Hand of Mars by Glynn Stewart is the second book in the Starship Mage series. Set 3 years after Starship Mage: Omnibus, we see our main character Damien Montgomery is back again sans the crew of the Blue Jay. For the past 3 years, Damien has been training diligently under the instruction of the Mage King, Desmond Michael Alexander III. During that time, Damien has become more powerful and has earned the privilege of being sent out as an envoy of the Mage King along with Hand Alaura Stealy to investigate unrest on the planet Ardennes.
When Damien arrives on Ardennes, he finds that everything is worse than he originally imagined. With tensions ramping up between the rebels and Governor Vaughn it is up to Damien and Alaura to decipher what happened and delivery justice. On a planet where truth and fiction are hard to distinguish, Damien will have a harder task than anything he’s ever undergone before and must mobilize all of his powers to fulfil this task.
If you enjoyed Starship Mage, you will love Hand of Mars. Hand of Mars is an improvement in every way and though it does not feature anyone from the Blue Jay, we do hear of them. It definitely helps that this book was written in one cohesive part as opposed to the Starship Mage series that was originally written in 5 parts before Omnibus combined it together. Hand of Mars is an intense story from start to finish as Damien continues to find his place in a galaxy that is not as black and white as he believed it to be. For great character development and a story that had me guessing as to how the outcome would be accomplished, I am giving Hand of Mars, 5/5 stars. Though I could guess a couple plot developments, I can hardly hold that against the author too much as I really enjoyed the story. My only suggestion would be to make difficult moments challenging for Damien. Don’t have a major ‘boss fight’ finish in a matter of minutes. It takes away from the gravitas of the moment in the novel.
I received this book for free from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.