WINNER OF THE SCI FI CATEGORY 2017 LONDON BOOK FESTIVAL
(In development for TV / film)
Children of the Fifth Sun
By Gareth Worthington
Rating: 5 Stars
IN ALMOST EVERY BELIEF SYSTEM ON EARTH, there exists a single unifying mythos: thousands of years ago a great flood devastated the Earth’s inhabitants. From the ruins of this cataclysm, a race of beings emerged from the sea bestowing knowledge and culture upon humanity, saving us from our selfish drive toward extinction. Some say this race were “ancient aliens” who came to assist our evolution.
But what if they weren’t alien at all? What if they evolved right here on Earth, alongside humans . . . and they are still here? And, what if the World’s governments already know?
“Kelly Graham is a narcissistic self-assured freelance photographer specializing in underwater assignments. While on a project in the Amazon with his best friend, Chris D’Souza, a mysterious and beautiful government official, Freya Nilsson, enters Kelly’s life and turns it upside down. Her simple request to retrieve a strange object from deep underwater puts him in the middle of an international conspiracy. A conspiracy that threatens to change the course of human history.”
I just love imperfect characters, I believe I have mentioned that in other reviews and it’s just so true! “Children of the Fifth Sun” by Gareth Worthington certainly has those in abundance and they really make this story come alive.
Kelly Graham is one of those flawed characters. He’s a sarcastic self-centered, self-absorbed, risk taker who seems to have a bit of a death wish. At least that is what he appears to be on the outside but he’s so much more underneath his steely cold exterior and that is precisely what makes me like him so much. I ate up his journey of self-reflection and self-questioning like a decadent dessert as I experienced the evolution of this character thanks to his unexpected encounter with K’in.
K’in is a revelation to humanity; a link to humanity’s past, present and…future. Now, I’m not going to give much away about this character because I feel you really need to read the story to allow K’in to get under your skin and experience how this character warms you. Suffice it to say….you will love K’in as much as I did.
And of course, I musn’t forget Freya Nilsson. Freya is the female version of Kelly. The sparks definitely fly between Freya and Kelly as they navigate an emotional push-me-pull-you while they traverse the globe on an extraordinary adventure. Will these two ever get out of their own way and manage to come together or won’t they? Weeeellll, I’m not saying! That is something you will have to find out for yourself but I will admit that I was certainly ready to reach through the pages to smack their heads together and say “knock it off you two and get it together!” But…I really enjoyed Freya; she’s a kick ass character who epitomizes the phrase “Girl Power”!
So, as I said there are some really interesting characters to sink your teeth into. But it takes more than interesting characters to make a well-crafted story doesn’t it? The pace of the story and the authors’ writing style add so much to it as well and this story has that in spades.
I found the tempo of this story kept me feverishly turning the pages, anxious to see what would happen next. So I did something I rarely force myself to do when reading…I slowed down. Not because I was afraid I might miss something; I simply wanted to make the story last longer. You know it’s a good book when you don’t want the story to end….not yet, just….not… quite… yet.
Mr. Worthington’s scenes were brilliantly descriptive, allowing me to really immerse myself into the story and he managed to drag emotions out of me and yeah…I was blubbering fool at one point. (Note to reader…it’s really hard to read with tears in your eyes, soooo keep some tissue handy….just in case.)
What more could I ask for in a book? This story is action packed, beautifully written and easy to get into. But the bonus for me was this, by the end I felt as though the author had related a profound story that I think we can all relate to….as we each search to find our own connections and meaning in a world where humanity often seems to be growing more distant and cold.
So, would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Without hesitation….absofreakinloutely!
This one gets a 4.5 rating from me….but on Amazon and Goodreads I’ll give it a 5 and bump it up that half star (no star Grinch here today).
It’s only $4.99 on Kindle, get your copy today and let me know what you think
About the Author
Gareth Worthington BSc PhD is a trained marine biologist and also holds a doctorate in comparative endocrinology. Currently, Gareth works full time for the pharmaceutical industry helping to educate the world’s doctors on new cancer therapies. His debut novel, Children of the Fifth Sun, won in the Science Fiction category at the London Book Festival 2017. He has a number of passions, including: martial arts (he trained in Muay Thai at the prestigious EVOLVE MMA gym in Singapore), studying ancient history, and most of all writing fiction. Born in England, Gareth resides in Switzerland.
