3 out of 4 stars
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The Flowers of Mars is a science fiction novel by the author Henry D. Irwin. The author combines science, politics, romance and danger to create a glimpse of what could happen to our world in the not-so-distant future.
The story begins with one of the protagonists, Dr. Annie Farrell, on a geological trip to Africa. She is researching a prehistoric event that destroyed the majority of life on Earth. Meanwhile, Gracie Hewitt, a physics graduate assistance, has discovered a "strange matter" on Mars. It comes from geological formations that look like large flowers. It seems that this matter could provide powerful, lasting energy to Earth. Unknown to Gracie, the information given to her was classified and now creates a maelstrom once the news is released. Many countries of the world are now on a race to reach Mars and the strange matter. Gracie and a mystic from India are the only ones who listen to Annie that there might be a dangerous connection between Mars and an ancient event.
One of the opponents to the Mars mission is the Reverend Jared Quincy. He believes this is a sign of the end times, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. He has brainwashed his followers to believe him and will stop at nothing to try to destroy the mission to Mars. The oil companies also have a big stake in this mission. A discovery of a new fuel could put them all out of business. Throw some politics, espionage and sex into the mix and you have a wild ride. To reach their destination safely, all countries will have to pull together to prevent a major disaster.
The story began with action in one area of the world, and quickly jumped to other settings. The author was descriptive in drawing a word portrait of each country involved in the mission to Mars. Included in the list of main countries are Russia, China, and the United States of America. Although the story is set many years in the future, it is laid out in a very believable format.
About one-third of the way through the book, I became bogged down with the elaborate, technical descriptions. I feel a little less detail in these areas would have been just as informative for a lay-person. Also, I became confused as the storyline jumped from one character to another. I had to re-read a few sections to determine who the character was and where they actually fit in the plot. Although I slowed down in the middle of my reading, the creativity and interesting character development kept me going. Two of the main female characters, Gracie and Annie, are strong yet humorous women. They give a touch of levity to the story. The Reverend Quincy was a powerful, psychotic opponent. The author pulled together a book with many intertwined story lines and characters while managing to make it come together smoothly at the end.
I noticed a few grammatical mistakes, although they didn't distract from the overall enjoyment of the book. Based on the above observations, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Anyone interested in science fiction and space travel will enjoy this one. However, I must mention that it should be for mature readers only. There are some sexual scenes that would be unsuitable for younger readers.
The Flowers of Mars
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