War of the Worlds: Retaliation, by Mark Gardner & John J Rust

HG Wells’ story of alien invasion was first published in 1897 and made infamous to modern audiences by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air when, on 30 October 1938, they broadcast a one-hour full cast radio play adaptation, primarily told in the style of news bulletins interrupting an orchestral program.

War of the Worlds: Retaliation, by Mark Gardner & John J Rust, read by Samuel E Hoke IIIFor those who tuned in late, the unique presentation of the story supposedly caught listeners off-guard, creating a nation-wide panic that the alien invasion was real. To this day, Orson Welles’ adaption of War of the Worlds is not only considered a classic, but it arguably remains the most recognised and celebrated radio play ever broadcast.

Authors Mark Gardner & John J Rust now offer up this unofficial sequel to HG Wells’ original novel, set in 1924, some 25 years after the failed Martian invasion. Armed with adapted alien technology, mankind has advanced their weaponry and developed their own spaceships with the intent of taking the fight to Mars. Although more than two decades have passed in peace, mankind is determined to secure itself from future invasions by wiping out the Martians once and for all.

Mixing fictional characters with real historical figures like George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle and Georgy Zhukov, the authors do the unexpected by telling their story from both sides of the battle lines. We get to meet multiple Martian characters as they are forced on the defensive and face their own internal politics, while we also ride the wave of hopeful victory with the human fleet.

The deep voice of narrator Samuel E Hoke III is ideally suited to this war drama. Despite the alternate-history/science-fiction basis of the plot, War of the Worlds: Retaliation is a straight up action war story. Its focus is on the battle lines, the frontline soldiers, and their leaders. Hoke captures the accents of Earth’s dissenting nations just as well as he details the great space battle that ensues when humankind reaches Mars. The use of spaceships instead of aeroplanes and tanks is secondary to the theme however. Fans of classic war dramas could enjoy this title as much as lovers of science-fiction.

Running approximately 7 hours and 38 minutes, War of the Words: Retaliation was released in March 2017 by Article94 and is available from audible.

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