I can’t really write a review for The Lifeboat. However, if I could I would like to think it would go something a long the lines of this;
The Lifeboat is the third novel in the Skidian Chronicles series, (I hesitate to say trilogy as it is evident that there is a book number four in the pipeline) by New Zealand writer Keith Fenwick. While the novels are classified as Science Fiction, they are really just a vehicle for Mr Fenwick to flex his considerable creative talents and showcase his views on topics ranging from the rise and fall of civilisation to the state of world politics. I am not really a Science Fiction fan but I was intrigued by the book cover of the first book in the series that hinted at something more than a standard Science Fiction novel, and the evident kiwi theme. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed in what I found inside the cover.
The Lifeboat is set in the present day and opens with the threat of a killer asteroid heading our way. But as the plot unfolds it is apparent that the asteroid is the least of the planet’s worries and these concerns are revealed cleverly as the story unfolds and climaxes in an unexpected ending.
While I really enjoyed the first two novels in the series; The Lifeboat is a far better constructed work than the first two. It is more cohesive, flows better, and one got the feeling that Bruce, the main protagonist, was clearly in charge. There has clearly been a lot of thought applied to character development, as the leading figures are far less one dimensional than in the first two novels of the series, this is also true of the plot line. While it is clearly part of a series of novels the Lifeboat can easily be read as a standalone novel though it never lost touch with the two previous books. Mr Fenwick is certainly developing his craft with this book.
My overall impression, despite the serious themes around sustainability that continue to be explored in the Skidian Chronicles, is how much fun this book was to read. There is a lot of humour in the story and more than once I almost found myself laughing out loud. I am left hoping that book four in the series is not far away.