The Grendel’s Shadow was a good novella for Andrew Mayne’s first attempt at fiction.
It was a simple, straight forward adventure story of a man trying to get a creature before it destroys an entire civilization one person at a time. The way the story just drops you in the middle of a semi-primitive culture with dangerous animals and very few ways for a person to defend themselves automatically puts you on the edge of your seat, wondering how and if the hero is going to make it through the story.
The way that Mayne crafted this story made it hard to believe this was his first fiction novella. He seemed to take his cues from some of the greats in horror such as King, Koontz, and Stoker by weaving a tale that made the reader want to keep reading. The hero seemed believable, while his “side-kick,” if you want to call the reporter that was assigned to report on his activities, started out as a meager mouselike creature of a man, but after a while in the jungle of the alien planet, was forced to grow a spine and fend for himself and help the hero.
I started reading this story on my break one afternoon and was engrossed in the amount of detail that Mayne used to fashion the alien world, not unlike the way he did in Hollywood Pharaohs, but still leaving things credible enough for it to not leave you thinking that it could not happen. When I picked the book up again on the bus to Atlanta this past weekend, I did not put it down until I had finished it. Each page made me want to read more of the story.
The swearing again posed a problem, but given the medium and the writer, I was not sure if it could not be expected. Other than that, The Grendel’s Shadow is a great read, well worth the 99 cents you will pay for it on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, or Andrewmayne.com, and you will lose yourself in a world of far off mystery and disbelief for a few hours cheering for a hero as you make your way to another world.
Overall rating: 4
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