In the Shadow of Deimos
A Terraforming Mars Novel
by Jane Killick
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 28 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 28 Jul 2021
Aconyte Books, Aconyte
Mars, 2316. The recently created Terraforming Committee arbitrates the dramatic development of Mars by powerful rival corporations. When a rogue asteroid crashes into a research center and kills its lone technician, the fragile balance between corporations is shattered. The World Government’s investigation into the accident reveals a multitude of motives, while a corporation insider stumbles on a dark conspiracy. Two Martians with very different agendas must navigate a trail of destruction and treachery to uncover the truth and expose those responsible, before Mars falls to Earth’s corruption. As lines blur between progress and humanity, Mars itself remains the biggest adversary of all.
A Note From the Publisher
“A crunchy, engaging brain-burner with amazing theme in an unusual setting. Terraforming Mars is a perfect way to spend your downtime while waiting for a real opportunity to visit the Red Planet.”
“You aren’t going to regret picking up this gem.”
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 15 members
Mars, 2316. The recently created Terra-forming Committee arbitrates the dramatic development of Mars by powerful rival corporations. When a rogue asteroid crashes into a research centre and kills its lone technician, the fragile balance between corporations is shattered. The World Government’s investigation into the accident reveals a multitude of motives. While a corporation insider stumbles on a dark conspiracy, two Martians with very different agendas must navigate a trail of destruction and treachery. They must uncover the truth and expose those responsible before Mars falls to Earth’s corruption. As lines blur between progress and humanity, Mars itself remains the biggest adversary of all. I have to hold my hand up and say that I have never played the Terraforming board game, so this is new territory for me. But I think this is a positive because I have no pre-conceived illusions of what the book should entail. From the outset, the book is superb. It is a classic science-fiction novel that took me back to the days of Robert A Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C Clarke. Brilliantly inventive in the structure of the storyline and imaginative in the way everything is described with vivid, vibrant detail. The author has painted an astonishing picture of life on Mars. From the very first pages, the author catches your attention and does not let go. The action can be fast and frenetic, yet, sometimes it pales into insignificance when the author describes the phenomenal panoramic settings of Mars. Names of canyons, volcanoes, dry lake beds and craters will have your tongue twisted in knots, but that is part of the charm of the planet. And I must admit I took a little longer to read the book because I kept googling the names to see the pictures on-line. The characters are well developed and do actually play a meaningful part in the narrative, as does the science aspect. Luke is particularly interesting, as he seems totally out of his depth, but, as one of the main protagonists, he has a pivotal role to play. Julie is another leading protagonist. After being dropped right in the proverbial smelly stuff, she is also a character that tends to grow on you. I do not want to give anything away because this is a cracking read, and the brief description from the publishers should be enough. If it was the intention of the author to produce a mesmerising book in order to help sell the digital and board game, then it has probably worked. I am giving this 4.5 because it could have ended better, should have ended better. Unless, of course, there is more to come. We can but hope. I enjoyed In the Shadow of Deimos immensely. It was a pleasure to read from start to finish. Thank you Netgalley, Aconyte Books and Jane Killick for the digital copy of the book.
ARC Copy...Well for starters I was only slightly familiar with Terra Forming Mars and I did have to research the factions during the read but as space opera intrigue read, it fun, solid world building + twisty to read through.
n the Shadow of Deimos is a tie-in novel for the board game Terraforming Mars, it’s not a game that I have played before, but I’ve found with all the Aconyte books I’ve had the pleasure of reading you don’t need to be familiar with the novels origins to enjoy their books. As a quick side note, since picking up and reading Litany of Dreams and The Devourer Below, I’ve played a short Arkham Horror campaign and enjoyed it all the more for having read the books. In the Shadow of Deimos follows Luka Schafer, an immigrant to Mars looking to work the remainder of his days in manual labour to forget the trials of his life back on Earth. Alas, things don’t go smoothly and he is soon wrapped up in the mystery of a co-worker's death. On the flip side of this death is Julie, an unwitting investigator of what caused the accident that cost the unfortunate man his life. The characters in In the Shadow of Deimos are engaging and endearing; as the book progresses there’s more to discover about their pasts and their individual motivations – as well as that of the corporations they work for and represent. There is a lot of political inner-workings in the novel that is experienced through the characters that they are a part of. While the investigation of the dead co-worker is the heart of the story, I found the political intrigue between the Mega-Corporations of Mars to bulk out the rest of the novel; the world-building and placement of ideas within these aspects of the novel are second to none. Figuring out if any of the individual corporations have more of a positive merit than the others is as much a part of the mystery as the investigation. So too is the mystery that’s eating away at Luka Schafer; he has clearly been driven to Mars to escape something terrible, possibly linked to the Mega-Corporations of the red planet. As the pages turn and the mystery is uncovered, it made me wonder if the life-changing event would tie back into the story or if it was just another tragic-tale-laden hero. The manner in which Luke deals with his past and how it feeds back into the story is well-considered and shows the sign of expertly crafted story-telling. There’s a handful of side characters, each with their own individual flair and the cast is diverse; as one would expect when considering these characters have come from various origins on Earth. I did find it somewhat jarring however when the characters were described directly by the colour of their skin and thought that this could have been addressed in a more sympathetic manner. Both Luka and Julie had different approaches to the cause of their investigations and as a reader, you’re given a larger picture than each of the individual characters; the mystery is for the characters to solve and while it’s easier for the reader to figure it out, the journey that the characters take you on is full of action, betrayal, and heart-pounding thrills! There are dramatic scenes that completely pull you in and leave you breathless as they resolve. While I enjoyed the book as a whole, I did find myself enjoying the scenes where the tension is high the most. In one such offering, Luka Schafer is crossing from one of the Terraforming Cities to another in a rented rover, his power and air running low. This scene was high-energy and fast-paced giving across a true sense of urgency. This is one of many such scenes that are carried out with expert skill from the writer. Gripping the reader and leaving them eager for the next exciting event. The pacing of the story is generally strong, starting off relatively sedately and building into a large, climactic crescendo; the plot has a good, well-rounded ending that leaves the characters open enough to have further dealings with the Corporations of Mars but giving the reader enough closer for the story within this particular novel. All-in-all In the Shadow of Deimos is a very strong introduction to the Terraforming Mars world and I do hope that Aconyte picks up more novels in the world set in the future.
