Reader reviews 


From Sue G.

Fandemonium Books has published a new book titled, Barque of Heaven, written by fan writer Suzanne Wood (I tag her with the term "fan" because I've never read a tv tie-in novel by a "pro" that was any better than meh. Identifying her as a fan means you can raise your expectations accordingly.)   It's set during the third season and follows Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal'c as they work as a team to both solve and survive a series of deadly challenges.

In my opinion, this is the first of the Fandemonium titles that has really captured the spirit of planetary exploration and the camaraderie between the team members in early SG: SG1. The Ancient Egyptian motif that made the film Stargate so striking and rich is enthusiastically delved into here--and I have to say, I really enjoyed that; that theme was a promise that the tv show rarely gave more than a tip of the hat to.

Characterization and dialogue are my two most highly prized elements of a story and Suzanne did an excellent job with them. All four members of the team had multiple, significant parts to play in the plot. All the characters have many scenes where they connected to each other, and those were all plot driven. Plot points from episodes that had occurred prior to this story (set after Deadman's Switch) were referenced--and a couple of times those events were illuminated by insight I'd not heard before. The result is that this story fits very snugly into canon. The dialogue hit the character's speech patterns and quirks and made the book a joy to read. Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal'c all need to use their individual talents but it is the strength of the team as a whole that makes them an unbeatable force.  And a few well placed Wizard of Oz references made me smile in fondness.

Suzanne gets high marks for creating fifteen different worlds and describing them very vividly. I recall some writing advice that was given to me long ago was to make the environment another character in the story and she certainly accomplished that. One of the things that made the Stargate itself so appealing was that it could take you anywhere and this story revives that enticing idea.

The book is 357 pages long and, unfortunately, in rather small print. I apparently need stronger bifocals. *g* I'd ordered this book over a week ago, and I finally picked it up last Friday. The dense script took me a few days to finish even though I set aside a few well-lit hours each day for it.

As for the plot, it was quite lively and it made it difficult to put the book down. I'm not giving too much away to admit I felt exhausted by what happens to the team. I wanted a long soak in a hot tub after I finished this!

I can HIGHLY recommend this novel and think it's well worth the price on the cover. On the first read though, I was anxious to find out what happens next and I kinda sped though the book as quick as I could go. So rich are the details I look forward to rereading it so I can immerse myself better in the story.


Advance copy reviews


 From T. A. Ivester

Having just finished the advanced copy myself, I agree that it is definitely a good, old-fashioned team story. This shows a group of four people who are more than just a team. They are a family that care about each other. That was a strong emotion and story catalyst in the early years of the show (known online as the "classic years"), and it felt good to see it again in this book.

They worked together to get out of their misadventure, each using their particular field of expertise in a logical manner and performing tasks in-character. There was adventure, angst, fighting, whumping, moments of extraordinary friendship -- everyone had a very strong role in this tale.

All in all, it "felt" and "read" like a classic year story, and that's pretty high praise in my humble opinion.


From Juana Villa

I received an advance copy of the book, Stargate SG1: The Barque of Heaven and just recently finished reading it. I am very pleased to say that this story hearkens back to the good old team adventure days. There's something for everyone to do, some really nice team and character moments, with a bit more emphasis on Daniel & Jack. This book reminds me WHY SG1 is the team that I love; they aren't just a team, they are a family and in the story it shows. I wish I could go into further detail as there is just so much that I would like to discuss, but unfortunately that would require spoiling the story. Suffice to say that I recommend this story to anyone who is a team `gen' fan who enjoys the team embark on an (mis)adventure.


From alexinuk

While various of these new SG-1 books haven't really been up to scratch character and plot-wise, Barque of Heaven has broken the pattern. This is a story from the old days of classic SG-1, with Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal'c acting like a real team. There are challenges for each member of the team to face - personal, intellectual and physical - some together, some individually, but always interesting and often surprising. This is a quest in the classic sense of Joseph Campbell, with the prize being escape and survival.

In terms of writing, the characterisation is spot on, plot goes at a cracking pace, and the worlds visited by the team are so widely varied it's obvious the author had a great time creating them. The editing isn't perfect (it never is in these books), though there are far fewer mistakes this time around - something this reader appreciated in particular. Well worth the purchase.


From C. Crawford

 Having some mixed feelings about TV tie-ins, I was relieved to find this novel delivered exactly what the blurb described and that the author is clearly someone familiar with the series, its history, and its characters. The novel is a thoroughly entertaining action story, with the team having to undergo a series of trials which test their intelligence, their courage, their determination and, at times, their bond of friendship with one another. There were some very pleasant surprises along the way, most notably mentions of events from the Stargate movie. The author manages to weave together both series and movie canon to offer explanations for differences between the two, notably the origin of Ra. The series' universe is treated with respect, while being added to in ways that enrich it, with the author creating worlds and races and a history that fit right in with what we know of the series.

This is an adventure that would fit right into the series itself. The characters are spot on, always true to their series selves, and all have chances to shine. The team and teamwork is solid, with each member contributing their unique skills, while maintaining a strong sense of friendship and a unity so strong that, as Jack thinks to himself, secretly he'd always believed that the four of them together could handle anything the universe could throw at them.

If you are looking for a story that offers a team of strongly bonded friends, an adventure that grips and makes you believe this could have been an episode of the series itself, then this book is one I think you'll enjoy.