The Reluctant Hero – Book One of The Zradian Chronicles.
I picked up the trilogy and looked at the cover, and with some amusement I thought I would read it. Imagine my surprise when I found I was drawn into the story, and found much to amuse me. The characters play their parts and I was impressed with the differences and contrasts between them, how they interact and how their attitudes and personalities are captured.
The concept of a despotic, vicious President of an alien people deciding that his people needed more living space because his perception that his world is no longer habitable for much of its territory is basically the premise of the tale. The Planet Zrad, somewhere near the Dog Star with its millions of inhabitants is in constant turmoil. The President’s evil Dog Squads, the official assassins, the Political and Social Police (POLISOCS) plus his elite Stormtroopers are vehemently opposed by the Zradian Rebel Army (ZRA) guided by the New Moral Few. Working with them but mostly despised by the Rebel Army (who are men) is the Women’s Rebel Army (WRA) who, fed up with being consigned to work as clerics, washerwomen and other service areas, took up arms in their own right.
This is the story of how Julian Renfrew and Angela Breen (a good Christian girl) become involved in the wars on the planet Zrad and influence its invasion of Earth. It tells of how Julian, a no hoper, amateur arsonist, back slider, abject coward, liar with a puffed up image of his own ability is forced to cope with becoming a useful, if reluctant warrior in the WRA. It tells also of how Angela has to come to terms with her own true nature and wrestles with her Christian ethics.
The pair become involved with the Zradian conflict and the reader becomes familiar with the concept of Pairs – people born as twins but acting as one person – and the dynamic fighting spirit of their hosts.
This volume also deals with how the Earth and its inhabitants cope with the early rumours of invasion as explained by Professor Arthur Renfrew (Julian’s father) who discovers the appearance of a Zradian Star Station orbiting around Jupiter. Of course, nobody listens or takes him seriously but in the early stages of the Zradian Invasion very little happens to back him up. His unfortunate reply to a question about what the aliens looked like was ridiculed when he casually mentioned “little green men”.
Undermining the whole Zradian project is the President’s hurry to get it started on his birthday and the corrupt practices of the main engineers, C & D Enterprises. To solve a problem they build a robot and send it into a rodent infested Star Station used as a working model – the problem was why the spaces they sent in to work on the systems did not return or do their work – the robot found the reason; the ravenous rodents saw them as food. The robot. made up from dysfunctional and incompatible parts adapted for the purpose was left to do all the minor tasks, and bored out of its brain, it adopted the rodents for company, searched for entertainment and found Alfred Hitchcock’s Psyhco and the song A Whiter Shade of Pale and liked them.
The Robot’s last contact with its makers, Clard and Dracl of C&D, was as the Pair closed the transfer port and urged it not to be afraid of the rodents, a mantra that rattled around in its vast intelligence driving it mad. It decided to take its family to live in the Amazon basin on Earth, and realised it had to protect its family from the threat of the Doomsday Bomb its own people had set in orbit around the Earth. Its solution was to wage an electronic and digital war with the President.
I am looking forward to reading volume two.
Oh yes, I know I wrote the book but it was like a fresh read of a story I had not read before – what’s wrong with that?