Crystal Venom is
Steve Wheelers second instalment in his A Fury of Aces series. Crystal
Venom starts up where the previous volume, Burnt Ice,
This was a book that confounded my expectations as I was expecting a
continuation of the changing point of view storytelling technique of the previous book.
But no; Crystal Venom could have been sub-titled
Markos Story as it was told from his perspective. This change was both
surprising and welcome as not only did it make for a more cohesive story but the viewpoint
transitions in Burnt Ice were sometimes so rapid that this
reviewer became confused as to who was the current narrator.
Crystal Venom is also much more dramatic story
than its predecessor, with Sergeant-Major Marko Spitzs unit becoming a sparring
device between factions within the competing power structures of the pan-galactic human
diaspora. And those factions are playing in a most uncompromising fashion, which can be
deleterious to the health of those that get used in the competition. With at least one
member of the unit suffering a temporary death if a hiatus in living of several
years can be counted as temporary.
Steve Wheeler has progressed as an author with Crystal Venom
written in style that is very reminiscent of Robert Heinlein. I hope Mr Wheeler approves
of that comparison.