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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Dark Dweller by Gareth Worthington is a science-fiction tale that dares to ask some of the really big questions and even attempts to answer them: Where did we come from? How did we get to where we are? And can humanity survive its self-destructive nature and eventually successfully stretch out into the Universe? When the crew of the Paralus, a helium-mining ship arrives on Jupiter to gather the much-needed resource for earth’s power systems, they discover a pristine escape pod with a young woman inside. After rescuing the pod, they are astounded to find out that the young woman is supposedly Captain Kara Psomas of a research craft from over a century earlier that had crashed into Jupiter and was lost with all hands on board. Kara claims to have spent the last century in a black void where she was able to communicate with the Gods and that she had been sent back, tasked to save humanity and prevent a major disaster that threatens to destroy the earth. Although Kara’s story and her identity do seem credible to a point, the crew of the Paralus must decide if they should act on her fantastic information and abandon their mission of gathering helium for what appears to be a wild-goose chase for a possibly insane woman.
Dark Dweller is an intense, exciting, and nerve-wracking space thriller. With the future of humanity on the line and the decisions that need to be made affecting everyone, Gareth Worthington has woven a narrative that is taut, tense, and ultimately explosive. I particularly enjoyed two aspects of this work, over and above the fascinating plot. First, the characterizations of the principal players were exceptionally well done, especially those of the psychiatrist Dr. Sarah Dallas and Luan Nkosi, the leader of the research team based in Europa. By using different characters to narrate each chapter, the author has given a fascinating insight into each of the varying perspectives both on board Paralus and at the Europa research station. The second aspect was the simplicity of the narrative. Too often science fiction authors can become too bogged down in fantastic tech and complicated science but not in this adventure. This is an out-and-out story of survival, love, and courage that just happens to be set on a futuristic stage in the solar system. Dark Dweller fulfills my opinion of what good science fiction should be and I enjoyed it immensely. This is a fantastic read not just for science fiction aficionados but for all lovers of adventure.