3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Think of the Independence Day or War of the Worlds movies and you will get a glimpse of Richard Mann’s plot in Dominion: First Blood. Initially designed as a screenplay, it ultimately became a full-length science-fiction novel while still preserving the kind of imagery and drama to potentially turn it into a blockbuster. It took the author six years of waking up at 4 in the morning to finish the book. His efforts are definitely visible in the thorough planning, research and organization of this action-packed novel.
Despite the 600 pages of the book, there is no room for boredom. There are as many as 186 chapters, but they are short and extremely effective in keeping suspense in the air. By courtesy of the author, there is even a cast of characters included at the beginning for the readers to keep track of the large number of fictional personae. Under the circumstances, I had no problem in following the storyline with no worries about who’s who or how somebody ended up in the tale.
If you are wondering about the plot, let me put it in a nutshell for you: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Humans have no other option but to forge an alliance with vampires against the menacing Sumeri aliens who are set on invading the Earth and implementing their Nazi Aryan plan for world dominion.
Part One (“A Hero is Born”) introduces the protagonists and focuses on the need for common action irrespective of racial, ideological, religious or sexual differences. Captain Peter ‘Bulletproof’ Morgan is a former SAS soldier and MI6 agent endowed with extraordinary physical and intellectual skills. He and his friend, Corporal Vinnie ‘The Terminator’ Carson, fight the terrorist threat in Yemen or Saudi Arabia black ops. When the aliens’ black ships target the major world cities, Peter will join the US forces and the Sirius Protocol set in motion after the recovery of an alien craft in Area 51. Part 2 (“The Battle of Los Angeles”) and part 3 (“Caius”) deal with countless near-death situations in which Peter realizes there is more truth to his nickname than he ever thought possible.
The novel has a bit of everything in terms of action, adventure, paranormal and mysticism. From war scenes and space ship battles to moderately explicit sexual scenes, premonitory visions, an earthquake and even a tsunami, nothing is missing. Do not imagine all these are far-fetched or hard to believe. They come at the right place and at the right time in the story. There is also a strict vampire and alien command structure the author makes sure the readers get acquainted with. Full-fledged characters stand out of the wide cast and support the multiple threads of the plot. For example, Count Cassian is the emblematic figure of a century-old Vampire Elder and Head of the Vampire Grand Council. Lucia is not only a vampire, but also the prototypical femme fatale and, possibly, Peter’s wife in a previous life in Roman times. The aliens’ hierarchical organization parallels the Nazi power structure in WWII. Their emperor, Herr Herg-Zuk, is a reiteration of Hitler himself. Lord Grim-Uk reminds us of the atrocious Himmler whereas the Narzuks are the alien version of the Nazi SS officers.
What I liked most about the novel was the constant element of surprise and the overall message of peace and tolerance dominating the grim scenario. Vinnie comes from a gangster family in East End London; however, he is more honest and loyal than General Julian Grimbald, the Head of the US Space command, a self-obsessed narcissist used by the aliens as their stool pigeon. The decline of the Sumeri alien race on Ergal 5 is discomfortingly reminiscent of what might possibly happen on our planet too. Starting as a democracy, they gradually slipped into an imperial dictatorship with class distinctions between Patricians, Plebeians and clones. Forced to handle the issues of infertility and a deteriorating DNA, the aliens will learn that cloning is not an answer to their problems especially when their robots start experiencing self-awareness as it happens in the case of Ergtuk the 82nd, closely resembling Data, the android in the Star Trek series.
It is difficult to come up with an exhaustive review when writing about a complex and multi-layered novel such as Dominion: First Blood. I am giving it 3 out of 4 stars mainly because it needs another round of proofreading. Nevertheless, the punctuation and capitalization errors were not distracting and they could be easily fixed for the book to look spotless. As far as I am concerned, the detailed description of military technology, the graphic scenes of violence as well as the occasional swearing words were also a deterrent in giving the book a perfect rating. I recommend Richard Mann’s book to all those who enjoy apocalyptic novels wrapped up in ancient prophecies, sci-fi and conspiracy theories. Even if most of the conflict is resolved in Book 1, the epilogue does throw in a cliffhanger for the protagonists to continue their wild ride in a new book.
DOMINION First Blood
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like cristinaro's review? Post a comment saying so!