The Lowell Letters
Reviews of THE LOWELL LETTERS can be found in various places around the web. These a a few examples:
No wishful thinking - Dr Petru Iamandi - on Barnes & Noble
Towards the end of the novel, one of the characters explains how he is going to deal the Earth blow after blow until the lethal one. To be more convincing, he takes on the stance of a boxer and goes from straight jabs to hooks and uppercuts, while bobbing and weaving, ducking, blocking and slipping punches. He doesn’t move like a professional lightweight, fast but not that forceful, always impatient to put his, or more recently, her opponent down long before the fifteen rounds are over, but like a heavyweight champion, in slower motion, who is aware that looking for a knockout is much riskier than weakening the opponent round after round.
Knowing that choosing to write his book like a lightweight – just a page-turner, making the readers “curiouser and curiouser” and, after the last page, leaving them with nothing but a cheap thrill - he would have sacrificed the main ingredients of a solid novel (complex plot, subtle conflict, plausible characters, consistent style), Tom East has successfully chosen the heavyweight tactics. He starts from two basic SF mental operations, that is extrapolation and speculation, in order to give a new turn to a classic hypothesis: the existence of life on Mars.
Unlike famous predecessors like Kim Stanley Robinson and Brian Aldiss & Roger Penrose, whose imagination colonized Mars and terraformed it, Tom East is interested in how a secret society might selfishly take advantage of this, at the fatal expense of our planet. His idea might sound somewhat banal if we didn’t take into account the specter of a nuclear war which seems to be drawing near, the “not-so-secret society” of autarchs, and the never-ending Covid pandemic. In order to make the plot more credible, the author includes several letters written by Percival Lowell, the American astronomer whose theory of the Martian canals was very popular in the latter half of the 19th century – intriguingly (one of the author’s tricks!), although the action takes place in 2019, the atmosphere of the book reminds one of the turn of the 20th century when people were more inclined to believe extra-terrestrial life was there, within our solar system. Tom East’s novel manages to make us believe that too, even after the last page, at least as wishful thinking.
A Fascinating Conspiracy Tale from Tom East - JW on Amazon
This is an intriguing combination of the old world and new where the seeds of a conspiracy planted in the early in the 20th Century by chance come to light whilst the protagonist, Allan, is browsing in a rundown bookshop in Arizona. Little could Allan have realised that the consequences of his find would lead to disappointment and a life threatening chase through remote locations in the English countryside. Allan, a young man and student who, unlike most of his generation, eschews mobile phones, still manages for the most part to elude his pursuers, and leave us wanting to know more. Perhaps there will be a sequel.