reviewed by Cy Wyss
Sasha Malenkov is a stunningly powerful telepath as well as teleporter, empath, and seer. The first book of the ROE Chronicles is her story. Sasha was kidnapped at age 6 by unknown forces. Twenty years later, a new breed of naval ship is created, one capable of traveling great distances by teleport. What does Sasha have to do with this? A doctor, Robert Wraith, aboard the ship has distressing teleportation dreams, which lead him to the incredible truth about the ship he’s on. To free Sasha, he would have to cripple the ship and enlist help. How he does this is the subject of the first quarter of the book, approximately.
Sasha is an interesting book. The author has chosen to restrict the main action to about the first quarter of the book. I would have expected an entire book for this. Yet, the book goes on for the next couple hundred pages, with small challenges and encounters fairly easily solved. The problem is, Sasha is so powerful that everything falls to her quickly. In spite of this somewhat unorthodox tack, the remainder of the book is highly readable. Even everyday life is interesting enough to form good stories. What unfolds is a utopic vision of what life could be like with what is (essentially) a benevolent dictator at the helm. The setting in space with advanced technology is icing on the cake. Campbell’s universe is part Babylon 5, part Star Trek, but unique enough to hold your attention until the end. I liked the book a lot and was sad when it ended. I only give it four stars because the last three-quarters, while eminently readable, were somewhat slow for an action-themed novel. Don’t let that stop you, though, especially if you like reading about fun and compelling world-building.