Wizard’s Library: Sten

Can I write a book review without telling you what’s in the book?  I can, and I think you will still want to read it!

Look for “Sten”, by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch.  If you like Sci Fi, action, and mystery, this series is for you!

An average boy growing up in a community of oppressed workers brings justice to his world and rises to prominence in the galaxy!

Do you like Science Fiction with Great Action? Read Sten!​

Why Does a Hardcore Fantasy Reader Take Sci Fi breaks?

Although I usually stick to fantasy, sometimes I mix in Science Fiction, which is really future fantasy.

It’s natural for me since I grew up surrounded by my fathers Sci Fi library, with thousands of volumes.  Recently I stopped by my brother’s house and scanned his bookshelf as usual.

I found the Sten series, first published in 1982.  There are seven novels, but each is a standalone story and they are quick reads because of the nonstop action and intrigue!

Can a Book with Two Authors be Any Good?

I have read a few collaboration books.  Anyone who knows the Dragonlance novels is probably familiar with Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, since they wrote 65 novels together.  There are a few others I can think of, but not many.

This collaboration with Cole and Bunch is really great.  The two were childhood and lifelong friends.  Alan Cole even married Chris Bunch’s sister.

One of the things I like is that Chris Bunch was an Army Ranger and Vietnam War Veteran, so when he writes about military training, rank structures, and combat, it is all very realistic.  Alan Cole was raised around the world as the son of a CIA agent, and had many occupations before writing.

This combination imbues their books with believability, even in unfamiliar future settings in space and on other planets.

“Sten” by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch.

Writing Style that Every Fantasy Fan can Appreciate!

Some of the plot devices are familiar.  The main character is a relatable everyman, who has a lot of similarities to the biblical Job.  In his formative years he loses a lot and his world comes crashing down around him, yet he persists.  There are some revenge subplots, especially in the first book, but that can sustain a storyline only for a while.  

The science part of this fiction is also good.  The series provides a believable backstory for humanity’s spread throughout the galaxy.  The technology used in the books smoothly fits into the story without straining credulity.  

Most importantly, the books are page-turners!

So, with what I have told you, it could be a Sci Fi version of Harry Potter, but it’s not.  I had good memories of this series from when I read the books in my teenage years.  Rereading them now has not disappointed me and Cole and Bunch had a vision of the future that still holds up well today.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. What books do you remember from your childhood?  
  2. How many books have you liked so much that you reread them?  
  3. What is the most re-read book you have?

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2 thoughts on “Wizard’s Library: Sten”

  1. When you finish the series, I recommend the Matador series by Steve Perry. Similar in scope and tone and thoroughly enjoyable.

    1. Thanks Jeff, I had to look it up on Amazon, but I have read The Man Who Never Missed, but didn’t know it was part of the Matador series. I think I only read the one I found in Dad’s Sci-Fi library. I will ask him to search his inventory to see how many he has. Do you have any in physical form still?

      Anyway, from what I remember of the book, it’s definitely in the same vein and has a really likeable protagonist! That’s important to me and I don’t know why some people make unlikeable “protagonists”. Flaws are one thing, but if I am cheering for the main character to die…

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