Dean Crawford proves to me again and again why he is one of my very favourite writers of thrillers. He’s certainly, and thankfully, prolific – Dean’s Ethan Warner series continues apace while each year he self-publishes more than one thriller, standalone or in a series, each of which shares in common originality, excitement and quality. There is a techno or post-apocalyptic flavour to these that I just can’t get enough of. But without more ado, this is a post about the latest in the fine Ethan Warner series, the fifth, The Eternity Project.
Ethan Warner and his partner Nicola Lopez work on the fringes of the Defence Intelligence Agency in the United States, reporting to Doug Jarvis who himself is just a step or two away from the people who make the real decisions about where to send in the guns, and I’m not talking about the President. In The Eternity Project the danger is too close for comfort. CIA operatives are being assassinated across America. Jarvis is called in. Warner and Lopez are given the blame. It’s soon violently, brutally clear that there may be others who have reason to hate the work of the CIA even more than Warner and Lopez now cast out into a lethal no man’s land. They must clear their names while attempting to identify, find and destroy the true threat to national security.
If only it were that simple.
At this point I will say read no further if you’ve not read the The Chimera Project, the fourth in the series. The Eternity Project follows directly on from that and unlike the other Ethan Warner books it cannot be read alone. Spoilers are inevitable for what has gone before so do be warned!
The Ethan Warner novels have each brilliantly combined two stories – the first is a complete story, usually of a slightly science fiction or futuristic bent, unique to that book, while the other is Ethan’s continuing hunt for his love Joanna who disappeared long ago in the series in the Middle East. Ethan has never given up the hunt for her, using his missions as they come along to seek out further clues to her possible whereabouts or even to confirm that she is still alive. He is tortured by her loss, her theft. At the end of The Chimera Project events came to a head and in The Eternity Project everything else is secondary to Ethan’s pursuit of Joanna. It has become very personal indeed.
Just as with the previous novels, and as the title indicates, there are elements of science fiction here, mixed with something possibly supernatural or at least beyond current human knowledge. Dean Crawford’s vivid imagination always adds an extraordinary element of wonder – even if it’s also frightening and violent – and The Eternity Project is no different. It is as horrifying as it is compelling, raising issues about the nature of death itself. I just can’t tell you about it because you should discover it for yourself!
This is a pivotal book in the series – at last some questions about Joanna are answered and Ethan is given time to come to terms with what has happened to them both as individuals and as a couple. This also raises some questions about his relationship with Lopez and indeed with Jarvis.
Dean Crawford is an expert in mixing thrills with the futuristic and the explained. He also knows all about creating likeable and complex characters. If you like your thrillers pacey, intelligent and jawdropping, then this series is for you. But, as mentioned before, The Eternity Project relies on your knowledge of previous novels, so I wouldn’t start reading the series here. Go back to the earlier books and give yourself a treat.