Adam Parr is a Spanner. He looks human but he is over 8,000 years old and is part of a species that has been living among humans for as long as he can remember. There are many types of Spanners with different powers, some of them lethal to humans, which causes many of them, live in remote places around the earth. As in all societies, there are bad Spanners who threaten the existence of the human population. Adam, whose power is his long memory, must protect humanity from another immortal Spanner, the Conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon, who seeks the Fountain of Youth.
SPANNERS builds its plot around the legend of Juan Ponce de Leon’s hunt for the Fountain of Youth in the 16th Century. The Fountain is not a place but a living Spanner with the power of both life and death over all humans. Five centuries after he was buried by Adam Parr, Juan is free, thanks to a group of rogue Spanners. Juan’s desire to control the Fountain will give him ultimate power over the human race where he can build his version of a perfect society after he “cleanses” humanity down to a population of about 10,000. Adam, with a small crew of his own Spanners must rescue the Fountain and deal with Juan for the last time. Jon Maas weaves the story of the Spanners into the legend of de Leon’s quest for the fountain quite expertly, giving us the back-story of both the Spanners and the Conquistadores of the Caribbean in the 1500s. While the idea of a group of beings with differing powers is fairly common, the many different Spanner types sometimes seems as if one or two of them were created to get past obstacles in the plot. However, the plot leads to a convincing climax where victory is achieved not through physical force but through conscience.
SPANNERS has a well-written plot with historical highlights that adds to the power of the ending. The characters may have super human powers but they have vulnerabilities, both physical and emotional, that, in turn, demonstrate the precarious nature of their battle. The plight of humanity is not apparent until the last pages of the book where the Spanners add one more legend to the human story. Protagonist Adam Parr, despite his immense powers, has his own emotional vulnerabilities and the means that he uses to overcome them is both surprising and well done.
SPANNERS is a well-plotted book with believable characters. Unlike the usual cardboard characterizations found in some historical novels, the historical figures express emotions and act as expected.
Reviewed by Ed Bennett for IndieReader