by Dr. Brian Balke
Trafford Publishing

"I didn't mean only not to be frightened of me. I meant try not to be frightened at all."

Dr. Brian Balke presents a contemplative study on the intricacies of human life viewed through the eyes of an advanced alien race. The Order of Law sees mankind as a species unfit to continue. However, rogue agent Corin, inspired by the ideals of his absent mother, Lady Zenica, vows to save man from himself through non-violent means. The narrative parallels two love stories, that between Lady Zenica and Lord Random, who raises Corin on Earth in the absence of his mother, and between Corin and Leelay, a Congolese concubine who is destined to aid Corin in his quest.

Composed by an author with a Ph.D. in particle physics, this is not a book for passive readers. The story unfolds through the inner monologues of its primary characters, at times without an immediate sense of context. This can feel much like walking down an unlit hall; as your eyes adjust, you see more with each step. Gradually each character's story starts to fit with the others like puzzle pieces, as each plays the role of an ordinary human with a secret, godlike status. The writing can be rather dense, especially in passages revealing the Corin's thought processes. But there is benefit in probing these passages, because Corin ponders the state of the Earth and humanity without any contemporary buzzwords that could possibly give away his (or the author's) position. This allows readers to draw their own conclusions about the novel's ultimate meaning.

Ma is a multilayered love story (with some steamy sex scenes) told through a sci-fi prism by a creative craftsman who sees mystical symbolism in even the tiniest observed events. It is a welcome addition to the genre that should be enjoyed by intelligent, attentive readers.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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