Death Drop by Sean Allen
400,000 years have passed since the last known Human was exterminated, and Dezmara Strykar can’t remember anything before the moment, eight years ago, when she woke up in an abandoned space freighter. But in that time, she has come to realize three things: she’s the best pilot and smuggler in the universe, she can handle herself in a fight, and she’s Human.
A race of creatures called the Durax rule the universe using their savage mind powers, and the remaining free people have two choices: join the Dissension Army and fight, or struggle to survive in the cutthroat world of outlaws the war has created. In a time when a live Human specimen would fetch a king’s ransom on the black market, choosing life as a smuggler seemed like the perfect front to search for her people. But the cost of Dezmara’s operation has forced her to win each smuggling run she enters. Now every smuggler is gunning for her top position, and her rare black Zebulon star freighter makes her an easily recognizable target.
But dodging jealous smugglers, safeguarding her Human identity, and solving the mystery surrounding who she is will become harder than she ever imagined. A mysterious creature in a black Zebulon star freighter has murdered a soldier in the Dissension Army and has stolen their greatest weapon in the war against the Durax. Dezmara’s next run will turn into much more than just a cover to search for Humans. Dezmara Strykar just became the Dissension’s number one murder suspect. Now she is going to have to run for her life.
A terribly famous, and wholly remarkable, author once wrote that “Space is big. Really big”. I don’t read a huge amount of science fiction (I don’t get sent a lot to review – hint hint) but when I do read it I want the story to tap into that feeling. I want to boggle my mind with the scope of the epic, universe-spanning vision. I want to be exposed to strange alien races and cultures that I have never dreamed of before.
Death Drop by Sean Allen is the first novel in the D-Evolution series. There are two main narrative strands. The first follows the members of the Dissension Army as they attempt to track down a traitor to their cause. The second follows Dezmara Strykar as she attempts to uncover the mystery of her existence. The two plots start to interweave and Dezmara finds herself on the run from everyone.
There is quite a large cast of characters and I found all the different species one of the novel’s strengths. Each new race the reader encounters offers the opportunity for the author to let his imagination run wild. From the mutated evil of the Durax, to the minotaur like Moxen. Death Drop reminded me in some ways, of a favourite science-fiction comic from my youth called Alien Legion. Like the Legion, the Dissension Army is made up of many disparate characters who are all brought together to vanquish an evil force. It would be hard for me to choose a favourite character but I have to admit a bit of a soft spot for a couple of standouts, the marvelously monickered Dr Artemus Blink and Dezmara’s protector, Doidojo.
The are some huge action set pieces, both on and off planet, that are all suitably bloody and over the top. At one point the Dissension Army are forced to take on a huge group of battle trained bezerkers and I think I lost count of the number of dismemberments that occurred in that skirmish.
The story moves from one gripping cliffhanger to another, and zips along at a break neck pace. The best advice I can give is don’t over think Death Drop. Let it wash over you like the fast paced, action packed spectacle that it is and I can guarantee you will have a great time. I look forward to visiting the D-Evolution universe again in the future.
Death Drop is published by Vintage Six Media and is available now.