March 28, 2017
Lifeboat, by Felix R. Savage
After two years aboard the Spirit of Destiny, tensions among the elite international crew are at breaking point. Despite the obvious need to stay professional and united, as they approach the mysterious alien spaceship orbiting Europa, pilot Jack Kildare is acutely aware that not all the members of the crew may wish the best for the mission. There may be a saboteur on board, and he knows of at least one spy: the astrophysicist Skyler Taft. An attack from long-range alien weaponry cripples the Spirit of Destiny, forcing Jack to disobey orders to save the ship. Now he has to face the fact that the broken crew is the least of his worries. With the risky maneuver that saved the ship putting him dead center of the commander’s crosshairs, and the crew attempting to hold together the tattered remnants of their unity to investigate the alien spaceship, Jack finds himself selected for the most dangerous mission of all… descending to Europa’s surface to find out what lurks under the ice. As the voyage of discovery unravels into a desperate battle for survival, Jack races the clock to decode the secrets behind the alien intrusion. Will he find the truth in time to save the crew? Or will the thin threads of companionship snap under the strain of Skyler Taft gunning for his knowledge… or his blood?
Book one, Freefall, focused on the trials and tribulations of Kildare and the crew of the Spirit of Destiny on their way to Europa. I liked the political intrigue and the “real world” ramifications to such a discovery. Lifeboat is all spacefaring adventure. I might even say that Lifeboat is a more likable story than Freefall for a majority of sci-fi readers. Personally, I found the intrigue from Freefall made Lifeboat so satisfying.
I’d still classify this series as “hard” sci-fi, but it’s hard in a way that it addresses things that most “soft” sci-fi doesn’t namely, hygiene, and other little details that obviously had a lot of research performed to get the nuances right. The crew of misfits is so perfect, it reminds me so much of the interactions between the cast in Firefly.
I rated Freefall five stars, and I’m happy to say that Lifeboat is even better. Since I can’t rate it above five stars, I’ll have to settle for only five stars for Lifeboat too.
You might say Felix R. Savage has a long history associated with rebellion. He was born in the 1970s, a decade of American youth rebelling against the safe culture of their parents. He is married to a wonderful woman and they have a beautiful daughter. Together the three of them live in Tokyo serving their cat overlord and benevolent protector. Felix writes Science Fiction and Fantasy while not translating, delighting in his family, or catering to the whims of the family’s cat. He never stops watching out for any sign the lizard people have found him.