The King of Gems

Jim Cronin
Narrator: Jack de Golia

SUSPENSE/THRILLER: This story starts with a bang, as the Chandran starship Equinox is struck by an asteroid while mapping an unexplored region of the galaxy. With no hope of rescue, the survivors hatch a daring plan to download the ‘essence’ of each crewmember into a nearby digital network before they all die. Unknowingly, they land in an advanced computer game, where they suddenly have bodies again, and must learn to survive in a world filled with danger, alien animals, and magical weapons. Numerous characters are introduced to the listener early on, and it takes some time to figure out who is who. Regardless, this is a clever premise with a creative plot, and well-worth a listen! Dr. Anthony Kennan is the lead player in this game, and has the ability to insert himself into and out of it as needed. He teaches the Chandran survivors how to navigate this strange new world in which they find themselves.

This audiobook is fascinating and intense. Listeners get pulled in from the first chapter and something essential happens in each subsequent chapter to keep them listening. The pace stays even, and there aren’t many slow parts. The tension ramps up near the end, when several things are happening at once; yet the ending is somewhat unexpected, but fitting. There are a couple of ego-driven characters whose pride causes them to miss out on an expected reward, but they get a different ‘reward,’ regardless.

Jack de Golia does a fine job narrating this audiobook. There are numerous characters to track, and each one has a slightly different voice. The production quality is excellent and there aren’t any unexpected noises in the recording. This audiobook is an unexpected delight – even for listeners who may not be fans of the genre!

Carey Sullivan