Reviewed by Vagabond 'Tony' Carter
When offered the chance to review this book I jumped at the chance, not only because I’m a fan of all things literate but also because I deeply adore a fresh perspective in science fiction, Robert Seutters premiere work Brass Jack: Little Lost Princeling is exactly that. Rather than spoil the plot for you (and I assure you it is a deep and involving one) I’ll take my analysis of this work from a common writing rubric.
Seutter presents us with a rich and detailed (perhaps overly detailed, more on that shortly) universe which could happily sit at the table somewhere between Dune and Warhammer 40k. An interesting blend of Space opera, Trans-humanism, Cyberpunk and Pulp take us into the lives of some less than ordinary yet relate-able characters. If I have one critique to offer Mr. Seutter at this point it is here. He spends a good deal of time painting his universe via exposition and flashbacks often going into deep detail on things that, frankly, could get away with passing reference. To his credit here he does this early on and seems to let those details simply sit in the back of the readers mind for recall as needed.
Little Lost Princeling plays a bit fast and loose with The Hero’s Journey, introducing us first to the Mentor rather than the Hero or the Villain. This might be out of place in a one off story, but this one leaves it in no uncertain terms that Seutter intends to spin more tales of Brass Jack and his influence on the Everyman, which my bookshelf is already begging to hold.
This is where Seutter shines in my opinion. When it comes to supporting cast… by that I mean those that are with us along the journey for only a brief period, it is all to often we are presented with cardboard cutouts. Flat detail-less generic thug number 3, or imperial yes man number 36… This is not the case at all in Seutters work. I can think of only perhaps one or two cases where a character is not given some motive or emotive and those are forgivable given they exist only perhaps for a paragraph. The Everyman, or Hero (Spoiler alert: not Jack) is someone I found relate-able in both his desire to be with the person he loves and the desire for some sort of justice in a world that at times seems unfair.
Brass Jack: Little Lost Princeling is a refreshing look into the possible future (and past) of humanity in the centuries to come. It’s titular character, while not always relate-able is one I came quickly to accept as my guide on this adventure, and I look forward to more.