Book Title: Spectral Shift – Book One in the Spectral Worlds series
Author: Daniel Arthur Smith
Publication Date: August 7, 2017
Available on: Amazon as an eBook, a paperback and as an audiobook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Abby is a man retired from the special operations team at the Homeland Security Bureau. A man of unique talents, he is a special agent who also specializes in archeological antiquities. When his past and his present collide, he’s paired with agent Leta, an Umbra from another plane of existence, to solve the case. However, what he must find is a long-lost artifact only rumored to exist, an artifact that in the wrong hands, could change all of the universes for the worse!
This novel has a lot of different elements. It’s a dystopian police procedural. It’s a cyberpunk noir thriller. It’s a horror novel that explores the unknown aspects of the universe. But most importantly, it’s a science fiction novel that has different planes of existence and points of intersection between them. Each plane is filled with interesting ideas, environments, creatures, myths, and history.
Creatures such as the Maro and its war clans, Syns who are synthetic humans with artificial intelligence and the tribal Yeti, to name but a few. Each plane is also bursting with so many imaginative ideas and detailed history, like the Spectral Wars, that this novel only scratches the surface of some of them along its fast-moving and formidable journey.
We’re immersed in the intriguing mystery surrounding this artifact while the history of this existence and its many planes are woven into the first third of the novel. While it’s sumptuous world(s) building and different environments are being established, the characters like Abby, his friend Jazz and Leta are also fascinating people, with rich histories, extraordinary abilities, and deep personality. When the novel combines these components together, it swept me into its absorbing world, captivating cultures, and spine-tingling adventure.
The possible directions the story can go (and does go) in are truly limitless. There’s plenty of dangerous realms and unforeseeable surprises in store for the reader to discover, as there is so much innovation and imagination here. Together, it perfectly meshes all of these pieces together into an adrenaline-fueled, unpredictable and riveting finale with consequences for the entire universe. And the ending just blows this already compelling story wide open.
This is the first novel planned in a series of novels that take place in this universe. The author has also written some short stories about it already, featured in issues 11, 12, 14, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33 & 34 of the Tales from the Canyons of the Damned series to date, with more to come. There are other short stories set in this universe, such as “Gazer: A Spectral Worlds Story” (Indie Athenaeum review here). This also includes tales published in the anthologies “Chronicle Worlds: Tails of Dystopia” and “UnCommon Lands: A Collection of Rising Tides, Outer Space, and Foreign Realms“.
I’ve read many of the author’s short stories, novellas, and novels before and this is easily the most ambitious, boldest and most visionary novel he’s written to date. It’s a universe, or I should say, universes, that are brimming with endless storytelling possibilities and I can’t wait to read more of them!
If you found this review to be helpful to you, please click here to go to the review on Amazon. Then navigate to the bottom of this review and click on the “helpful” button.
Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories published by Daniel Arthur Smith include “Attack of the Kung Fu Mummies“, “Tales from the Canyons of the Damned: No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, Omnibus 9 & Omnibus 10.”