M. L. Williams' Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled was published in March 2016.
Information about M. L. Williams:
M. L. Williams is an award-winning ex-journalist. He retired after 39 years of battling deadlines to venture into the world of science fiction. Williams lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He spends his time reading, writing and enjoying his role as Grandpa. He has written two novels: Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled and its sequel, Return of the Earthers.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled:
Marauders from a renegade planet attack an Earth colony ship forcing landing parties to split into two groups in a desperate attempt to escape. The attackers are killed, but the colonists pay a terrible price. Their vessels are destroyed stranding them without their technology on either side of an imposing mountain range on the planet Verde Grande.
Descendants of a mysterious Seer now protect their people but become the bane of the hunter society on the other side of the mountain. All attempts to scale the mountain are thwarted for two centuries by the powerful Seers who want to preserve their religion and way of life no matter the cost.
One day, a party of hunters sets out to climb the mountain. To their dismay, the Seers cannot control a strange unreachable young woman who finds the passage to their protected valley. The reunion triggers a decades-long conflict between the Seers and the children of the “lost ones” - a struggle that forever changes the people of Verde Grande.
A REVIEW OF M. L. WILLIAMS' SEERS OF VERDE: THE LEGEND FULFILLED
Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled is the first novel in the Seers of Verde series of space opera novels. It's an entertaining and fast-paced story about colonists who are stranded on a distant planet after being attacked by space marauders. It's a good start to a new science fiction series that promises to be something a bit different.
This novel is one of the most pleasant reading experiences I've had during the recent months. I found it impressive, because it's similar to yet intriguingly different from other modern space opera novels. I don't normally read many new space opera novels, because some of them lack depth and feature odd and soapish plot twists that make no sense to readers. I was delighted to notice that M. L. Williams avoids these elements and pays attention to characterisation and plot twists.
It was interesting to read this novel, because it had a strong focus on culture and anthropology. In my opinion, this novel is an excellent example of the fact that independent authors are capable of writing stories that rival anything that big publishing companies have published, because they are not restrained by publishers' wishes and expectations and can write about what they want and how they want.
Here's a bit of information about how the story begins:
Commander Yermak Halpan of Brak's Revenge (the pride of the Tanlian space fleet) is pleased to hear that an Earth colony has been found on the planet XR-309. He is preparing for an attack on the colonists and their colony ship, Colonia Nueve... Meanwhile, the colonists who are on the planet are aware of the Tanlians, because a Seer called Taryl Bryann has sensed the Tanlians. She relays information about the Tanlians and their intentions to the ship's chief security officer, Lar Vonn, and Captain Hector Nandez... When the attack begins, Taryl becomes a mighty weapon against the Tanlians, because she breaks the ancient code of not to do harm. In the heat of the attack both of the ships - Brak's Revenge and Colonia Nueve - explode killing everyone aboard them. All of the attackers are killed, but the colonists pay a heavy price for their survival, because their vessels are destroyed and they're stranded on the planet...
This is the beginning of a well written space opera story that flows surprisingly effortlessly from start to finish and becomes increasingly intriguing towards the end.
The author tackles with such fascinating concepts as being stranded on a distant planet, cultural anthropology and dominant societies. I enjoyed reading about cultural changes and how things developed on the planet, because the author had created a clever story that was divided into four sections that slightly differed from each other. Each of the sections revealed what happened to the people who were stranded on the planet and how the conditions on the planet changed when people lived in isolation for a long period of time.
The characterisation is fluent, because there are many POV characters and the author tells the story through their eyes. I found all of the characters interesting, because each of them brought versatility and freshness to the story. It would have been nice to read more about certain characters, but I think it's good that the author avoided unnecessary filling material, because the story didn't need it.
Darya Vonn is a good example of an intriguing character, because she's an autistic artist who was almost killed by her father for being different when she was a child (the Nuvens considered children like Darya to be unproductive and weak members of their society). The author has come up with an excellent story arc for her, because he writes captivatingly about what kind of a life she has and what she can do.