It is my distinct pleasure to be the first to rate and review this book. An unusual but an inspired choice for this reader who has long made it a rule to stay away from movie/tv tie in novels, game to book adaptations, etc. It’s a sound rule, usually, but this time the siren song of Mars was just too much to resist. Who says sound doesn’t travel in space. So does a seemingly elaborate board game require a novel tie in? Yes, yes, it does. Because, you know, it’s Mars, people…how can a mere earthling say no to an armchair trip to the red planet. Who has that kind of restraint? And why would you want to? It’s a dream destination. And thus my reading of this book. And the bulk of enjoyment of it. Because…Mars. But to be fair it’s also a perfectly good read. It isn’t a great work of literary science fiction, but it isn’t trying or meant to be that. The author has dabbled in her own original sci fi serials and nonfiction sci fi tv guides, etc. and her narrative style has that slick pro, paid per word, write by numbers thing going for it with minimal internalization and maximum action, but it actually works really well here. Not sure if it’s because the world has already been staged and precreated through the game (I’ve never even heard of the game until finding this book), but this mystery set on a newly colonized Mars was well imagined, vividly rendered and, most of all and best of all, genuinely exciting. It read very much like a fun science fiction movie would. It had suspense, sabotage and some serious science…which is as far as I can stretch that alliteration. There was an elaborate plot, featuring a fresh arrival who stumbles into a clandestine plot conceived by rival Martian companies, all striving to commercialize the colonization of Mars. The end goal is making it habitable through (obviously, title) terraforming, but everyone has different ideas on how to go about it and are willing to do whatever it takes to get their way. Even on Mars business and politics rule. Because, of course, wherever people go…there they are, in all their greedy manipulative lying cheating stealing splendor. Can an honest person survive on this terraforming Mars and maintain their integrity? Can Deimos? Well, read and find out. So yeah, this book…so much more than Elon Musk’s wet dream. By now you should be interested in checking this out, ideally, I suppose, depending on my powers of persuasion. But anyway, I enjoyed it very much, it was hugely entertaining and read very quickly for the age count. Overall a very fun space adventure. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Review: Terraforming Mars: In the Shadow of Deimos by Jane Killick I was kindly given an ARC of this novel by Netgalley & Aconyte Books in exchange for a fair review. Having played Terraforming Mars a couple of times with a few good friends I was instantly interested in the concept of taking the premises and turning it into a book. I won’t lie, Aconyte seem to be consistently publishing fantastic works by fantastic authors that scratch that geeky and nerdy itch in myself (and I am sure numerous others). In short I hope this would be good and I was not disappointed! I can’t remember the last time a read a good sci-fi book based on a planet rather than spaceship or space station. The descriptions of a relatively barren setting (it is being terraformed after all) really do bring home the bleakness and potential for isolation. Tie this with a gripping plot of corporate corruption (which lets face probably would happen) and you have the makings of a fantastic book! Killick has the perfect balance of natural danger and threat with the growing threat of who can you trust. The characters are likable and interesting. You find yourself invested in them and their wellbeing. I was shocked, happily so, that my two favourites didn’t die. I also found I wasn’t able to predict or guess the twists and turns of the plot. All in all this is fantastic tale for anyone who is looking for a fix of Terraforming Mars without the time to play the game or a good sci-fi story about survival not only of a new and harsh environment but the corruption of those in power. The e-book is out now with physical copies due to be released in the US on September 21, 2021 and the UK on October 28, 2021
Love the game, so curious to see what was done to turn it into a book. Interesting premise, starts with an accident that quickly develops into a potential act of sabotage. Politics and Power plays abound and it's all tied together in the name of trying to Terraform Mars. Good start to what I'm presuming is going to be a series, it's clear to see that several of the cards in the game have been used as inspiration, as have several of the corporations, which is as it should be. There's enough there that you can see the game inside the fiction without it becoming a narrative of how to play the game, which is always the concern. It's a good start, the actual terraforming hasn't moved that far along by the time the book finishes, but there's enough there to get you engaged and want to see what happens next.
"In the Shadow of Deimos" is based on the "Terraforming Mars" boardgame. I hadn't heard of it before, but it's MARS - and as soon as I knew this book was in the pipeline I had it on my wish list. This is a fantastic murder-mystery story, wrapped up in a Martian blanket, and I couldn't have been happier with my reading experience. The plot is tense, with varied and fascinating characters, and brilliant writing. 5 stars and two thumbs up! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
I really enjoyed this book and it gave me a well needed lift to my day. The insight and worldbuilding spoke volumes about the experiences and challenges that we were guided through as the audience. I am very glad I read this book and would highly recommend..