Publication Date: November 12, 2012
In Regarding Mikhail (The Authority of Stars) by Tom L. Robson, Air Marshall Kevin Foster’s capture of Mikhail, known as The Grey One, launches him to semi-celebrity status. He has the wife, the kids and the position, he’s poised for greatness. Standing in Kevin’s way is his dark and dangerous secret life. How much will he risk to keep from losing everything?
As I sit here contemplating my review of Regarding Mikhail (The Authority of Stars), three words come to mind, Stunning, brutal and brilliant. The main character, Kevin Foster, is not a good guy. He is in some ways a victim of a job that causes him to kill impersonally. The satisfying chases, as he experiences with Mikhail at the beginning of the novel, are rare and to be treasured. Yet, from time to time in the narrative, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for Kevin. He’s the true focal character and Robson rounds him out for us nicely — his love for his family, his children and his need to know everything he can know about the victims of his secret torment.
The plotting of Regarding Mikhail (The Authority of Stars) was superb. Every scene stands a purpose and connects us to the characters. The storyline contains horrible violence that is not gratuitous or voyeuristic. The reader gets a snippet of intimidation and a snippet of flesh hanging in shreds, but the scenes are less about blood and more about expanding the character base of Kevin Foster. Kevin is in his element in blood.
The new world created by Robson is stunning. In one scene, Kevin attends a prestigious dinner with his wife and is approached by a weapons dealer who attempts to sell him a new technology for his ship. Kevin informs him that the ship makes its own decisions and that very personality, who saw fit to download itself to a platform that could mingle for the party, approaches the weapons dealer to engage him in conversation. The A.I. technologies are aware and, in some cases, have been generated from people that existed at one point in time, but whose bodies were beyond repair. The word picture painted brought forth an image of the Six-Million-Dollar-Man on overload. Some A.I.s have humanoid faces and some just have glittering lights. Robson doesn’t go into an explanation of the technology and doesn’t need to do so as his descriptions are so well written the reader can get the picture without reading a history book.
An alluring charm of the 305 pages of this novel is that I cannot think of one page that I might, as a reader, be able to do without. Robson’s writing style is tight and clean. The story and characters blossomed slowly on the page allowing the reader to savor the hidden depth of the storyline. Regarding Mikhail (The Authority of Stars) is highly recommended to all of my friends who are science fiction fans and don’t mind a little blood and gore.
Robson’s second novel in the planned, nine-part Authority of the Stars series, Lioness (The Authority of Stars), is currently available on Kindle.
Read an excerpt and buy Regarding Mikhail (The Authority of Stars) by Tom L. Robson on