The Seers are fascinating and well-created characters, because they have interesting abilities that separate them from other people. They can affect people with their powers and make them see things that are not there. They are fiercely protective of their culture and way of life and are willing to do anything to protect it.
It was intesting to read about the space marauders - the Tanlians - because they were renegades who had descended from prisoners who mutinied against their overseers and took control of the planet Tantalum 2, which was a Colonization Alliance of Independent Nation (CAIN) incarceration and mining camp. They attacked on Earth colonies and plundered them, causing a lot of problems to the colonists.
Worldbuilding works well, because the events in this novel take place on the planet Verde Grande, which has an interesting georgraphical formation: a huge fissure that has split the continent in half. Millions of years ago the planet's tectonic plates formed a mountain range leaving two valleys on either side. This fascinating landscape plays an important role in the story.
One of the best things about this novel is that it contains a few fascinating descriptions about advanced bioforming and what can be done to make a planet suitable for humans to live in. In this novel, biologists use new knowledge to make species adapt to new environments as fast and effectively as possible. Reading about the adaptor gene and what it could do was fascinating, because it allowed plants and animals to evolve and thrive in new worlds.
I enjoyed the author's way of writing about what happened on Verde Grande after the attack was thwarted. His approach to the happenings feels believable and realistic, because the surviving colonists find themselves being stranded alone on the planet and have to learn to live and survive there. The survivors face difficulties, but they learn to cope with the changes and do their best to survive under challenging conditions (the author writes well about their problems and hardships).
In my opinion, M. L. Williams does an excellent job at describing how the Seers feel about the group of hunters entering their valley and not being able to control the strange young woman who is immune to their powers, because they want to protect their way of life and fear that the hunters will be a threat to them. When the Seers reunite with the "lost ones", it triggers a conflict that affects everyone involved in it.
The author manages to explore what kind of brutalities human beings are capable of doing to one another in a compelling way, because the underlying grittiness and harshness adds plenty of fascination to the story. He balances the grittiness with a few touching scenes (the delivery of the first human baby on the planet etc) that will impress readers.
It's great that the author keeps political elements entertaining and interesting, because - in my opinion - there's nothing as annoying as reading about political elements that lead the story nowhere or have nothing to do with the happenings. In this novel, these elements serve the story and add depth to it.
I think that this novel will especially appeal to readers who love character-driven stories with action, adventure, conflicts and political intrigue. It also has the power to attract the attention of newcomers to science fiction, because it's an accessible and entertaining novel that's something a bit different.
When I read this novel, I thought to myself that the author is familiar with the novels by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson and Arthur C. Clarke, because there were a few tiny bits and pieces that reminded me of them.
As a Finn, I found it fascinating that the author mentions Finland in his story and uses the Finnish word "sankari", which means "hero". In fear of writing spoilers, I won't reveal how the author uses this word, but I'll mention that it is related to the Seers.
Although this novel is a space opera novel, it has a few fantastical elements, which separate it from mainstream space opera novels. I think that these elements will strongly appeal to those who have read Frank Herbert's Dune novels.
I give Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled strong four stars on the scale from one to five starts, because I liked the story and the characters. This novel has a bit of roughness and unpolished shine around the edges, but not in a bad way, because the author keeps the story flowing and engages the reader's attention. Despite a few weak moments, this novel is a good and entertaining space opera novel that deserves to be read (I noticed that the author uses many well-known elements as his building tools, but he does it in a fresh way). I look forward to reading the sequel, Return of the Earthers, because I have a feeling that it will add more style and substance to the overall story arc.
My final words are:
M. L. Williams' Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled is an interesting and welcome addition to the space opera genre. There's a feel of grandness to this novel that fans of space opera novels will find fascinating. When you begin to read it, you'll notice that it has been written out of love for storytelling and science fiction. If you enjoy reading character-driven space opera novels, please take a look at this novel, because it's good entertainment.