Reviewed by Dan
AUTHOR: J. Scott Coatsworth
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 244 Pages
RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017
Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
I really liked this one. I reviewed The Autumn Lands from this author last year and thoroughly enjoyed that one, so when I saw this one pop up on our list, I grabbed it. I’m glad I did.
Mr. Coatsworth has created a believable world and populated it with believable characters. It was a fast read, and I didn’t want to put it down once I started it.
We meet Jameson Havercamp when he is sent to the planet Oberon to investigate why one of the most used drugs in the galaxy has virtually disappeared. The supply seems to have dried up and Jameson is there to find out why. The planet Oberon, or half planet as it were, is a mystery. Somewhere back in time, some cataclysm occurred which ripped the planet in half. One half is a normal planet, but the back side is a scarred and jagged face, which shows the violence that ripped the planet apart. There is only one problem. There aren’t any remains of the other half, and no one has ever figured out where they went.
Jameson is met at the spaceport by an exotic winged man on a flying motorcycle. (I know… right… why can’t I find one of those!) Xander Kinnson is a native of the planet, a Skythane. The winged natives are human stock, but have been on the planet for centuries longer than the newcomers, or ‘landers’.
It isn’t long before the two men find themselves on the run from someone who is trying to kill, or maybe capture, both of them. With the help of a childhood friend of Xander, they soon find themselves on a harrowing adventure through the wilds of the planet and further into the mystery of Oberon itself. How will the gay Xander, and Jameson, who was raised on a very conservative religious planet where homosexuality was forbidden, get along when they are thrust together in the wilds? And what is the secret that their pursuers are trying to protect?
As I said above, I really liked this one. What I especially like about this author is his ability to pop little things into a story that grab you. They have nothing to do really with the bigger story, but they’re the things I remember best post read. One was a little boy on the shuttle when Jameson was arriving on Oberon. It tugged my heartstrings when the boy started crying when the shuttle power cut out. As a reader, I had no idea who this kid was, but the line tugged. Then there was a scene where they fly over a large animal clinging to a log in a flooded river, an animal who looked up “forlornly” as they flew over. Again, a tug. In both cases I actually pictured the subject and popped into their point of view. Both made me sad, but particularly the forlorn animal. I might even admit to a brief moment of eye welling on the “its eyes glinted as it looked up at them forlornly” line. Great job Mr. Coatsworth.
I highly recommend Skythane, and I’m really hoping there is a sequel soon!