Apr 3, 2019


Book Review - Osiris, Derek Cross Series Book #1 (by Jeffrey Thomas)

Title: Osiris
Series: Derek Cross Series (book #1)
Author: Jeffrey Thomas
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery and Thriller
Publisher: Theatre of the Mind Books, LCC
Release Date: March 13th, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 274

"Captain Derek Cross is a military commander, trying to come to grips with his past. A father killed in the line of duty, an estranged best friend, and a colonist he killed all weigh heavily on his mind. After a botched mission to Ganymede, during which nearly half his unit is killed, he’s given a choice – travel to another solar system to help establish a new colony, or accept a discharge from the military. Things go from bad to worse when, en-route to the site of the new colony, he’s awakened from cryogenic sleep by Dr. Elena Brown, the mission's medical officer, to find that the colony ship has been hijacked. All of Captain Cross’ skills are put to the test as he tries to protect the nearly four hundred sleeping colonists – colonists who have no idea they’re in danger. Protecting the most technologically advanced ship ever created, Osiris, and its passengers is one thing, but earning Elena’s trust is another thing entirely."

(click to read an excerpt on Amazon)

- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. The blurb caught my interest - a colony ship on its way to another star system and a main character with some heavy emotional baggage.

The Plot
In the year 2136 planet Earth is on the verge of environmental collapse. Polluted air and water, food scarcity and epidemic infections are taking a toll on the population. Humanity starts looking to the stars for a way out and discovers a viable planet in the Alpha Centauri system. A crewed ship would normally take 12 years to reach the system but with the invention of the flux drive that journey is shorten to a mere 6 months of transit and Project Osiris is set in motion. Its mission: to take 400 colonists and start a new life on planet Avalon.

Captain Derek Cross was in command of the 609th Counterinsurgency Force of the United States Marine Corps, sent to the Jupiter moon of Ganymede to settle a mining colony revolt. But after the mission went terribly wrong with the loss of 1/3 of his unit, Captain Cross is given a choice - to be discharged from the Marine Corps or accept reassignment to Project Osiris and lead a military contingency to planet Avalon and safeguard the colonists. Haunted by his recent failure, Captain Cross sees Project Osiris as a way to start anew and reconnect with his estranged best friend JT.

Doctor Elena Brown is a senior medical officer and flight physician assigned to the converted cargo ship Osiris. After detecting a flaw in the cryogenic sleep system that would shut down most chambers in lander D during the long interstellar voyage, effectively killing the sleeping occupants, and unable to find a cause for the malfunction, Dr. Brown volunteers to stay awake during the entire trip to reboot the faulty system. But on the 5th month of the journey Dr. Brown realizes she's not the only one awake. She deeply distrusts military personnel on principle for their training and purpose, but with a team of hostiles on the loose intent on taking over Project Osiris and threatening the lives of the colonists, Dr. Brown has no choice but to wake Captain Cross and trust he will keep them all alive.

The Good
"Osiris" is an action-packed science fiction novel with a mystery-thriller element, set in a future where Earth is facing ecological disaster with epidemics and famine running rampant and humanity has established mining colonies throughout the solar system to provide the planet with useful resources. The story takes place in the year 2136 when, after discovering a viable planet in the nearby Alpha Centauri system, several governments fund Project Osiris to give humanity a chance for a new start. With the development of a new propulsion system that allows faster than light speed travel by Samson Industries, an old cargo ship is converted into the first high-speed colonization spacecraft with the purpose of sending 400 colonists to the planet Avalon. The plot follows the journey of the 2 main characters, Captain Derek Cross (commander of the military security contingent) and Doctor Elena Brown (the colony's senior medical officer) as they reluctantly join forces to stop an hostile force from taking control of the ship Osiris and the colonization mission.

The worldbuilding and the futuristic technologies are well imagined and the author provides enough contextual information to get a good sense of this future reality. I specially enjoyed the self-forming tableware which changes shape at the touch of a button, the VTOLs (Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicles) that function as both space shuttles and cars depending on whether you're traveling in space or on a road (called skyways) on Earth, and the propulsion system (flux drives) that allows a spacecraft to move faster than light by crossing between different universes. Also well-thought-of were the (realistic) impact of long term social isolation on a person and the (imaginary) side effects of the flux drives on the environment and human body. The first half of the book focus on introducing the characters, their personal history and reasons to join Project Osiris, while the pace picks up in the second half with thrilling action sequences.

The characters are 3-dimentional, believable and with good development throughout the story: Captain (newly promoted to Major) Derek Cross facing his guilt over the failed mission to Ganymede and the loss of his unit, his need to follow in his father's footsteps, his attempts at reconnecting with his estranged guardian and best friend JT, his conflict between his military duties and personal beliefs in more diplomatic and less violent solutions; Doctor Elena Brown determined to save lives even if it means staying awake and in social isolation for 6 months, her conflict between her deep rejection of military people and all they stand for but having to accept and trust Captain Derek to save the sleeping colonists; JT, and ex-marine field mechanic, still trying to look after his friend Derek and play the older brother figure even after their falling out; and Frederick Samson, a terrific antagonist, so smooth and collected on the surface but secretly following a devious plan years in the making - I really enjoyed following this character throughout the whole plot, the way the author had the character set each step of his plan was pure genius!

The Not So Good
Despite the rich wordbuilding and imaginative background details, the author didn't quite nail the delivery of all that extra data. Even if at times it fits naturally within the story, most of it feels forced and out of place, slowing down the pace and getting in the way of the narrative. There is also a tendency for repetition, pieces of the same information being delivered over and over again. Its the main reason it lost a book / star in the final rating.

Final Rating
"Osiris" is an action-packed science fiction thriller set in a future where humanity begins exploring and colonizing planets outside our solar system. Recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi stories with military, space exploration and colonization elements.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: www.jeffreythomas.net
Twitter: @penfiction
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction

I’m Jeffrey Thomas. I’m a former Research Scientist and currently an IT Systems Engineer. I enjoy reading and writing fiction – mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and finally decided that I wanted to start publishing my work. I’ve written a number of articles for various publications, and have a number of novels in various stages of completion.

In my other persona, Kojak Durham, I have a blog here, and make videos on YouTube where I discuss other loves of my life – such as all things science and technology. I enjoy doing product review videos and lifestyle videos for ‘regular people’. As a self-described ‘regular guy’, I don’t spend every waking moment doing one thing like so many other online personalities do. I talk about all sorts of topics that relate to just about anyone. I love music – both listening and playing (guitar, pennywhistle, djembe, piano, you name it), movies, cooking, gardening, and computers – after all, I am a full-time computer engineer. I also like to make things – everything from a custom bed frame with built-in LED reading lights, to a folding garage workbench, to a portable speaker system.



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