Book Review : The Phoenix Conspiracy
By Richard L. Sanders
On the surface, the galaxy seems peaceful. Humankind prospers from the Capital World to the far reaches of The Corridor. But to those who can see the signs, it’s clear something is wrong. Long, dark fingers are pulling strings inside the military, making clandestine deals with enemy states, and fulfilling some dark design.
Captain Calvin Cross is an intelligence agent working for the Imperial government. He’s young, his methods are unorthodox, but he gets results. So when a former military hero steals a warship and goes rogue–threatening to start a war, Calvin is sent to eliminate him.
But as he chases his prey across the stars, he realizes they are both pawns in a shadowy chess game that shakes kingdoms, divides empires, and threatens civilization everywhere. And if he is to uncover the mystery and expose the conspiracy he must confront–and embrace–the darkest elements of the galaxy and throw himself, his career, and everyone he loves into the line of fire. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
One of the best things about The Phoenix Conspiracy is that it is NOT a romance pretending to be a science fiction book.
I liked the straight forward approach that Calvin was trying to solve a mystery that everyone else wanted to overlook. Even though the approach came straight at me I was surprised by some of the twists. One of the things I like about science fiction is that authors obey “rules” even though they may be fictional rules. Sanders includes werewolves and vampires, but there is a scientific explanation (and they are on the periphery of the story and not the main characters), so it could work for his universe.
The Phoenix Conspiracy is fast paced and will appeal to many Star Trek fans. The book is probably geared towards men more than women because relationships are less important than the events to solve the mystery. I always like to see relationships in books and this one focuses friendship. We can also see the relationship of a commanding officer has on the crew, but it is not the focus of the book. The relationships are still part of a means to solving the problems.
I was interested in the motivation behind each character. Why does Calvin use illicit drugs? How does Captain Raidan decide he must be the one to act against another species? How does Commander Presley justify her use of beauty to manipulate men when she loathes that ability? I am also curious to see what role the Princess will play since she had such a small, but influential, role in the first book. The characters are neither all bad or all good which makes them more well rounded. I believe as the series continues I will feel more vested in each character.
At first I thought Sanders was giving more physical descriptions of the women, particularly Presley, however I realized he actually describes the men too. I didn’t key into the men’s descriptions as readily because it’s Presley who has the most powerful affect on the other characters by her beauty, and she is the only one who utilizes her sexuality as a tool. Even so, there is nothing particularly explicit.
I actually really liked The Phoenix Conspiracy and will read more in the series. I hope to see more from Sanders in the future (though I don’t know how he has time to write with a career in law). This book would certainly be appropriate for a high school audience.
3.5 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
If you liked this one you might want to read some Isaac Asimov like I, Robot and The Foundation.
I would also recommend Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson (which is more fantasy than science fiction) and Sword of the Lamb, The Phoenix Legacy by M.K. Wren.