We should all feel very sorry for Austin Boyd.
It will surely be very difficult for him to maintain the level of excitement and intensity that he has achieved in The Proof, Book 2 of the Mars Hill trilogy.
The Evidence (Book 1) introduced us to a host of characters, ranging from a self-proclaimed prophet, several astronauts, and a score of terrorists. John Wells, the main character/astronaut, was in space when a devastating terrorist attack crippled the infrastructure of the United States. Separated from his family and dealing with personal issues such as temptation, John had to work with key individuals back on earth to sort out who was behind the terrorist attack. And, in the midst of these events – which were already of universal concern – the possibility of discovering alien life became a frighteningly real possibility.
The Proof picks up right where the last book left off, as John leaves earth once again on the first manned mission to Mars. The mission is aimed at discovering who or what is behind the transmissions that NASA has been receiving, as well as gathering scientific data. Back on earth, things are anything but peaceful. John’s faithful wife struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Malcolm Raines (the prophet) continues to speak his tumultuous messages.
The twists come in rapid fire, and there are climaxes – both exciting and devastating – throughout the book. Boyd’s unashamed dealing with difficult issues, paired with his sense of structure and pacing, makes The Proof very readable despite its somewhat intimidating length. Readers familiar with book one already know that the amount of technical detail Boyd infuses into his fiction is remarkable; and, in Book 2, that technical detail extends into the fields of genetics and code-breaking.
There is considerably more violence in this installment, but not to the point where it is inappropriate. Rather, it is encouraging to see a Christian author who does not back down from giving realistic descriptions of violent situations.
By sharpening the plot of book two and giving it a stronger sense of direction, Boyd has corrected some of the weaknesses that plagued the first book. But, some of the issues regarding dialogue and character development are still present in The Proof. For example, characters often speak in a stilted manner that ends up sounding scripted, and there tends to be an over-abundance of minor characters who do not serve significant purposes. These character-related weaknesses are the only issues that detract from the epic story, which builds to a stunning conclusion.
Whereas the ending of The Evidence left many readers unsatisfied due to its lack of closure, The Proof simply leaves one wanting more. The twists and climaxes that lead up to the final 20 pages are nothing but a crescendo for the knockout ending, which turns everything else we’ve read upside down in preparation for the final book, The Return. Those who have read the first two books of the Mars Hill trilogy will certainly be biting their nails until the third book brings it all to a close, and Boyd has a lot to live up to if he doesn’t want to disappoint these readers. It is for these reasons that we should all feel very sorry for Austin Boyd. – Devin B. Wieland, Christian Book Previews.com
Is There life on Mars?
That’s what Captain John Wells and his NASA colleagues hope todiscover, in this second installment of The Mars Hill trilogy, whenthey undertake an aggressive mission to the Red Planet. However, fromthe outset, nothing goes as planned.
An uncanny prophesy coupled with an unexpected alien starship escortends in a series of catastrophic events that give John plenty to thinkabout as he makes the interminable journey back to Earth. The mysteriesof Mars, woven into a complex tapestry of international intrigue, willlead him to answers even the most faithful fear. As he starts to putthe pieces of the universal puzzle together, the pieces of his lifefall irrevocably apart, but, as he must constantly remind himself, Goddoes indeed have a plan for him.