Location: Somewhere on the Amazon, South America
Kelly Graham hung suspended in the cloudy, pink water, gently kicking his feet. His left hand and arm were wrapped in a thin yellowish rope that ascended from the dark water below and through the ceiling of scattered light and rippling currents above his head. In his right hand, he held an underwater camera. It was large and cumbersome, but he’d had it for years and wouldn’t use anything else—didn’t trust anything else. He pointed it at the white, ghost-like forms gliding around in the distance. They gracefully sliced through the liquid, dancing with each other. He waited patiently and kept very still.
A ghost came closer, intrigued by this hairless ape hanging from his underwater branch. It hovered there, its head cocked to one side as it looked at him. Its eyes were wise and knowing yet playful. It opened its long beak as if it wanted to communicate, to bestow some mystical knowledge.
Click. Kelly gently squeezed the button and captured the almost human curiosity on the animal’s face. Click. Another precious second in time preserved on film. The river dolphin lost interest and turned away, flicking its tail once before disappearing into the fuchsia haze.
Kelly exhaled, spilling thousands of bubbles out through his mouth. Had he been holding his breath for that long? He couldn’t have been. He looked up and admired the bright, shimmering sun through the rose-colored liquid. Kelly released his tangled hold on the rope, kicked once, and floated upward. As his face broke the surface, he was greeted by the contrasting warm air. With closed eyes, he let the sun begin to dry the skin on his face.
“Where the fuck have you been?” A short, tubby Hispanic man in his mid-twenties glared at Kelly from a little wooden boat, his hand outstretched for his friend to grab. Chris was dressed in blue cargo pants and a grubby, gray t-shirt that may once have been white; his tanned Latin skin juxtaposed by peroxide blonde, crew-cut hair.
“Taking pictures, esé, where’d ya think?” Kelly grinned and grasped his friend’s wrist, making an enjoyable slapping sound as his wet hand made contact.
“Could have fooled me. I didn’t see any bubbles for like fifteen minutes. I swear, thought you’d been swept away by an undercurrent.” Chris’s voice strained at the end of his sentence as he heaved Kelly’s muscular frame from the water.
“That was the point of our makeshift anchor though, right?” Kelly nodded at the buoy bobbing on the water’s surface. “Was a great idea to use that lump of metal and a bit of old rope. I think I’m a genius.” Kelly lay panting in the bow of the boat, propped up on his elbows.
“Yeah, but remember there’s no genius without us, oh great and wise one.” Chris swept Kelly’s arms from underneath him and sent him sprawling backward.
Kelly quickly leapt to his feet and grabbed his rotund friend by the shorts, lifting him into the air, his biceps straining under the weight.
“Ah, wedgie! Stop it.” Chris wailed, clawing at his shorts as they disappeared between his buttocks.
“For God’s sake, can you boys not act like children for more than five minutes?”
The tall, blonde woman stood in a meaningful pose on her little boat, closed fists resting on her hips, her long hair blowing gently to one side in the breeze. With her gray-green tank top, half-thigh camouflage shorts, and military-issue jungle boots, Kelly thought she looked like she had bought her outfit from an Adventurers-R-Us catalogue. The boat stuttered through the water, powered by a loud chugging outboard motor.
“Well, as I live and breathe.” Kelly smirked. “Been a while, but I see time hasn’t changed anything. You BBC wildlife types are still way too uptight. I could sort that out for you if you like?” Kelly grinned and winked at his long-time rival. His one open, dirty-blue eye flashed in the sunlight.
“I see National Geographic is still in the business of hiring Neanderthals. Have you gone round to a relative of yours and snapped some cave paintings with your ancient camera?” Her hands were cupped together to form a megaphone, ensuring that Kelly would hear the entirety of her clever remark as she drifted downriver.
“Was that Vicky?” Chris asked.
“Yeah, been a while since we saw her, huh?”
“Like five years.”
“Exactly. She still wants me, but we’re just passing ships on the Amazon.” He laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “Come on, Paco, let’s go.”