Saturday 16 October 2021

The Vines of Mars - A.R.K. Watson - A Seeded Sky Book

The Vines of Mars: 
Murder on a Small Colonial Planet
A Seeded Sky Book
ISBN 9798654754073

This was the second story from A.R.K. Watson that I have read. Both this one and The Dunes: A Novella came highly recommended. Her works follow in a log line of Catholic Science Fiction stories. Reading this I was reminded of Sacred Visions edited by Andrew M. Geeley and the two volumes edited by Karina Fabian; Infinite Space, Infinite God II, and Infinite Space, Infinite God. This story is a little dark and has some serious edge to it. This book is a very good read, Watson to date only has the two published works and they were released a few months apart in 2020. But as the first novel it is an impressive effort.

The description of the novel is:

“Tomás was born on Earth, but all he’s known is the hard life of a farmer on the wild frontier of Mars. As a child he lost his sister to a violent dust storm and but longs to know what happened and if her remains lie somewhere in the man-eating vine forest. When a stranger walks out of the desert and shows him where his sister’s body is, he’s pulled from the predictable days of a farmer and into a world of life and death.

To solve the mystery, Tomás will have to dive into the secrets of this violent planet, brave forces of nature he does not comprehend, and stay one step ahead of a killer who may be coming after the rest of his family.”

The story is more than just religious fiction. It is also more than a murder mystery in space. The story is well written with great characters, they are fleshed out and with solid back stories. The story has some very interesting twists and turns, much like the vines that have invaded the red planet. How far would you go to find a sibling’s killer, what would you be willing to risk? Tomás is forced to find out in this story. 

I stated of Watson’s other story that it “reminded me of Ray Bradbury’s stories in The October Country, and two of his novels. It is a tightly written story. Some will call this story unnerving, others eerie, some even dark and disturbing.” The same can be said for this story. Towards the end of the story, we find out something that will not only impact this colonizing effort but all of man kind’s future in space. And it leaves you desperate for the next story in the series. 

This novel was a great first effort. An excellent read in a classic Science Fiction style. The works of A.R.K. Watson are well worth the effort. Great for fans of Catholic fiction. Those who like a mystery with a bit of a darker edge. And for fans of the Science fiction Genre. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by A.R.K. Watson:

A Seeded Sky Series:

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