Paul Stephenson is the author of the post-apocalyptic horror trilogy Blood on the Motorway, and his work has been featured on the chart-topping horror podcast, The Other Stories. Blood on the Motorway has over fifty five star reviews across the UK and Worldwide site and has been the bestselling British Horror eBook on both sides of the Atlantic.
Now it’s time for something new. A new story called Sunrise which is the first book in The Sunset Chronicles.
Plague. Murder. Unrest. Humanity’s future looks far from bright. The year is 2107, and Earth is dying. For Wyn, Lois, and Judd, that’s the least of their problems.
Sunrise is the a delightful read, let’s get that much clear from the start. Telling its story (or at least the first part of it) from the perspective of three main characters. Each unconnected save for the massive company, Sunset that has its fingers in just about every faucet of life.
We have Wyn, a pilot on the ISS Minos which is on a mission to hopefully save humanity. The mission has seen the crew head out into deep space with the ice moon of Europa as the destination. There, they hope to find a cure for a plague (The Mar) that has decimated the Earth’s crops and sent humanity into a tailspin of which it may never recover from.
This part of the story is the most intriguing as it combines sci-fi with mild horror. The emptiness and loneliness of space mixed with the mystery of what the crew might find on Europa.
The second character is Lois and is almost as good as Wyn’s story while being incredibly thrilling. Here we have an Interpol agent sent undercover into Sunset to find out just is going on behind the scenes of the giant corporate beast. Grounded in a more reality-based story with elements of espionage and with plenty of action, this is the character you’ll want to read more of. It’s also the story element that really makes this feel like several books rather than just one.
Finally, we have Judd, a telepath who doesn’t know he is a telepath until someone seeks him out. This person is also a telepath and wants to help Judd understand and use his power. Something that hardly appeals to Judd seeing as his kind are not safe from those who don’t have the gift.
At first Judd is the least interesting character. However, as this tale evolves over the book it goes to dark places that make his story one to remember.
By the final few pages, the growing sense of exhilaration becomes all too apparent and the realisation that it’s about to end is hard to swallow. Simply put, this is a book that is difficult to put down and anticipation is high for the next in the series.
Paul Stephenson’s style of writing is one that is easy to follow along but doesn’t lack detail nor descriptive elements. However, he also knows when not too dwell on a particular plot point, something that other writers planning a series of books tend to do. He could have very easily made the Wyn side of the story in this book all about the trip to Europa with it ending as they arrive but he doesn’t. Instead we get to experience the moon and ride along with the characters as they attempt to complete their mission.
This applies to all the characters in fact. The detail is there, they are fleshed out but far from complete. Where they go from here is going to be one hell of an exciting ride.
Sunrise - Book 1 of the Sunset Chronicles (Paul Stephenson)
The Final Score - 8/10