Review: ‘Survive’, by Stephen Llewelyn


Published By: Clink Street Publishing

Publication Date: 18th September 2018

Format: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9781912562039

Price: £10.99

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 Book Trailer:

Audio Clip:



A young man and his mother fight to leave tragedy behind. Striving for a new life on Mars has cost Tim and Patricia everything, but as even their future is taken from them, their past is just beginning.

Earth: population 50 billion. Pollution, crime and scarcity are out of our control. Instantaneous travel provides hope for the terraforming of another world.

A terrorist attack. An explosion at the event horizon of a wormhole. A murder. A trail of clues, misinformation and sabotage. Nothing is as it seems as an old enemy returns from the shadows. 100 years from now, the 100 souls aboard the USS New World are thrown back 100 million years to the deadly Cretaceous Period. From there, an epic fight to save humanity begins; but first, they must survive.

A multi-national, eclectic crew; among them the good, the not so good and the no damned good at all. Loss, courage, genius and sheer bloody-mindedness bind them. NASA Captain, James Douglas, and his first officer, Jill Baines, expected a taxi run to Mars. Now they must escape a fearsome Mapusaurus pack, survive natural disasters, brutal discoveries and treachery.

My Review

Thanks to Faye at Authoright for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

It’s 2112 and the New World sets off with its cargo of passengers on a routine trip to Mars, led by tea loving Scotsman Captain James Douglas and Commander Jill Baines. Down in engineering are one Japaneese and two Italian (twins!) geniuses and a grouchy Englishman who thinks he’s under-appreciated, security is provided by a gobshite Londoner and an Welshman, and the ship is piloted by Indian, Sandip Singh, known almost universally as Sandy. The crew are tight, friends and colleagues who’ve travelled millions of miles together and trust each other (except the grouchy engineer).

This international crew is carrying in the ‘Pod’ a mix of Europeans, Americans and canines, to the Mars colony. Most are scientists and engineers, but there are a few ‘paid seats’ like, wealthy business man Hank Bernstein Snr and his family, and the philosopher, Del Bond. The teenagers in the cargo, Henry (Hank Jnr) Bernstein, his sister Clarissa, Tim Norris, son of a biologist, Rose, a Chemist’s daughter, and Woodsey, the son of another engineer, meet in the pub and hit it off, enjoying their big adventure.

Something goes wrong. Horribly wrong. And soon they all find themselves in a new world. About 92 million years ago. Tim Norris is something of a dinosaur expert, at least the only one the ship has, and it’s an emergency, so the teens get brought into the mission to save the ship, and survive in Cretaceous Gondwana. There are Mapasaurs aplenty, and traitors too. An old, twentieth century, evil has returned to take over the ship, and restart humanity.

This is an interesting novel, with an original story line and fun characters, the ending was gripping and I’d quite like to read the next one because I do want to find out what happens. The description of Gondwana is lush and evocative, and the animals very realistic. The by-play dialogue between the groups – crew and teens – is amusing and the dilemmas of the Captain and the council are wrought with tension. The disasters and how to meet them kept me reading for several hours at a time.

On the other hand, I felt some of the women were a bit stereotypical.  I liked Jill Baines, but she did come off as a bit ‘mum’ to the crew, especially to Captain James Douglas, and Mary the tea lady was a flat character. The young girls are dozy twits and only the scientists are rounded characters. The men, and young boys, had more depth and even a character arc, but still Douglas was a bit too Scottish and Jones was too Welsh to be believable. The Aussies were overdone too. The author tried to hard with the language in these cases. Not every word has to be dialect, or written phonetically to give the reader the idea. We’ve all heard Welsh, Scots, Aussie and Kiwi accents before.

Overall, I liked it, and want to read the next one, but some of the writing was ham-fisted.


Might see if the nephew wants to read it.

About the author

stephen-llewelynOriginally from Dudley in the West Midlands, Stephen Llewelyn works in construction.  Years spent digging into the foundations of ancient buildings, steeped in a vivid sense of the past, inspired his research into palaeontology and, in turn, shaped his inventive science fiction trilogy.  Llewelyn lives with his wife and their four dogs in the mountains of Snowdonia, North Wales.  The cover design for Survive features a line drawing of a Giganotosaurus skull by Hannah Armstrong, a young artist who died in tragic circumstances; Llewelyn plans to donate a percentage of royalties from the sale of Survive to the charity, MIND, in Hannah’s memory.




Published by

R Cawkwell

Hi I'm Rosemarie and I like to write. I write short stories and longer fiction, poetry and occasionally articles. I'm working on quite a few things at the minute and wouldn't mind one day actually getting published in print.

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