This YA sci-fi novel, set on a recently colonized Mars, is imaginative and fresh, featuring a fine stable of characters led by 14-year-old Amber Jacobsen, daughter of NASA astronauts and the only child to be born on Mars. After asteroids pummeled the Earth in 2025, humanity took to the moon and then Mars to establish permanent colonies. Rather than focusing on the emigration from Earth, the novel concerns the nascent Martian colonies as they struggle to survive a forbidding climate and the corrupt bureaucracy of the Mars Development Authority (MDA).
After an altercation with two villainous MDA leaders, the Jacobsen family moves to the Green, the most successful of the colonies and the closest to establishing autonomy from the MDA and its stranglehold politics. When mysterious happenings such as a missing spacecraft and sabotaged dwellings arrest her interest, precocious Amber resolves to solve the mystery of the missing Ares III spacecraft and, in so doing, uncovers secrets some would kill to protect. The book is expertly paced and plotted, blending cosmic adventure with coming of age, and the setting, politics and technology of the story are rich and detailed without being overbearing.
Harold Miller, Mars Society Founding Member posted this review (January 2011):
Finding Science Fiction that is both believable and well written can be a challenge. Locating stories that are hopeful, positive and suited to a younger audience, even more so. In The Shadow Of Ares is a book I can enthusiastically endorse. Set on a Mars base that uses equipment and technology recognizable to anyone who’s listened to a “Mars Direct” talk, the setting was at once familiar. Amber, the fourteen year old center of this tale, shows us that even on a new world, some problems don’t seem to change. Her adventures are both riveting and quite entertaining. If you’ve ever been a fan of Robert Heinlein’s early works, you’ll like In The Shadow Of Ares. Young adults will empathize with Amber’s issues dealing with grown-ups, while us old-timers enjoy the action packed adventure.
I reviewed this book on an Amazon Kindle, a device that fit right in with the story’s setting. Folks, I almost believe the future is here, now. Download this E-Book today.