3 out of 4 stars
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Earth Below Us by R.V. Tyson is a religious science-fiction novel set in multiple time periods. WWIII is just about to start with America’s enemies banding together to take over the world. Soon after, we are thrown back to the 17th Century to witness aliens descending upon a group of Quaker people and kidnapping several young girls. One of them is Faith, the daughter of Mary Dyer, the famous martyr who was hanged for her Quaker activities.
Initially, I was confused about the sudden switch from one time period to the other. I couldn’t figure out how the events in the 21st Century connected to the alien kidnapping in the 17th Century; however, halfway through the book, it all started to make sense.
I found the story intriguing, and the fast-paced structure gave it an aura of multi-layered adventure. The author brilliantly married history with distant universes and far-away planets. I love science-fiction novels, and the religious theme didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story. The gripping tale and the history injected into it kept me entertained throughout. Before reading Earth Below Us, I had little knowledge about the Quaker Movement. After reading it, I embarked on a quest to learn more about the events surrounding Mary Dyer’s life and demise.
The most important aspect of this book, however, is its depiction of the characters. Faith, Mary Dyer’s daughter, was a young and innocent girl who experienced things she neither wanted nor expected. It was a compelling journey to follow her transition into the strong leader who would be a catalyst for changes happening not only on Earth but also on her adopted planet.
The other main characters, like the prince Bodhidharma and the angel, had also interesting developing arcs. While I am not a religious person, I had no trouble connecting to the angel to understand his motivations behind his actions. Bodhidharma’s inner transformation was also impressive, and I gained a newfound respect for the ancient prince, whom I initially disliked.
In terms of the story, my only issue was with the last page. My non-religious upbringing might be the reason why I didn’t grasp the meaning of the last few sentences, and I felt I didn’t get proper closure. Apart from this, there is something to be said for a story that is just plain fun to read.
I didn’t find many grammatical errors, so the book was properly edited. My one annoyance has to do with the author not capitalizing Earth throughout the pages when he did capitalize the names of other planets. For the reasons mentioned above, I deduct one point and give Earth Below Us 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers of space opera within the science-fiction genre. If you are also a religious person, you will have a blast reading it. The non-religious among us might feel some discomfort toward the end of the book when biblical references take a more important role, and these readers might be equally puzzled by the ending.
Earth Below Us
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