Tag Archives: Barbarians of the Beyond

Barbarians of the Beyond by Matthew Hughes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman who escapes the prison she’s spent her life in must find a way to save her parents and escape the deadly criminal hunting her down in author Matthew Hughes’s “Barbarians of the Beyond”.


The Synopsis 

Twenty years ago, five master criminals known as the Demon Princes raided Mount Pleasant to enslave thousands of inhabitants in the lawless Beyond. Now Morwen Sabine, a daughter of captives, has escaped her cruel master and returns to Mount Pleasant to recover the hidden treasure she hopes will buy her parents’ freedom.

But Mount Pleasant has changed. Morwen must cope with mystic cultists, murderous drug-smugglers, undercover “weasels” of the Interplanetary Police Coordinating Company, and the henchmen of the vicious pirate lord who owns her parents and wants Morwen returned. So he can kill her slowly…

Barbarians of the Beyond is a return to “Jack Vance Space” and space-opera derring-do that follows in the science fiction Grandmaster’s footsteps.

The Review

This was a truly epic sci-fi space opera! The author did an incredible job of world-building that made the universe feel vibrant and alive. The imagery and atmospheric way the author brought the protagonist’s journey to life were perfect, as it highlighted the almost gritty nature of this universe and the lawlessness that exists on the border planets. The attention to detail on everything from the galactic currency to the specialty trades that drive the planet’s economies and the black market was great to see come to life on the page.

Yet the characterization of the protagonist set this novel apart from others in this genre. The determination, the scars of their past, and the willingness that Morwen has to accomplish her mission by any means necessary bring her into a class of action sci-fi hero, not unlike Mal Reynolds of Firefly, and yet the depth of their experiences and the chemistry they develop with the people they meet along the way will have readers hooked and engaged in this narrative.

The Verdict

Harrowing, tense, and entertaining, author Matthew Hughes’s “Barbarians of the Beyond” is a must-read novel and a grand space opera that fans of the sci-fi genre will not get enough of. With rich mythos and world-building to help elevate this narrative in such a short span of time, this book will have readers on the edge of their seats, eager to see how Morwen battles the Demon Princes who hold their loved ones hostage, and in the process find a place in the universe to call home. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Born in Liverpool, his family moved to Canada when he was five years old. Married since late 1960s, he has three grown sons. He is currently relocated to Britain. He is a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers.

A university drop-out from a working poor background, he worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealership, and did a short stint as an orderly in a private mental hospital. As a teenager, he served a year as a volunteer with the Company of Young Canadians.

He has made his living as a writer all of his adult life, first as a journalist in newspapers, then as a staff speechwriter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Environment, and, since 1979, as a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia.

His short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’sAsimov’sThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionPostscriptsInterzone, and a number of “Year’s Best” anthologies. Night Shade Books published his short story collection, The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, in 2005.

He has won the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. His novels and stories regularly make the Locus Magazine annual recommended reading list.