Trevor Williams’ epic science fiction novel Eternal Shadow presents readers with an existential threat to not just humanity but the entire planet Earth. SETI Institute’s (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) senior researcher Jennifer Epstein discovers a massive alien object entering the solar system and methodically consuming the outer ring of planets (Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus) as it plots a course for Earth. At her side is Samantha Monroe, a genius who keeps Jennifer grounded as the two helm the agencies tasked with finding out what this object is and how to deal with it.
Williams doesn’t present readers with fancy but rather leans towards hard sci-fi, concerned more with what could possibly be scientifically achieved than what would be “cool” to read about. In this way, the novel retains realism as it explores and presents its incredible story. We watch as politics (both local and global) influence decisions over a ten-year span. The characters wrestle with pragmatics and practicalities, rarely ever-spinning off into fantasy, making the novel feel genuine. However, sci-fi lovers will get glimpses of a mysterious alien civilization as well as meaningful effects of AI (artificial intelligence).
Readers watch as our characters, and by proxy humanity, change their conception of the extraterrestrial object from “the ship” to “Leviathan” as debate rages about whether it is a vessel from another civilization or a massive living creature sent to bring about the end of humanity. The latter concept gives rise to a doomsday cult calling itself the Seven Trumpets. The psychotic Christian cult makes only a handful of appearances in the novel, but when it does, its members cause bloody havoc, pushing Jennifer and Sam far outside their comfort zones and causing endless complications. The Seven Trumpets is hardly the only monstrous organization caused by the appearance of the Leviathan.
Muzikayise Khulu’s corporation’s research and development help make identifying, analyzing and learning about Leviathan, traveling to it, and, ultimately, confronting it possible, yet this maniacal CEO has nothing but contempt for humans as he attempts to save humanity. His motivation? Pure personal aggrandizement, wealth, and power. What is truly disturbing about Eternal Shadow is how Muzikayise never suffers any real consequences for his ruthless and contemptible actions. It would seem certain he and Khulu Global will appear again in further books in the series, but whether as heroes or villains remains in doubt.
Overall, Williams’ Eternal Shadow is a pleasing debut, well-paced and crafted. He manages to fully flesh out the characters (human, alien, and AI) while building to a satisfying ending which leaves open many tantalizing avenues for future books to explore.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Author||Trevor B. Williams|
|Page Count||401 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|