I’ll admit that Mole Hunt, Paul Collin’s action packed new sci fi adventure isn’t the sort of book I normally read.
It’s set in a world I have no experience of, with rules and customs quite foreign to the way I live. Needless to say, I couldn’t put Mole Hunt down.
Maximus Black and his ruthless intentions had me hooked from the first page. I can’t say I liked Max as a person, but he is a very compelling character and I really wanted to know whether he would succeed with his mission.
Maximus is the classic action hero in terms of his intelligence and abilities, but he’s more of a Dexter than a James Bond. In fact, he’s a devious pyschopath, but that ‘living on the edge, take big risks quality’ is what keeps the reader riveted.
Max is RIM spy agency’s star cadet, but he’s also a mole, using the organisation for his own devious purposes. In the Mole Hunt world, unless you’re dead, you can pretty much be repaired so people take big risks and there’s a lot at stake.
Paul Collins gives the reader just enough information to hint that life has not always been kind to Maximus. This suggests a vulnerability that redeems Max to some extent for the reader, but also foreshadows that this could lead to his downfall.
Max has his own agenda – to get his hands on a cache of Old Empire weapons, giving him control of the galaxy and allowing him to extract revenge for the murder of his parents when he was six.
He pits his wits against Anneke Longshadow, one of RIM’s best agents and someone who also harbours a difficult past. But Anneke’s on the good guy’s side and when her Uncle is murdered, the hunt for The Mole becomes personal.
World building is one of the things that Collins does best and in spite of the unfamiliar names and customs, I found myself totally immersed in the world of Mole Hunt.
Every detail has been meticulously thought out and intertwined with the action to draw the reader into the world of the story. The technological information is authentic and it’s almost as though the setting is another living, breathing character.
The action is non-stop and the dilemma for the reader is who to barrack for – the ruthless but damaged Maximus Black or the equally scarred but righteous Anneke Longshadow. Both character’s points of view are presented to us and like the protagonists, we have choices to make.
I’m looking forward to seeing the tussle between these Max and Anneke in the next book in the Maximus Black trilogy, Dyson’s Drop.
Mole Hunt has strong themes of good and evil, loyalty and identity. It gives the reader plenty to think about including how circumstances and background contribute to who we are, but it’s the choices we make that shape our lives.
This book is recommended for readers 12+, but would also be enjoyed by adults who love the sci-fi genre.
Mole Hunt is published by Ford Street and is due for release in June 2011. Teacher’s notes are available from the Ford Street website