(self-published e-book, 2013)
Book 1 in Rust and Relics series
Delia and Simon are wandering around Arizona in their campervan using Delia’s archaeological knowledge (and her Indiana Jones-ish bullwhip skills) and Simon’s tech wizardry to locate and retrieve historical artefacts to later sell for their business, Rust and Relics. The book begins underground, in a former mine up in the hills not far from the town of Prescott, when they hear a scream, and come across a recently and violently decapitated body. Understandably scared by this, they flee the scene, but when returning to their van they find that their expensive metal detector has been stolen: the only people around to have stolen their equipment appear to be the riders of two motorcycles which have been left parked on the trail.
On returning to their campsite in Prescott after informing the police, they meet up with Delia’s childhood friend, Artemis, a former professional tennis-player still troubled by the knee injury which ended her career. Temi wants a job, and – reluctantly, since they are not earning a lot of money from this venture – Delia and Simon decide to take her on. That evening, the campsite is attacked, and the strange creature which appears to be killing people is somehow connected with the odd bikers, Jakatra and Eleriss, who seem to have advanced technology such as weapons which can cut holes in rock. Are they aliens, or elves? as Simon suggests, and what is this jibtab that they’re hunting? Delia ropes in her friend, Autumn, to help with analysis of blood found after the monster attack, and she, Simon and Temi try to figure out what is going on and how to help.
I have really enjoyed Buroker’s books, since first getting started on The Emperor’s Edge series a couple of years ago, and Torrent is no exception. Although set on what’s recognisably a real world Earth, though with alien elements, which is rather different from the Emperor’s Edge series, it’s exciting and fast-paced, with a bit of mystery and a lot of action. The characters are interesting and their interactions amusing, and I liked the allusions to their backstories and families which made them realistic – Simon’s Native American, from the Pacific Northwest, and Temi and Delia are from a Greek survivalist community. All three are young, and trying to prove themselves successes – particularly to their families.
I can see it making a good film or TV series. I’m not altogether sure how plausible some of Simon’s tech and his apps are, particularly the underground cavern-finding he does at Eleriss’s behest, but that didn’t distract too much from the fast-moving plot. Delia narrates: she’s got a nice line in snark, and self-deprecation.
There’s certainly a lot set up for further books in the series, and Buroker is prolific enough that it won’t be long to wait for the next one! I’m certainly looking forward to the next book.