Review: Pyramid Scheme (Pyramid Book 1 of 2)

Pyramid Scheme - Dave Freer, Eric Flint

This is one of the more bizarre books I’ve read in a while. I would classify it as science fiction, but most of the story really reads more like fantasy, with a very heavy dose of mythology. At the beginning of the story an alien, pyramid-shaped object lands on Earth. Some people who get within a certain radius of the object disappear. Not everyone is taken, but anyone in physical contact with a person who is taken will be taken as well. As it takes more people, the pyramid grows larger and its people-snatching radius increases.


A small portion of the story takes place from the viewpoint of the non-snatched people who are trying to eliminate the threat and understand what is happening, but the majority of the story takes place from the viewpoint of a group of people who were snatched by the pyramid together when they were all in physical contact. This group suddenly finds themselves on Odysseus’ ship being attacked by a giant sea creature. They have, more or less, found themselves right smack in the middle of ancient Greek mythology. The gods are real, magic is real, mythical creatures are real, and these modern-day humans are totally out of their element.


Mythology has never been of great interest to me, so it isn’t something I know well. The mythological aspects of the story were easy enough to follow, so it didn’t detract from the story, but it also wasn’t a selling point for me either. The main characters were likeable, and there was quite a bit of humor in the book, so I enjoyed that, but there were a lot of things that seemed unrealistic to me even within the context of the story. There were narrow escapes under less-than-realistic circumstances, convenient supplies that characters had brought with them that managed to save the day, convenient allies that showed up just in the nick of time, etc. The story itself held my attention, and I liked the writing style, but much of the content was just too bizarre for me to take seriously so I never became fully wrapped up in the story.


I never felt like the premise of the story was explained sufficiently. There were brief paragraphs in the book that I guess were supposed to serve as an explanation for what was going on with the alien pyramid, but it was never explained in a way that seemed believable or logical to me. I didn’t think the odd mixture of science fiction and fantasy/mythology was combined in a way that made sense. There were definitely some things to like about this book. If it had been more internally consistent I might have enjoyed it better.


There is a sequel, Pyramid Power. I considered reading it, especially since the second book is even shorter than the first book and this first book felt pretty short. I am slightly curious what will happen next, and I did get a fair amount of enjoyment out of this book, but I’ve decided against reading the sequel. I just didn’t enjoy this story enough to want to spend another week reading more like it.