Survive: The tale of Ballantyne Alysom by Richard Dee

What no man has seen before.

Ballantyne Alysom is Galactographic! Magazine’s intrepid explorer.

Davis Jansen is the cameraman he takes on his latest and most dangerous expedition.

When things go terribly wrong, the survivors of the group are stranded on an unexplored planet. Surrounded by danger, they will need to work together to stand any chance of ever going home.

In the days that follow, as the group is riven by argument, Davis sees the real Alysom, the man behind the carefully constructed public face. He comes to realise that he is being forced to make a choice.

The question he must face: does everyone need to know the real story? Which version will they believe?

Can the truth Survive?

I purchased a copy of this book for my own reading

Having read all of Richard Dee’s cosy sci-fi Andorra Pett novels and fantasy The Syk’m, I branched out to his more traditional sci-fi novels – The Hitman and The Thief and We Are Saul, both of which I found thoroughly engaging, well-researched and massively entertaining. Naturally, I was beyond excited to get started on Survive.

Survive: The tale of Ballantyne Alysom by Richard Dee

And it did not disappoint! Fully fledged sci-fi, without the laser pistols, lightsabres and proliferation of robots everywhere. At its core, it is a fantastical tale of space exploration. With all of the pomp the golden days of exploration. The head of the exploration, Balcom Alysom is an arrogant, confident figure, only interested in his own gain in terms of money and reputation. He’s a thoroughly unpleasant figure.

That in its own right is impressive – Dee has a real knack for creating characters that you feel things for one way or another. But what was thoroughly impressive about this book was the way it kept me wondering. At first, it seems like it’s going to be a space exploration adventure. Once their vessel encounters trouble, crashing on a seemingly unknown planet with hostile wildlife, it’s easy to conceive of this being, as the name suggests, as a survival story. Much of what takes place on the planet points to this, and it’s as good a survival tale as you could hope for. 

Then, in its final third, it morphs once more into something of a conspiracy thriller. And once again Dee masters this element fantastically. All in all, it was an incredible read. Pacy, edge of your seat at times, with characters you want to root for, others you loathe. I will certainly be looking forward to reading more of Richard Dee’s sci-fi works.

My rating:

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