Mike Scantlebury - Science Fiction
 
   

Merrin

by
Mike Hamer

SYNOPSIS

It is not too far in the future, but the world has changed out of all recognition - thanks to the B4 drive. The small, reactionless driver has enabled small groups of human beings to escape the restrictions of repressive regimes on Earth and set up cultures of their own choice, in small communities, all over the Solar System. People left behind on Earth have sunk into apathy and indolence, and a final conflict is looming, between the new and the old orders.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Sandford, the youthful, agressive Emperor of a third of the planet's remaining population - trained since birth to high office - is caught incognito in America on a secret mission. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he is suspected by Guard Inspector Cresnik of murdering his old mentor, Archdeacon Tranton.

Next day, Jeremy goes to see World President Fisk and is shocked to learn that the old man intends to resign. The President has planned a smooth transition of power, with the mere pretence of an 'election' for his successor. These hopes are rudely shattered in the days that follow, as first one, and then another of the candidates meets with untimely deaths. Jeremy starts to investigate with the aid of his personal assistant, Davis, and soon concludes that there is a conspiracy at work, stretching back into the past, and perhaps linked to the tragic 'accident' that stole his parents' lives. At the heart of it lurks a mysterious new religion, 'Yangste', a horrific throw-back to the sort of earlier beliefs that caused the disatrous 'Siberian War', which wiped out so many.

While the hunt for the killers goes on, Jeremy has to contend with riots at home in his capital in India, and the threat of an invasion from space, if the world government cannot gaurantee the safety of the 'Million Different Lives' that have made their homes around the inner planets. Law and order seems to be breaking down, with problems in America too, and on the 'Sea Cities', the settlements that feed the mainland. Jeremy's investigations take him from India to Europe, from America to Australia, as he battles against time to find the murderer and prove his own innocence.

At last, with the help of Tranton's surviving daughter, Celia, and her old University tutor, Professor Jesup, he seems to be making progress. Celia's death brings that to an abrupt halt, and, once again, Cresnik's suspicions seem confirmed: Jeremy is the only possible suspect for HER murder. With the minutes ticking away, abandoned by even his closest friends, the murderer is revealed and the rebellion is averted, at a final, unbelievable cost.

c. Mike Scantlebury


"What came before the B4 Drive? Only Mike Scantlebury has the answer to the traffic problem!"

 

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