Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Watch: Lieutenant Henry Gallant by H. Peter Alesso #bookwatch

Title: Lieutenant Henry Gallant
Author: H. Peter Alesso
Publisher: Video Software Publishing
Pages: 320
Genre: Science fiction space opera
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.

Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.

With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.

In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.

Book Excerpt:

They walked into a room with paintings along the wall and a small table with fine art sculptures. Sunlight streamed into the room from a large window and fell upon a charming sitting area with a table. His mind wandered as he looked at the drawings around the room. Portraits, landscapes, and even abstract art showed a wide variety of talent. These were possessions of hers, small bits of artistic flair, all of which he assumed were her own work.

He viewed the exhibits with a keen interest and when he paid particular interest in an item, she said, “Ah, oh,” but nothing more.

“It’s good of you to allow me into your personal gallery. All your work?”

She blushed. “Perhaps. You’ll have to discover that for yourself.”

“Why? How will I discover that? What is there to unearth?”

“Oh, come, sit down.” She led him to a chair by the table. “Really, Henry. Just because I jumped on your flyer and we had an exciting adventure, you shouldn’t feel you know everything about me. I had a life before we met, you know. I think interesting people are complicated—aren’t you?”

“I guess I’ve got a lot to learn about a great many things,” he said, enjoying the sweetness of the day.

“Tell me about the people you know, your friends. Do you have many friends?”

“Enough. We are a small community, but close enough so we are aware of each other’s business on a daily basis. Grandfather mostly keeps to himself, so I am left with a great deal of time to find my own diversions. I lived my whole life in this city. The people here are my entire universe. We are, after all, a collection of beings transplanted from another star. My friends support my causes and we rally to each other’s needs.” She leaned back in her chair.

“Then I guess we’ve done enough talking,” said Gallant, leaning over and kissing her gently on the lips. He placed his hand on her shoulder and started to slide it down when... a loud baritone voice from the hallway interrupted them.

“I’ve finally finished the painting. I’ll hang it here, next to your landscape piece, okay? Okay, Alaina? Huh?” A tall, lanky young man with long, jet-black, wavy hair stood in the hallway outside the sitting room with a painting in one hand, trying to attach it to the wall.

He looked into the room.

Gallant stood up beside the table and looked back.

Alaina remained frozen in her chair, not moving a muscle.

After an interminable silence, Gallant said, “I’m Henry Gallant,” extending his hand.

“Liam Larson,” said Larson, shaking Gallant’s hand with a mild grip.

Alaina remained sitting, unblinking. The awkward moment seemed never to end.

Larson broke the silence. “I’m glad to meet you ahead of the event. I’m sure Alaina has told you all about PUP and our action this afternoon. It’ll have greater impact with you there. Alaina will make a speech, but a show of support by you would be terrific.”

Both men turned and looked once more at Alaina.

A fox with its leg caught in a steel trap couldn’t have been more still than Alaina sitting in her chair.

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