Review of Richard Marsden’s “The Traveling Tyrant”
The Traveling Tyrant tells the tale of what amounts to corporate espionage disguised as dark science fiction comedy. Or is it a science fiction tale disguised as a corporate thriller? Not quite sure, since it handles the influence of more than one genre with relative ease. The basic overview of this tale is that a representative of Galactic Hotels has presented to the board of directors the discovery of a pristine, paradise world relatively untouched by human hands, named, conveniently enough, Paradisa. It will make the perfect vacation hot spot for the ultra-wealthy, except for one minor, niggling detail: a group of religious zealots claimed the world as their own years before. So, to cleanse the place of these annoying pests, the Traveling Tyrant is called in to do what he and his fleet of mercenaries do best, which is to make niggling details disappear. The only problem is that there is trouble afoot, with more than one member of the Tyrant’s command staff attempting to work their way into the Tyrant’s position of power through a variety of twisted machinations. So with religious zealots below and the danger of mutiny in the fleet above, you can rest assured that everyone involved is in for a bumpy ride and a mission that more than likely isn’t going to go all that smoothly.
This is definitely a dark comedy at its heartless best. Death and deception go hand and hand here, with virtually every character having more than one agenda, though their desires and goals for advancement and power seem to be quite clear, even if their routes to achieving those goals are often cloudy. This story could easily pave the way for a series of books about the Tyrant and his fleet, plus a client base that has a tendency to be fairly amoral in their desire for conquest and dominance. The writing is solid and the wit sharp, with plenty of deception to entertain and amuse those of us who like a little hemlock with our wine every now and then. While the Tyrant is not a likable fellow, with his lecherous ways and Napoleonic complex, he is only one member of a cast of equally twisted characters, each with their own twisted perspectives and peccadilloes that enhance the story and keep you guessing as to what might happen next and who might deceive who. For some, the darkness of this tale might be a bit much, given that it is fairly relentless, with no apologies offered for the vicious, almost offhand casual way lives are destroyed, but that is also a part of the story’s devious allure. For those who can handle such diabolical tactics in the stories they read, this one should be quite an entertaining addition to their collection.
The Traveling Tyrant can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Tyrant-Richard-Marsden/dp/1456401254/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307932753&sr=1-1