A couple of years ago I read a rather tongue in cheek essay on the subject of books, in particular plots used in novels. The writer contended that all the books ever needed were already in print, there are only a finite number of plots, and they had all been used many times over already. Although written in humor there is a grain of truth in this assertion, there is indeed a finite number of subjects that an author can select. However, there are limitless ways in which that subject can be used.

Nick Caesar has selected the subject of human greed as his theme in Zephir, a subject as old as mankind itself. Zephir is set in the distant future, a time when space travel is routine, and technology far advanced from today’s iPhone.

A meteor hits the Earth which in this far future time is a not uncommon event, this meteor though has a message in it, gold! Nothing stirs the human psyche like the prospect of wealth. Captain Kicef and his merry band of adventurers reason that if it is possible to discover where the meteor originated from there may be untold riches to be found. Maybe even a planet made of gold.

Research reveals that the likely origin of the meteor is a distant solar system called Zephir, and the hunt is on. The Captain and crew take their aptly named ship Gold Rush on the quest to locate the planet and hopefully fill their cargo hold with untold wealth.

Our trusty adventurers do indeed find the planet, and the gold deposits are vast. Unfortunately they also discover that it is not uninhabited as they had previously thought.  Not only are they not alone, they  discover themselves caught in a long running war between the civilizations of Zephir and the neighboring planet of Caprikahar. To further complicate matters they become prisoners of the Zephirians who assume that that the group has war like intentions.

Lacking any way to contact their ship to summons help,  the prospects of escape seem slim to none. The Zehirians are an advanced civilization, and the facility they are being held in is highly secure and self sufficient.

They may have one glimmer of hope, it transpires that there is one more person from the planet Earth on Zephir, an alluring young lady known as Princess Shlilah. But can Captain Kicef persuade her to help?

To give more of the plot would be to spoil the story, you will just have to read it for yourselves to discover the outcome.

I believe that Zephir is actually the first in a series of books written by Nick Caesar using some of the same characters. Zephir is a good first start. At 150 pages it is a relatively quick read, and the language is kept at a fairly simple level. One of my pet peeves with many Sci-Fi authors is their use of unpronounceable names for people and places, Nick Caesar does not fall into that trap, he uses invented but easily pronounced ones, this makes the book easy to digest for even young readers. It is fast paced and does not get bogged down in minutia. It will certainly appeal to the young adult audience that enjoys the science fiction genre and high adventure.

Zephir is published on the Authorhouse imprint and is available through Amazon, the author also has a small web page with information about his other books in the series.

Simon Barrett

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