Monday, July 4, 2016

Book Review - Legacy of Shadows by Craig Gallant

I got Legacy of Shadow's shortly before the release thanks to the very fine folk at Winged Hussar publishing. I have been waiting for this novel since I first heard that Craig Gallant would be branching out to write his own series. I was not aware he was writing Science Fiction, but was excited to see what he put out regardless of genre. I've enjoyed Craig's other novels which were written in the Wild West Exodus universe, and really wanted to see what he would do once "outside the sandbox".

The Basics

This is Craig's first published foray writing for his own created universe. I've reviewed and am a fan of his previous work within the Wild West Exodus universe and am excited to see what he would do with his own. Authors of "sandbox fiction" can struggle when writing without the provided frameworks and guidelines of established canon. Legacy of Shadows gives us the opportunity to reengage with Craig on new ground, as if it was his first time out (again).
This is an excellent place to make a point about the book description on Amazon.
Skip the Amazon book synopsis!
I'm not sure what happened on Amazon, but the synopsis has two large issues. First, it's not accurate for this book. Second, it contains some spoilers for the book as a whole. 


Let's take a look at what the publisher provides as the synopsis:
Two men of earth stumble upon an artifact that bestows upon one of them control of and responsibility for an ancient space station that stands as the last bastion of freedom in the galaxy. He does his best, with the support of his friend and others he meets along the way, to fill the office until a suitable successor can be found, while the forces of galactic oppression move to use his presence as an excuse to crush the station. He battles determined enemies, betrayal, and his own inner demons to defend the position blind luck put him into, but in the process, he might have started a process that might destroy every human in the galaxy.
I like this synopsis, very straight forward and gives a good overview to the book opening. I thought I would take a turn at writing my own synopsis of the book:
Legacy of Shadows is a literary buddy film set to the backdrop of hardcore science fiction drama. The story opens with our two protagonists engaged in a frantic car chase ending in an explosive conclusion and alien abduction lifted straight from the big screen. The story rushes headlong into a well crafted buddy film narrative culminating in a massive battle ripe with evil galactic overlords, monstrous alien soldiers, space demons, and powered-armor soldiers fighting high-tech giant robots. 

My Thoughts

I took the time to read through this novel twice prior to writing this review. My first read through was voracious, devouring the novel in a fairly short time. My second read was leisurely, taking notes and annotating sections I particularly enjoyed or had questions about. This is a very well written book where the authors writing opens a window into the scenes playing out inside their head, inviting you (the reader) in to watch the story unfold.

I enjoyed the way Craig (the author) plays with well accepted American movie tropes, flipping several on their head. We have the dual-ethnicity (black / white) buddy team at the opening of the story, yet the aliens in the wider galaxy are horrified by the white character and accepting of the black. We have an entire race of warlike space daemons, horns and all, who end up as brave crusaders against the evil galactic empire. Overall, very little of this story is predictable, despite early appearances. Craig masterfully crafts a story where not even expecting a "reversal from expectations" will serve to predict the story. Despite the twists and surprises the overall story is easy to follow and understand.


I rarely read a novel more than once due to a variety of reasons. I picked out additional depth and details in this story on my second read through and was more pleased with the story afterwards. This is an excellent book and excellent start to an engaging future series. I strongly recommend anyone who enjoys science fiction or general buddy-film style stories pick up Legacy of Shadows.

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