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REVIEW: The Interscission Project Series, By Arshad Ahsanuddin

Series: The Interscission Project

Author: Arshad Ahsanuddin

Genre: Sci Fi / Time Travel

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Publisher: Self

Pages: / 316

Reviewer: Olivia

Get The Intercission Series

About The Books

Zenith

Grounded after a rescue attempt in Earth orbit goes bad, Commander Martin Atkins of the Confederation Navy is approached by the Interscission Project, a consortium of civilian corporations on the verge of perfecting the technology to travel to another star. Despite his misgivings, the chance to get back in the pilot’s seat is too much to pass up, and he convinces his best friend and crewmate, Charles Davenport, to leave the military temporarily and join him as part of the crew of the Zenith, humanity’s first starship.

Edward Harlen is a brilliant young engineer, and a key player in the construction of the Zenith to take advantage of the untested technology of foldspace drive. But Edward has his own agenda in joining the project, and a bitterly personal score to settle with his boss, Trevor Sutton, a vendetta of which Trevor is entirely ignorant. But when Edward’s sister Stella enters the picture and manages to secure a position on the project, all of Edward’s careful plotting is upset, and she might spell the downfall not only of his plans for revenge, but of the entire Zenith mission.

The spark of attraction between Edward and Martin is a complication that Edward can’t afford, but of which he can’t let go. For Edward knows the secret at the heart of the Interscission Project, the hidden potential of the technology that in the wrong hands could become the ultimate assassin’s weapon: the ability to rewrite history, not just once, but many times. As an unseen enemy moves to destroy them, and the body count multiplies in their wake, Martin and Edward must choose whether they will allow the possibility of love to challenge their destinies, or will they instead take up arms in a war to control the most ancient and terrible power in the universe.

Time, itself.

Azimuth

The disastrous events of the Zenith mission behind them, Marty and Edward lead very different lives at either end of time.

Martin has been tapped to lead an elite military operation designed to curtail and ultimately eliminate the threat of time travelers. But Henry Bradford has other ideas, and seeks to entice him into taking up the role of captain of the rechristened starship Azimuth.

Almost a quarter century in the future, Edward lives a life of wealth and influence as the adopted son of Starfire’s CEO, Trevor Sutton. But the mystery of his birth father’s murder still weighs heavily on his mind, eclipsed only by the baffling appearance of Martin’s dogtags around his neck. The distance he will go for answers will determine the ultimate course of human history, as he is pitted head to head once more against the destructive agenda of the time traveler he knows only as Gifford.

Insurrection

One man will destroy the past to save the present.
The price is too high.
But it may already be too late to stop him.

Life settles into a routine for the inhabitants of Chiron Colony, humanity’s first interstellar settlement, after the threat of the time traveler Gifford has apparently been eliminated. But the Hourglass and its leader, Admiral O’Dare, are not content to rest on their laurels, convinced that time travel remains a palpable threat to human civilization. When Annette Sutton uncover a possible secret plot to eliminate the principal members of the Interscission Project decades in the past, when they had only just met, the colonists’ idyllic peace is shattered.

Can Martin and his people head off disaster as the Admiral moves to destroy the potential for time travel, once and for all? Or is there a deeper agenda in play? As loyalty and duty become pawns in the race to prevent the erasure of all that they have accomplished, Martin will have to decide once and for all how far he will go to save everything and everyone he loves.

Mercury

Death comes for us all.
But sometimes it comes early, because it’s sent.

Everything seems to be going great in Christopher’s world. Newly married and promoted, he’s even hammered out the dents in his relationship with his brother Marley.

Then a death in the family shakes the foundations of his world. When the word comes down that it was murder, then only the best forensic investigator of the Chiron Defense Force will do to assist the Travellers in finding the culprit. And that happens to be Marley.
When the investigation begins to lead to one of their own, however, the question changes: was it murder, or treason?

Ascension

History is a Lie. One final battle will decide whether Humanity will survive to tell the tale.
Welcome, to the End of Days.

Jacob Atkins was eighteen years old when he lost his best friend, Mark. Since then, he’s tried to move on with his life, building a career in the Hourglass Corps. Then an unexpected convergence of events threatens to expose the Hourglass, and destroy everything they have tried to accomplish.

Martin Atkins thought he was perfectly happy as a relatively unremarkable Captain in the Confederation Marines, until a terse message landed in his inbox from a man he thought was the love of his life. Now, all the secrets his family has inherited are at risk, not only from humanity, but from an insidious threat that he has only glimpsed until now.

Calvin Teague has been Michelle Atkins’s obsession since the Janus Incident. But the fugitive traitor is much more than he appears, and at long last, all the misshapen puzzle pieces fall into place as the mystery of his role is finally unravelled, leaving her with no option but to wage a desperate war against the most implacable and terrifying enemy humanity has ever faced:

Its children.

The Review

Worldbuilding (Five Stars): In the classic manner of humanity, we go at a new technology in a series of fits, starts, misadventures, and well meaning mucking it up. This series does a wonderful job of framing the evolution of such a new technology. But when it’s time travel that you’re playing with, the stakes are high and the price for mistakes is massive. The convolutions and interpersonal intricacies of having several versions of one person running around, each living their own life, are compelling and quite in keeping with human behavior.  

The hints of shadowy business interests, possible alien (?) influence in the background, various entities trying to swear blind that they’re only doing teleportation, and some truly brutal corporate war keeps everything nicely spiced with danger as humanity takes on its next big challenge: time, space, and the stars.

Characterization (Four Stars): We see this story through the eyes of an extensive and intriguing cast, but I’ll admit, the number of characters involved gave me the sense that too much of a good thing had been put in. I did enjoy my reads, but I did occasionally feel that the many characters began to blend into one another (no multiple-iteration jokes intended) and had to go back and check the cast page in the beginning of the book a couple of times. That’s not a good thing in my book; if the characters don’t stand out to me as separate entities on their own merits, I generally have a bit of trouble sticking with them. Now, that isn’t to say the people involved weren’t good and interesting when they were ‘on stage’, as it were. Each of the characters who played a part in the plot were coherent in themselves, and the romances and conflicts that appeared made complete sense. There are a lot of powerful motivations explored: the tug between love and duty. Between past and present loves. Between power and ethics. Between short term glory and long term gain. All of these held my attention, but I kept getting yanked away just as things got good! I just wished there had been more space given to a specific set of characters’ narratives, allowing them to expand and breathe. With such a wide cast, I often found myself feeling like the guest at a party who doesn’t really know anyone else attending, and is having trouble remembering anybody’s name.

Writing Style (Three Stars): Conceptually I liked the series…but following it gave me the urge to read something with a single point of view immediately after. Each scene in the story is crafted with skill, but the way they’re strung together is slightly distressing. Readers are told to keep up as the author jumps both through time and into a wide variety of points of view, using flashbacks, changes of perspective and changes of setting. Keeping track of it all regularly pulled me out of the story as a reader, which was a shame; this was the kind of story I had high hopes of!  I’ll sum it up by saying this: it has wonderful scenes and frustrating chapters.

Overall (Three Stars): I found this series to be a bit of a brain twister, and it may take a bit of dedication in getting through. But if you’re looking for solid espionage adventure, plenty of m/m romance, and a peek at humanity’s future, this may be for you!

The Reviewer

Olivia Wylie is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Trained in horticulture, she writes ethnobotany and horticulture under her own name and queer climate change fiction with a hopeful twist under the pen name of O.E. Tearmann. She lives in Colorado with a very patient partner and a rather impatient cat.

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