|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Genre:||Christian, Scifi, Survival, Adventure|
|Series:||The Offworld Chronicles|
|Publication Date:||August 2017|
|Media Types:||Print (paperback) and Ebook|
|Followed By:||Dragon's Gambit|
The Race is book 1 in the Christian Survival Adventure series, The Offworld Chronicles and begins the story of Simon, his team, and their travels, adventures and experiences in the early parts of the race course that each of them are forced to travel along in their journey towards the end, freedom, and the opportunity to return home.
Back Cover Blurb
Forced to participate in a dangerous, 6000 mile long survival race on an alien planet, Simon and his team must overcome the trials of this new world and win the race at all costs if they are to have any hope of going home. But with lethal dangers at every turn, and numerous malevolent forces out to destroy them, it will take every ounce of their strength, and a generous dose of divine intervention, to get them safely to the end.
The story begins with Simon, a software developer and part time farmer, who is the main character of the story. After a stressful day at work, he leaves late at night only to be abducted shortly after leaving the building. He wakes up to find himself at the reception station for a 6000 mile long survival race where he receives an Initial Starter Pack, as well as three additional items from Node Zero, including a Navigator Compass before being released onto the course. After processing, Simon meets a brash, arrogant, street smart kid from the South Side of Chicago named Trevor. He then embarks on the course where the two of them have a rocky start before Trevor eventually accepts Christ and joins Simon on the journey. After traveling a ways, they encounter Aria, who also joins their team. The team is later on jumped by a group of bandits who take Aria hostage, and succeed in knocking out Simon and Trevor. Shortly after the fight ends, Alex appears and rescues the two men. Later on, with Alex's help, Simon and Trevor find the bandit's camp and rescue Aria, but also gain two more members of their team (Birash and Yurg) in the process. However, it's obvious from the start that the relationship between these two is anything but cordial. Despite this, Simon and the others all move quickly to put as much distance between them and the bandits as possible.
The bandits waste no time in pursuing them, but ultimately fail to capture Simon's team, who successfully escape to Alex's cabin in the second hextant. After arriving, Simon asks Alex to join them, but he initially refuses, only to eventually agree later on. The next day the team packs up and leaves Alex's homestead, but not before Alex wires it so that everything he has will be destroyed as he never intends to return there ever again. This is also to keep his gun making supplies out of the hands of Orbus and his men. Simon's team continue on to the village of Logontown where they're greeted by Benjamin Bernstein who runs a small bakery and butcher shop in the center of town. He invites Simon's team into the house where they can rest and talk. After staying the night, and receiving some treats from Benjamin, they continue on down the trail, struggling over the next several days to make their way through the thick, heavy woods on the other side. After successfully overcoming that, they struggle over a large moat obstacle, nearly dying in the process, before continuing on and passing into third hextant. Along the way they continue to learn more and more about each other, where they came from, their history, and many other things.
During this time Yurg, through the gentle and kind consideration of Birash and everyone in the team, slowly softens to them, and begins to give up his hatred of Birash. Not completely, but he certainly makes some strides in that direction. The team next stops in the village of Pongo where they encounter Jacob and his wife, and first learn about the language of Bonisi and some more details about the race, the world and its people. Moving on from there they reach the city of Trail Point in the Keep of Woes several weeks later. They then stay the night at an inn, and then go out the next day and trade in some of their furs, and various other items they've been carrying with them, in exchange for some of the local currency. Once they are done there, the team goes into the market to do some shopping, with Simon, Aria and Yurg going one direction, and Alex, Trevor and Birash going the other. However, it's not long before Simon, Aria and Yurg draw the interest of the local slavers who eventually take them captive. Alex, Trevor and Birash try to save them, but fail, and are forced to follow behind the slavers to a local slave market where Simon, Aria and Yurg are auctioned off. Yurg, is sold first, followed by Aria, and lastly Simon.
Outside Trevor, Alex and Birash wait for each of their three friends to come out the rear door of the slave market. Yurg comes out first and is skillfully rescued. Aria is next, at which point Trevor reveals his love for her. Inside, while the others continue to wait, the woman who bought him, a local Baroness, comes to Simon and reveals to him that she too is a Christian, much to his surprise. After this they step outside where Alex and the others confront her, but find out she's a friend. She then takes them to her house for shelter and some much needed food. Once in the house Alex takes Simon aside into another room and talks to him about God. Simon in turn answers all of his questions and even witnesses to him, through which Alex becomes saved. He then goes out and tells the others.
After spending some time at the estate, and even meeting a young dragon named Fallon for the first time, Simon's team leaves and goes to the nearby village of Donville, which sits on the edge of The Reaping Sea. Once there they hire a ship for the journey across to the other side. However, on the journey a Sea Storm appears and sinks the boat. Shortly after this the storm dissipates. One of the controllers appears shortly after this and checks his handiwork. Satisfied, he flies away. However, unknown to him, Simon survived, thanks to an angel who appears (Caleb) and takes him to the doorstep of a fisherman named Mathias who nurses him back to health. Deep down though, Simon fears that his entire team has died and he's the only one left now. However, it's soon revealed that Trevor and the others have all survived, with some in better shape than others. The individual groups or individuals within the team then work to find their friends and get back together. It's not long before everyone, save Yurg and Aria, are back together.
Simon's team, after finding an inn to stay in at a small fishing village near a river, are discovered and surrounded by Sheffield Republic troops who demand their surrender. This results in a standoff that lasts all night. After having made their way out of The Reaping Sea and onto one of the large rivers that feeds it, Clifford Weiss and the Calypso arrive and save the team. Once aboard they discover that Aria and Yurg have survived and were rescued by Clifford. He then takes them up to Subton where they can restart their journey. Elsewhere on Offworld, Fallon appears before Weyr Master Zek, his grandfather, and discusses the current situation with Simon's team, as well as other connected parties, including the demon Sheobaal, the Dragon Corps, Caleb, and others. Zek then sends Fallon back out on his mission to monitor and assist Simon's team. The book ends with word of the escape of Simon's team reaches the ears of General Amaroth, who vows to succeed where Sheffield has failed, and exterminate Simon's team at all costs.
Reviews and Awards
The reviews and awards collected below are both reader and professional reviews, as well as any reviews the book has received that I am aware of at this moment.
From Smashwords, posted by AdeOjo Tolu: Reviewed on Oct. 22, 2017
I didn't know what to expect when I got this book as I saw "scifi, angels, fantasy". But I can say I'm very intrigued by it and has sparked up my faith in God once again. I can also safely say this is a modern day equivalent of the Pilgrim's Progress, except with more characters (that you can relate to). This book is a blessing. Thank you Steven, God bless!
P.S. I'm patiently waiting for the next one.
From Smashwords, posted by Yvonne Yap: Reviewed on Aug. 29, 2017
This had been a very uplifting story to me. A bit like Narnia + Hunger Game. I like all the characters and could really relate to them as I share their faith. You will either like this or need this. Hope you find something more at the end of it. Can't wait for the second installment.