It is the far future and things have changed for humankind. Mankind has spread through the galaxy and colonized planets, sometimes at the expense of their own humanity.
In C. P. Dunphey’s Plane Walker, Lazarus is a mercenary, selling his skills to the highest bidder. He’s good at what he does. Part bloodhound, part supersoldier, he gets the job done, whatever the cost.
But when his wife dies in childbirth, he changes his goals: Lazarus devotes himself to caring for his young daughter. Just when he is on one last job, preparing to stop and devote himself full-time to his daughter, disaster strikes: she is taken and Lazarus finds himself planets away from her with no idea what happened and where he needs to go to recover her.
So he does what any devoted father would do, he breaks the rules of the United Humanities Federation – UHF for short – and tracks down the last of the Manus Dei technology in order to relive those final moments and find out where his daughter has gone. The Manus Dei, a machine for taking someone back through his life, from birth to death, permits an individual to relive his life, literally having his life flash before his eyes at the moment of death, and then reawaken to make use of that final information. It has the advantage fr providing, in some cases, hints to events not yet experienced in a lifestream, permitting knowledge and action based on future events.
With the help of several renegade scientists who have protected the technology from destruction by a coercive, controlling government, Lazarus relives his life, multiple times, and finally finds the clue to his daughter’s whereabouts. With the help of the scientists and a crew of pirates he once served with, Lazarus goes to find his daughter.
The novel gets off to a very slow start as the first quarter of the text is taken up with Lazarus awakening and recovering his ability to think and move after experiencing the Manus Dei. The second quarter of the text is taken up with Lazarus discussing with the scientists what happened and how he has finally found what he needs to know to find his daughter. Only then does the action begin as Lazarus is taken captive aboard a pirate ship, only to find the crew is a team of his old acquaintances and willing to help him on his quest.
Lazarus finds the location of where his daughter had either died or been taken prisoner by unknown captors. As he starts to enter the location, the novel ends, ready to begin the sequel.
Overall, the novel is well written but tends to focus too much on minutia and not getting on with the action. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Dunphey overcomes this problem in the sequel.