Aphelion Review # 17

Exile to the Stars

By Dale B. Mattheis

Review by Dan L. Hollifield

Type of music/work:



Dale B. Mattheis
The cover illustration was created by Bleu Turrell (azulart@aol.com). The cover was designed by Gaelyn Larrick and Shannon Brodie of Lightbourne (shannon@lightbourne.com).
Ardent Publishing
Publication Date: December 2002

General impressions of the album/book:

From the first few pages, I was hooked. I didn't want to put this book down! I can't wait for the rest of the series to come out. This is a most impressive work. Congratulations, Mr. Mattheis! Well done!


The characters came alive from the very first page. As soon as I began to read, I also began to care about these people. The description of 21st century Earth was frightening in it's plausibility, and the world of Aketti was no less real. The world-building displayed in this novel is some of the finest I've ever seen. Each village, town, city, and forest read like a travelogue of real places, just slightly out of reach for most Travel Agencies. The cultures on Aketti are as real and vital as any from Earth's own history. As the adventure progressed, every aspect of the world of Aketti rang true. I could feel the wind on my face, see the forest glades and towering mountains, and smell the tang of blood on the battlefields.

Some references to Tolkien and other writers are subtle and well placed. They only add to the realism that the whole work displays. In fact, the only flaw I could find in the book (if you want to call it a flaw) was that the characters tended to speak in perfect sentence construction too often. But when accents and slang were used, they conveyed even more realism to the tale. At first this bothered me, but as I read further I discovered that the more formal speech patterns were deliberate acts on the part of the characters. They were choosing to be more careful in their language as they addressed each other. When they conversed casually, the language was as real as that between any close friends.

This is a very well crafted novel, and the fact that it is the first of a series is even more promising. I'm looking forward to reading further in the adventures of Jeff Friedrick, Carl Jorgenson, and their new friends and enemies on Aketti and on Earth.

Background info:

Dale B. Mattheis draws upon his experience in medicine, forestry work, the US Navy, computer technology, and a love of sailing to craft this novel, and others in the series.
Dale B. Mattheis
Ardent publishing
Ph: 507-645-2227
Email: info@ardentpublishing.com
Web site: www.ardentpublishing.com
Exile to the Stars can be purchased directly from the link above. It should also be available from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble by the time this review goes online.

Review Copyright 2002 by Dan L. Hollifield

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