The Gift
Dave Donovan

When high-level governmental programmer Sam Steele is called into his office on his day off, he quickly finds himself at the center of a battle for humanity itself. An alien entity is heading straight for Earth, and an elite team of specialists has been assembled to attempt to make first contact. But despite Steele’s expertise, Colonel Eric Web, his superior and longtime thorn in his side, makes it clear he doesn’t want him there.

The aliens that arrive represent a long-dead race and say they’ve come to help humans defend themselves against an imminent threat, but their help will come with a price. Now the future of humanity hangs in the balance between two Web, the regimented, hubristic military man, and Steele, a brilliant man broken by loss and tragedy.

As the team races the clock to try to divine their visitors’ complex instructions, they struggle with infighting and, ultimately, the question of what it means to be human.

The Gift book cover

Though interesting and worth sticking with, this nonetheless had an adolescent, American dreamboy feel to it. Character depth was a little limited (we had Dans and Sams and Jacks and a raft of monosyllabic characters).

There were a few asides where the present tense intruded, and very minimal explanation of things like “the device” and “The Rigby’s” both, which just seemed to appear. Cammo might be the way it’s pronounced but in written form the milspeak for camouflage has only ever had the one em, and although “wait one” only appears 4 times in the work it still feels very overused.

Still, English quibbles and the apparent youth of the Mise en scène aside it’s a very readable work, on a par with Richard Phillips Second Ship, I’d say. I’d be interested to read more, although not without expecting to be aware of who will eventually triumph.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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