I distinctly remember the first science fiction novel I ever read. It was Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and I had to remove the 1970s dustcover featuring a pulpy rendition of a scantily-clad Deja Thoris in order to bring it to school and keep reading. I remember my father pressing his leatherbound copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide into my pudgy fifth-grader hands and telling me it was required reading. He did the same when I was seventeen, this time gifting me my own copy of Dune. I read it cover to cover during theater class rehearsals, memorizing the Bene Gesserit litany against fear to recite to myself backstage.
And now I’ll always remember my lunch with Phillip Sheppard. I sat down with my friend and fellow writer a few weeks ago to catch up and was surprised to find out that, not only was he trying his hand at science fiction, he was nearly done with his novel; It’s his first of the genre but second published novel. I had read and enjoyed The Costa Rica Job and had no doubt that he would create a compelling storyline but I could have never imagined the novel that The Legend of Things Past would become.
Without giving too much away, Sheppard weaves the story of Donovan Knight, an Army Specialist who has been trusted with a mission that could change his life, his world and even time itself. The world-building is second to none, the storyline engaging and filled with twists and the characters diverse and, despite being set in a world we have no experience of, extremely relatable. I finished the novel in one sitting, I flat-out refused to put it down.
Legends of Things Past is the summer genre-crossing adventure novel you didn’t know you needed. Available now on Amazon in paperback or for kindle.Image Credits: CBS, Phillip Sheppard