One of the great things John and Jennifer Morton have done with this new novel, “The Landing,” is to have made it a standalone work. It is the third in a series falling under the rubric, The Kepler Trilogy. Thankfully you can read this tantalizing new tale without any knowledge of the two prior pieces. Believe me though, when you finish the latest one you will want, and be glad to be able to, go back and start at the beginning and read both of the other two. Why wouldn't you? The writing is intricate. The story, in all its futuristic splendor, is wondrously exciting. The authors cast a spell. You fall into an imaginatively drawn world; any reader will be grateful for the opportunity to sink their teeth into more.
“The Landing” opens in an eye popping fashion. Earth survived WW III and the devastating aftermath of all that was wrought by it, only to be taken out by an asteroid. Home to the human race is no more, and its former inhabitants have travelled, more than a million strong, six hundred light years to a new world known as, Kepler 22b. The arrivals are astonished by the first glimpses of their new home, but they are ready to be there and to survive and prosper. This is the set up and it might sound like we are in for some common thing, some old hat well known within the genre of science fiction, but the authors are up to much more than the exploration of a possible, future existence. There are, beneath and atop the surface of this epic story, philosophies, treatises, if you will, on the human kind and their great, perhaps inescapable, character flaws, the foibles of our species that forever propel us on to dark horrors.
The worlds and figures brought to life by the Morton's are as vivid as I have seen. It is a tremendous feat to create, from whole cloth, new and vibrant surroundings. Imagination seems the watch word when describing “The Landing.” It is an incredible future brought to the fore here. Computers are universes onto themselves. Machines and happenings not thought of before, come alive on almost every page. With all of that, we are also given characters, full and rounded and real. Palmer Breison is a hero, as far as I am concerned. But, thankfully, he is more than that: he is human and has flaws. The strong, capable, stridently brilliant Dr. Ashley Dryden is now one of my favorite depictions of a female in any work of fiction. Really, the female characters (the deliciously weird Pot dealer extraordinaire, The Bird) within these pages are a revelation; I can not think of authors who have conjured better renderings of the fairer sex. Male characters like Rekko Myslenko and Matt Kafti are worthy of attention too. All feel complete and not to over use the word “real”. Nothing is worse than a one dimensional protagonist, especially in Science Fiction. Here we do not have to worry about that.
The story is everything though, and John and Jennifer Morton give us a deep seeded one to envelope ourselves in. The depictions of strife and maneuverings, power struggles and back room wheeling and dealing may be set far into the future, in a world away from earth, but they mirror much of what goes on in our society. This is the brilliance of “The Landing.” It gives us pause within a high flying adventure. If we are paying attention, it allows us the opportunity to examine our own politics and inner machinations. It is a fine story, blessed with levels and searching. It is what I want in a novel, with an ending that will widen the reader's eyes. The astonishing circles we run ourselves in--- will they ever be broken? The question is brought forth in this excellent work. What…I wonder, is the answer?
The Landing: Book III of The Kepler Trilogy
John & Jennifer Morton
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (1/14)