Monday, 23 May 2011

Review: Wrath of the Lemming-men (Chronicles of Isambard Smith), by Toby Frost

The third (and presently final) book describing the escapades of Space Captain Smith once again features the Ghast, but this time they’re joined by new allies. Allies filled with insane rage, and the suicidal instinct to hurl themselves from high places. The Yull, also known as Lemming-men, featured briefly in God-Emperor of Didcot and are more prominent in Wrath of the Lemming-men (as might be expected, given the title).

The Vorl also make a ghostly return. Beings of an ethereal nature and great power, they are sought after by the dreaded Ghast 462, who plots to splice their super-advanced genes into Ghast bio-technology. This would provide Gertie with incredibly powerful soldiers, and Space Captain Smith is dispatched at once to stop the diabolical plot.

We also get a pair of new adversaries, the high ranking Number Eight of the Ghast and Colonel Vock, deadly lemming and nemesis of Suruk the Slayer.

The plot’s a bit meatier this time around, and the characters get a little bit more developed. Carveth, the escaped sex toy who became the ship’s pilot, mechanic and chief coward, in particular sees a bit more of the spotlight.

Isambard Smith leads his motley assortment of misfits, aided along the way by Dreckitt and Wainscott, from world to world as they track down the likeliest place to find the mysterious Vorl. It’s unusually packed with plot developments and twists, actually, particularly in contrast to God-Emperor of Didcot which was a bit simpler. Suruk’s family make a welcome return and provide some of the most amusing moments.

Suruk remains my firm favourite due to his, er, unorthodox take on the universe, but it’s nice to see the others, especially Carveth, get a bit more fleshed out.

The book's got as much humour as the previous two, but benefits from developing the characters a bit more. All of the crew get some sort of development and a bit more of the limelight. However, the story doesn't get bogged down with terribly serious moments, and although it's a more complicated plot than God-Emperor of Didcot the book doesn't suffer for it.

What does the future hold for Space Captain Smith?

Well, he’s going to star in some audiobooks of the present three stories chronicling his heroic deeds.

When I interviewed Mr. Frost, the author, earlier this month (, he had this to say:

Q: Lastly, will we see a new Space Captain Smith book and, if so, when?

TF: I really want to do more Smith. I certainly feel that there are loads of jokes and adventures still to come, and I’ve made notes for more. Unfortunately it’s really difficult to say when I'll be able to write them at the moment.

So, it’s likely that we’ll see him again, though we don’t know when. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.


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