"What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill space operas is Fox's experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a 'what-if' perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon." (Amazon Reviewer) "The Star Trails Tetralogy is the classic story of good versus evil seen through one family's struggle to reunite, an endeavour that draws in a number of lonely souls along the way. The three Brightstar siblings are the young heroes of this story and, as they observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling. It's when they break old habits in order to survive the hostile planet they must now call home that they open their minds and hearts to the mysteries of the universe and achieve the incredible. "This is a beautifully written story, developing themes of loyalty, tolerance, understanding, and patient study. As I have alluded to in reviews of the preceding stories, the thoughtful pace is broken up by moments of intense excitement, but the narrative has to be savoured and enjoyed for gems like this, "...a vast and abrupt precipice, the sheer sides a trickle of motion..." Each character makes a discovery, about themselves and their friends and family, except for maybe Deven, the little boy, who intuits everything in the most lovely and unassuming manner. I so want to see what he gets up to when he's older. The more alien characters are equally fascinating and the subtle hints of their background cultures enrich the story with depth and colour. "Finally, author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science in an interesting and original way. The detailed world she creates is genius, so well thought out and crafted and sci-fi fans who love properly developed cultures backed up by hard and well understood science will devour these stories. The quiet thread of an entity stronger than either individual or corporation runs throughout this series and I believe reflects many faith systems once semantics are put aside with its impact only fully understood in the uniquely fitting and uplifting climax. "Quite beautiful." (Ceri London, author of "Shimmer in the Dark" series) "I love space opera, especially when the characters drive the action versus external events. Star Trails is a nice mix of both. Events encroach on the characters, but they also make decisions that affect outcomes in meaningful ways. It's a good balance between the two, one that Fox navigates with ease. "Fox supports some of the science in the novel with real, actual, well... science! She's worked for NASA and it shows. I'm becoming a fan of reading books by folks with actual scientific credentials. Specificity in terms of science always earns my admiration. I should say, the science isn't distracting from the story; this isn't one of those science-books-masquerading-as-a-novel that I sometimes run into from those who write "hard" science fiction story. Star Trails includes some philosophy, pseudoscience, and even a touch of fantasy to enliven the scientific bits. "The writing is clean and understandable. It's nice to read prose that flows and works with the story rather than against it. Some Indie-published books can be a chore to read. This isn't one of them." (Amazon Reviewer) "Writer, Marcha Fox takes us on a fast-paced adventure through time and space in The Star Trails Tetralogy. Strong themes of family unity, genius, loyalty, and tenacity drive the action in all four books. The Brightstars rely heavily upon their Miran logic, but in this final book nuanced ideas concerning personal integrity and karmic responsibility are explored and tested. Once the Brightstars realize the greatest power they possess is already within them, everything changes and possibilities they once considered impossible come to pass." (Amazon Reviewer)
From the Author
Writing this final book of the Star Trails Saga was a major challenge. Similar to its predecessor, "A Psilent Place Below", there were many situations where I had no idea how the characters would get out of the mess they'd gotten themselves into. This especially pertained to Laren onboard the prison ship. Fortunately, he was clever and intelligent enough to figure it out himself.
One thing I had to do was reread all the previous books to make sure there were no inconsistencies and that any unanswered questions from previous episodes were resolved. In so doing, I found numerous ways to tie the books together, which was a lot of fun. Much of this story wrote itself as well, where the characters took over and did their thing, me no more than their willing scribe.
In this story, Apoca Canyon is based on the Longhorn Caverns, not too far from where I live. They are not nearly as massive, but differ in character from those in the previous book in that they were formed by an aquifer or underground river as opposed to precipitating spectacular stalactites and stalagmites due to water dripping through limestone.