Right, well, I’ve read quite a few books since the last review but I’ll start with the one I just finished, Simon R. Green’s Hellworld. This is one of the Deathstalker lead ins. It features a squad of the Empire’s least finest being sent down as the first colonists on a newly discovered world, Wolf IV. They’re referred to as a hell squad and they are expendable. They are fodder in case the new world contains an alien presence. Otherwise it’s their job to get the planet ready for the proper colonists.
The squad is lead by Captain Hunter, a former Rim commander. The squad contains two Imperial Marines, Lindholm and Corbie, an esper named DeChance, one Doctor Williams and an Investigator named Krystel. All of these people have done something to seriously piss off the Empress, which as established under the Deathstalker novels is not a good idea.
There is nothing known about Wolf IV when this squad is sent down other than it is capable of supporting life. When they land, it’s a situation of ‘a little too quiet’. There are no nature sounds like birds or insects. The ground is hard and cracked and the whole planet has quite an active volcanic area some miles from the landing zone. It looks like it’s going to be a very boring time on the planet until the ship’s sensors pick up what is very definitely an alien city some fifteen or so miles from the landing site.
The decision is made to investigate the city in case there is a current alien presence on the planet. First though, they have to make it through the forest that is between them and the city. Only it isn’t a forest as we know here on earth. This forest is sentient and hungry. In the end, they have to go around rather than through, meaning the group gets split in half.
After a harrowing night and a couple more alien attacks, both groups make it to the city where they apparently lose contact with each other due to outside interference. Turns out that there is a building, a machine really, in the middle of the city that is the cause of pretty much everything. It’s power runs the aliens, so to speak, and it is quite definitely insane.
I’d forgotten how good this book is. I hadn’t read this or the other two pre-Deathstalker novels in years mainly because I didn’t own them and they were out of print until recently (Kindle is awesome!). The only one of the books I really remembered was Mistworld so I went into this book with a blank slate as it were and I was not disappointed. I’m a huge Simon R Green fan and this was a very good book. Get it. A.