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Trident's Forge: Children of a Dead Earth Book Two Mass Market Paperback – April 5, 2016
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“Another amazing story with all the twists and turns I’ve come to expect from Patrick S. Tomlinson. With a great mix of science fiction, action and mystery it is wonderfully written and it’s not “world” building but as the author said it’s ‘race building’, so don’t miss out on the turbulent ups and downs that had me undeniably hooked throughout the entire thing.”
– Books in Brogan
“A solid read, and one I definitely recommend.”
– Strange Currencies
“I could not put Trident’s Forge down, and read it in one marathon sitting. That is as much due to the writing style and characters as the non-stop, nail-biting story thread. If you’re an outer space sci-fi geek like I am, you’re going to love this series!”
– Popcorn Reads
“If you’ve not tried The Ark, I’d start there first – but come back to this one, it’ll reward your effort.”
– Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews
“Trident’s Forge, by Patrick S. Tomlinson is a wild space opera story, full of mystery and plenty of action and makes for an entertaining read.”
– Looking for a Good Book
About the Author
Patrick S Tomlinson is the son of an ex-hippie psychologist and an ex-cowboy electrician. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When not writing sci-fi and fantasy novels and short stories, Patrick is busy developing his other passion: stand-up comedy.
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Their struggling with the rules of American football was hilarious!
Trident's Forge is set three years after the events of The Ark and now the 30,000-member strong remnants of humanity are settling down and surviving on the planet Gaia. It is more than 250 years after a black hole destroyed Earth and forced humanity to abandon our home planet and seek another. The planet we found is inhabited by aliens the humans call Atlantians (and who call themselves the G'tel). I didn't get a good image of the G'tel in my mind's eye but one interesting move by the author is to give the reader point-of-view chapters from the perspective of one of the aliens. The alien in particular, named Kexx, is a "truth-digger" which is an important role in G'tel society (sort of a cross between a religious leader and academic/intellectual). Because the aliens have three genders (although this is not really fully explained that well), Kexx uses the pronouns ze and zer instead of she/he and his/her to describe zer fellow Atlantians.
Tomlinson has a way of combining action scenes with comedic situations that remind me of John Scalzi (Redshirts) and Wesley Chu (The Rebirths of Tao). I don't know if this is a compliment or a dis (your mileage may vary) but I intend it as a positive recommendation.
The reason why I loved The Ark so much was that the stakes for the characters were so high ( all of humanity is on one ship and the villains want to blow it up with nukes!) and one problem I had with Trident's Forge is that level of tension is not repeated. Yes, Benson is put in one incredibly dangerous situation after the other (and is actually declared dead at one point when his heart stops) but I never believed for a second that the Zero Hero would bite the dust. Thus I think Tomlinson realized he needed to find dramatic tension in different ways and he tried to do so by complicating the political situation at Shambhala, the main colony city for the former Ark residents, with a surprising assassination.
The best part of Trident's Forge for me is in the interactions between Benson and the aliens as they uncover a sinister plot to exploit the planet Gaia and learn (grudgingly at times) to overcome their differences and suspicions in order to cooperate and survive against common enemies.
I do love mash-ups, and Trident's Forge has a melange of a plot combining alien first-contact, frontier intrigue, colony politics, fast-paced action, quirky and irreverent humor and some (minimal) mystery/thriller elements. I am definitely looking forward to the third book in the series, but I hope it is set far enough in the future that maybe Benson is no longer the main character. I also hope that we get a resolution about whether the black hole that destroyed the Earth was a deliberate act and if so, we get to meet those aliens. Now that would be raising the stakes!
Title: Trident's Forge.
Author: Patrick S. Tomlinson.
Paperback: 448 pages.
Date Published: April 5, 2016.
Date Read: June 11, 2016.
GOODREADS RATING: ****. (4.25 STARS)
AMAZON RATING: *****. (4.5 STARS)
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).
Like the first book in the series, this sequel blew me away. I'm always afraid of the sequel slump, but in this case, there's nothing to worry about. It's as if the author introduced us to a completely different world, and in a way, he did. In the first book, The Ark, we travel along with the last of the human race on a large ship, headed for a new planet. In this sequel, the human race has begun colonizing a new planet and making first contact with the native sentient beings.
Trident's Forge is a novel about making first contact with a new species. The Atlantians, as humans are calling this native race, also known as the G'tel are strange amphibian-like beings that are relatively new from an evolutionary stand point. They live in small tribal-like communities with very little in terms of technology, and have developed a faith system that worships a trio of deities. This trinity is really important to them and is a recurring theme in the book.
Oddly enough, this race doesn't really have genders, but it actually takes three beings to procreate; a pair of mates and a breeder. I had a hard time understanding their concept of gender, or lack thereof. The Atlantians don't really have genders. Instead of saying he or she, they say ze. And instead of saying him or her, they say zer. It's very confusing at first, especially when reading from the alien point of view, but the more you read through it, the easier it is to follow. I thought it was a very original approach and I applaud the author for taking the risk.
The hero of the first book, Bryan Benson, is still the main character in this novel. However, instead of being police chief and detective, his official role is as the director of athletic preparedness and recreation. He's also a coach for the new football league, a sport that hasn't been played in over 200 years. However, because of his success in risky and deadly situations and his strong investigative skills, he gets volun-told to be a member of the group that will make first contact with the aliens.
When a welcoming ceremony between humans and atlantians is disrupted by an attack that leads to multiple deaths, blame and fear erases the newly develop trust between the races. Benson and Kexx, an atlantian, are committed to investigating this attack. Kexx, the truth-digger of his tribe is responsible for investigating or finding the truth about anything threatening his tribe. His (or I should really say zer) vast knowledge, and zer ability to stay neutral makes zer an important advisor to the elders and the chief of zer tribe. Benson, as a retired detective, feels like he's obligated to help find the culprits who would wish war between the two races.
Benson and Kexx are similar in many ways and they form an easy friendship. Their respect for one another only grows as they work and fight together. Kexx is envious but hesitant of all the new technology the human race brings. As for Benson, he gains a strong appreciation for the connection the aliens have with their land. This simple friendship is a symbol of a strong future.
I'm really happy Benson and Theresa are still together, and now married instead of having a secret relationship. I guess there was no need for secrecy anymore since Benson retired from the force. Oddly enough, they are separated for most of the book. While Benson is investigating the attack, Theresa, as chief constable, is trying to control the rising tension and protests in the human city after the death of some of their own in the alien attack.
I really enjoyed the way the author combined everything together. It's obviously a sci-fi novel, but it also has mystery, adventure, and action. The author is also very good at keeping things light with humour and camaraderie between characters. I highly recommend this book. Even if it can be read as a stand-alone, it would be a good idea to read the first book. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book. Apparently, it will be set 15 years in the future and I really hope to read more about Benson, his wife Theresa and obviously his new atlantian friends.
Most recent customer reviews
Space soap opera. Wish I could have liked it.