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Return of the Maca (Chronicles of the Maca Book 4) Kindle Edition
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By Greg Gilbert, Trustee and Professor Emeritus, Copper Mountain College
Return of the Maca is Mari Collier’s fourth book in a science fiction series that covers several centuries, a period of less than one lifetime in the lives of her superbly drawn alien cultures. At the center of the conflict is the towering presence of MacDonald, the Maca, whose determination to reunite his people and reestablish their rightful heritage comprises the central story. In a previous review, I described MacDonald as “a six-foot-nine interstellar half-breed with an insatiable sexual drive, two hearts, and principled nobility that steadies the rudder of the entire ensemble.” Throughout Collier’s epic, readers travel with MacDonald and other key characters, human and extraterrestrial, as they face the challenges of life on earth during the 19th and 20th Centuries and in the cosmos.
Unlike some who write in the science fiction genre, Collier develops a compelling sense of place and memorable characters that are not merely defined by their actions but also by their emotional and intellectual lives, as well as their relationships with others. In Return of the Maca centuries of warfare and strife will serve for some readers as social commentary while others will simply see an interesting story well told. As with all worthy fiction, the reader will make the final determination. In this instance, many will find food for thought in the book’s “climax,” a double-entendre as well as a literary term. Even so, the story that arrives at this extraordinary resolution is more than mere foreplay, it is a consideration of sentient beings, their cultures, and a determination to fulfill their own personal destinies as revealed by entangled subplots and carefully nuanced dialogue. Readers may find themselves pondering, in the end, the competing ideologies and drives that vie for control in human society, but, to appropriate the Bard, the tale is the thing, and Collier delivers.
Having read Collier’s four books, I find myself longing for the next in the series. From the post Civil War era with MacDonald in 19th Century Texas to the lives of Collier’s characters in 20th Century America and into the vastness of space, Collier’s fiction is an original body of work for people who read for pleasure and who stop reading on occasion to consider the ramifications of a thoughtful narrative. Earthbound, Gather the Children, Before We Leave, and Return of the Maca engage our own inner universes.