The Alleyman. (No Man’s World) – Pat Kelleher (Abaddon Books)
Four months after the Pennine Fusiliers vanished from the Somme, they are still stranded on the alien world. As lieutenant Everson tries to discover the true intentions of their alien prisoner, he finds he must quell the unrest within his own ranks while helping insurrection among the alien Khungarrii.
Beyond the trenches, Lance Corporal Atkins and his Black Hand Gang are reunited with the ironclad tank, Ivanhoe, and it’s crew. On the trail of Jeffries, the diabolist they hold responsible for their predicament, they are forced to face the obscene horrors that lie within the massive Croatoan Crater. Above it all, Lieuitenant Tulliver of the Royal Flying Corps soars free of the confines of alien gravity, where the true scale of the planet’s mystery is revealed. However, to uncover the truth, he must join forces with an unexpected ally.
Even though this is the third title in a series, (and hopefully not the last,), instead of feeling like, if you’re new to the series as I am, that there’s a lot of background that you’re missing, in The Alleyman’ you feel like you’re just thrown headlong into a furiously paced novel that exists separately and in it’s own right. Kelleher is obviously a genuine military history enthusiast and has a great knowledge of the effects the war had on life in the early 20th century. One of the finer points that really made this novel stand out, was the involving explanation of how the small group of humans had adapted to survive in their new environment and the character development of Lieutenant Tulliver, a man forced by the unfolding events to make decisions that could quite possibly alienate himself from his own kind in so far as the bigger picture is concerned.
The tale itself is as gripping as it gets, stylistically sitting right in the middle of a 2000AD and Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Sharpe’ at his absolute best. The twists are well developed, the plot perfect, making this novel, in every sense, an absolute winner. Abaddon continue to release books that are for me, must reads and as such, as far as I’m concerned, are fast becoming one of the best genre publishers in existence. A quick and invalauable hint though, the glossary at the back if the book is essential. Gav