Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Jerry Kubicki
It’s difficult to fairly assess a title that’s not only volume six in an ongoing series, but apparently part of a 20 book saga called “they stand alone,” whoever the “they” are. For one thing, we’re tossed into fast-moving action right off the bat when we quickly meet a wide range of characters described with the most minimal of details. Presumably, the backgrounds and perhaps motivations were fleshed out in previous books? Many circumstances are briefly mentioned without explanation, notably the Sumi, apparently the original inhabitants of earth who we never see in this volume. In addition, the closing pages clearly set up the book to come so the whole thing has the feel of being but one short chapter (128 pages) in an ongoing story.
The central character is Colton Banyon who is surrounded by his Forever Ours team who possess some magical Orion weapons that give Banyon’s folks temporary super-powers. At first, the team is focused on ruinous financial matters that threaten their corporation. In short order, the team becomes a covert ops unit that travels to the Moroccan desert to battle the Islamic terrorist, Ahmed Fasi, who’s setting up a trap for the Banyon band.
In Morocco, we follow two plotlines as the Forever Ours team divides into two units, half breaking into Fasi’s Kasbah in Casablanca, half engaging with Fasi and his small unit in the West Sahara desert. Apparently, the Forever Ours organization has battled Fasi before and both sides possess some of the mysterious Orion weapons. In the main, however, the fighters use rather ordinary guns and hand-to-hand fighting skills to eliminate Fasi.
If the sixth volume is a reader’s first experience with the “Society of Orion,” they’re likely to be rather confused. Just what is this society? It’s never explained. What has an Islamic terrorist angry at the Forever Ours team got to do with the alien Sumi and their super-powered weapons? We don’t know. It’s rather like jumping into a comic-book epic where all the players and their contexts were explained many issues in the past.
In fact, comparing the “Society of Orion” to a comic-book series seems very apt. From the first page to the last, it’s all action. The dialogue is used only to explain what the players need to do and the steps they take to do it. Again, more depth and clarity might have been fleshed out in the previous books. If this sort of two-dimensional action-adventure is your cup of tea, start from the beginning. Maybe this hybrid of science fiction and espionage stories is down your alley.