Hope's End by Stephen Chambers

(2001-08-02)

Tor will publish Stephen Chambers's debut novel, "Hope's End" in August, and I must say that this book had me hooked from the very first page. "Hope's End" is a first novel that is sure to be noticed.

Led by a man named Blakes, humans came to the planet Hera 500 years ago and founded the city Hope. Since then, almost alltechnology has been deliberately lost, while the Church and the King--a descendant of Blakes--control the society. Now, the King is dying of a plague that also threatens the larger population of Hope, and food resources are scarce. And if that isn't enough, outside the city walls alien predators roam. Only one relative of the King remains alive: a person who not only doesn't know that he is the rightful heir, but who is pursued by several dangerous people and groups, all with different motives. Sounds cliché; I assure you it's not. This is the story of a boy, Vel, and his friends, who typically spend their days roaming the streets searching for people to con--who suddenly find themselves thrust into the middle of something far larger. Who can they trust and what are the motives of the people who are after them?

It's a story that draws the reader in from the first page, a well-written story with a great plot. The reader feels that he or she genuinely knows the characters, how they act and why they act as they do. It's a refreshing new world and foremost a really terrific story. I especially liked the way Stephen Chambers describes his world. When reading the story the reader is struck by an overwhelming feeling of a dark and sinister setting. The reader feels as if everything has been painted by a murky lense: black and white, with dark clouds covering the sky. Simply amazing. I've been trying hard to find something bad to say about this book, but I simply cannot.

With "Hope's End", I think we are witnessing the start of a great career, and I believe Stephen Chambers will be an author to look out for in the future. What can I say? Simply great, highly recommended!

Reviewed by Dag Rambraut

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