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New From Grail Quest Books: Ryus Conflict (Reviewed)

ryus1Greetings fair travelers of the Perilous Realm!  Today I bring you another book review from the fine folks at Grail Quest Books.  This one is a short sci-fi work called Ryus Conflict.  As per usual, let us begin with a brief plot overview.
Ryus conflict takes place in the distant future, with humanity in the first stages of expanding farther into the galaxy as we search for minerals and room for the growing human population.  Ryus is mostly an example of the former, a system full of mineral rich asteroids that are competed over, often violently, by a number of powerful corporations.
These corporations essentially run things, not just through financial influence but militarily as well as the necessities of space travel and associated dangers such as piracy require that they maintain their own navies for protection at the very least.  The book leads us off with one of these corporation navies ambushing another, only to be ambushed themselves by an unknown force.
We then shift to the main characters, Neb, Noah and Neb’s two sons Jason and Darryl who run a successful shipping and security consulting firm in the system.  Initially, they are to be hired to coordinate a push with many of the corporations to rid the outer system of the pirate menace.  However the fact that pirates are moving to the inner planets of the system, the disappearance of the fleet we met in the prologue and a sudden radio silence from the outer reaches of the Ryus system leads to them going on an investigative mission instead.  What they find has the potential to change the system and possibly humanity forever.
So how does the author handle the story line presented?  Overall, very well.  He does a fine job of building a believable world that is clearly set in the future but anchored in basic political and economic principles that will be familiar to anyone with a working knowledge of the colonial period.  Within this context, the author is able to use both the prologue and the movements of the pirates from the outer to the inner system to build a substantial sense of mystery in surprisingly few pages.
The characters are also done quite well, especially the relationship between Neb and his sons, which allows us to get to know all three.  Noah also is realized quite well through his interaction with Neb and their casting as longtime friends who have seen combat together is certainly believable.  Mai Salis, a colleague of the Oro’s and an operative of the Black Diamond Corporation presents us with the by now well-worn trope of the beautiful but lethal co-star of the story.  To be fair, the trope may be all-too familiar by now but it is done well here, with Salis being extremely capable but not so far above everyone else’s level as to be ridiculous.
There are occasional missteps of course.  The author does have a tendency to fall back on melodrama towards the end of a scene and also tends at times to try too hard to avoid using certain stock phrases.  While the effort is to be respected, it tends to create unnecessarily awkward phrasing that takes one out of the experience.
What do the Oro’s find?  That I will leave you to discover.  I will only say that it is clear that the author has put a great deal of thought into developing this story as certain common tropes of his chosen villains are avoided that will make further installments of this series more interesting than they might have been.
So be sure to check out Ryus Conflict Pt. 1 in the Middle Earth Market Place, you’ll be glad you did.

About thefairytaletraveler

Catholic father of five and life-long nerd, theviking began nerd life as a socially awkward Star Wars fan who then branched out into comics thanks a boring summer vacation. These days, he reads most anything, watches a number of nerdy shows, plays with his kids, works as a proofreader for the fine folks at Grail Quest Books and volunteers at his parish and kids' school.