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Emissary by Chris Rogers – Five Stars

Emissary is highly original science fiction novel in the vein of Robert Heinlein and Stanislaw Lem, with a nod to Bradbury.

Ruell, the ‘Emissary’ of the title, is a fascinatingly original character. Author Chris Rogers does not waste her time diminishing her odd protagonist’s otherworldliness by pandering to our present societal, self-absorbed prejudices. This entity is an alien. It reads like one.

Addison Hale is the President of the United States, and she is one tough lady. While reading the novel, the image that my mind continuously referenced, was not that of any current politician, but rather Chrissy Hynde of the band The Pretenders: a strong woman who carries her burdens without a chip on her shoulder. She manages this even in the face of a very reminiscent VP. This temperance lends her a certain grace.

And the way she and Ruell connect is nothing short of brilliant.

Filled with an assortment of well-developed supporting characters, the novel continuously switches gears at instinctively the right moment.

There are scientific references that sound utterly learned. And through her natural dialogue, Ms. Rogers even throws an occasional bone to current affairs junkies, policy wonks, with dashes of popular culture; melding the unreal and the real together seamlessly.

Emissary is a commitment, intricate and complex, it moves at its own convincing pace. And Ruell’s journey can be very disheartening at times. But the destination most definitely justifies the travel time.

Chris Rogers’ rise among the book world had the good fortune to occur in that last decade before all our art and entertainment fell to corporate mediocrity and the subsequent catering to an intellectually compromised America. Her craft has the rare privilege of existing as just that, a craft. She’s an artist.

When you’re ready for a literate book that will at some point be considered a classic of the genre, sit down with Emissary. It’s a read that will stay with you.

Matt Minor

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