackwell finds himself having weird memories of smells and sounds, in a world where suicide – the Black Despair – is a common occurrence, and also learns that bound up with his identity is a vital secret that must remain concealed because the future of millions of lives is at stake. The secret is linked to a comet that’s approaching earth, and there are those who will stop at nothing to extract his secret, then kill him.
Nine Planets is a very real, human story with multiple layers. It is a story about hope, a theme explored in a setting where suicide is completely acceptable. Peter Blackwell is a sympathetic protagonist. Brave, determined, and loyal, he’s surrounded by an interesting array of secondary characters.
Byrne is a talented storyteller who pays special attention to language and possesses a writing style at times simple and straightforward, at others lyrical. The technical and science aspects are very well done as well. Part mystery, part thriller,Nine Planets is a science fiction novel quite different from others on the market. If you love SF novels and thrillers, I recommend you give this one a try.
Purchase from Amazon.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.