- File Size: 2343 KB
- Print Length: 1097 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: October 11, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B076DDBP55
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,464,661 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Falken Chronicles: The Complete Trilogy Kindle Edition
|Length: 1097 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Every science fiction buff can probably recite the mission statement of the original “Star Trek” TV series by heart: “to explore new worlds, new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Sirio Falken, the hero of Piers Platt’s trilogy of science fiction novels that are gathered here in one volume entitled “The Falken Chronicles,” apparently took that mission statement to heart. In these books, Falken and Platt’s readers explore two new and highly unusual worlds, and the result is a lively mix of speculative science fiction and good, old-fashioned space adventure.
As the trilogy begins, in “Escape from Oz,” Falken is a convicted murderer who is sent to a planet dubbed Oz (after Australia, a continent that was itself originally settled by English convicts) that has become a giant natural prison. Hundreds of criminals from Earth have been dropped on an island over the years and formed two very different tribes, one agrarian and rather peaceable, and the other dedicated to constant staged fights among its members. Falken and a few of his closest companions in the peaceable group stumble across a discovery that may allow them to get off the planet. However, the planet holds some strange natural secrets that may pose a danger to every prisoner on the island.
It’s not a real spoiler to reveal that Falken does get away from Oz, and the expression, “out of the frying pan, into the fire,” comes immediately to mind when, in the second book, entitled “Escape from Olympus,” he takes a job as a tour guide on an even more dangerous planet called Olympus, whose claim to fame is a species of very large flying, carnivorous animals that can tear people to shreds before devouring them. Exotic animal life attracts thrill seekers such as those on Falken’s tour, especially after they are given the name “dragons,” but it also attracts some people with a far more sinister motive, who launch their own attack on the tour group and the scientific facilities on the island.
Once again, Falken survives and in the final volume of the trilogy, “Return to Oz,” does exactly that, going back to the planet Oz to try to prove the innocence of one of his friends from his earlier stay on the planet, while, at the same time, keeping the man alive long enough to enjoy any possible freedom. In the meantime, his friend’s daughter, whom Falken met during the events in “Escape from Olympus,” is on Earth trying to do the same thing, digging up her father’s old criminal case.
The real strength of Platt’s books, in my view, are the elaborate, well-thought out ecosystems that he creates. Both Oz and Olympus are highly complex worlds, with some exotic, deadly creatures, and the author manages to spring some surprises on readers as he goes. The biggest twist occurs at the end of “Escape from Oz,” one that I honestly never saw coming and which completely dazzled me (and set the stage for “Return to Oz”). That last book suffers a bit in comparison with the first two because the elements of novelty and surprise are a bit lacking, but readers will have a lot of fun taking “tours” of those planets for the first time.
But the books in “The Falken Chronicles” aren’t simply musings on alternate worlds. There is plenty of good old-fashioned action in them as well, as Falken frequently has to do battle with dangerous forms of animal life (especially the dragons on Olympus) and even more dangerous human villains who oppose him. It’s a good thing that Falken, a former fighter turned underground brawler who beat his wife’s lover to death, is handy with his fists and his wits, otherwise the trilogy of novels would probably have been a single novelette. He’s a likable, albeit realistically flawed hero who easily supports three separate novels.
While the first two novels of “The Falken Chronicles” are self-contained and easily stand on their own, the trilogy is better as a whole. In particular, the events in “Return to Oz” make more sense if readers have previously read “Escape from Oz.” Individually, these are three enjoyable novels, with “Escape from Oz” one of the best examples of its genre you’ll find (especially the twist ending). Taken as a whole, as they are available in this volume, they provide hours or days of exciting and thought provoking science fiction for readers.