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Teamwork, Determination, and a Strong Moral Compass

Author Interview Michael J. Farlow

Crucible: Records of the Argos follows a young captain who embarks on his first mission and finds an enemy threatening his ship and the inhabitants of the system he was sent to investigate. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The previous series, The Host Saga, had come to an end. I wanted to try something new with new, young characters. I picked the son of the previous lead character from The Host Saga to be the lead in this series. His assignments and adventures, however, would be completely different. His crew would be a diverse mix of characters that he meets along the way or is assigned. I had in mind that this new young crew and ship would develop as a team in their own rights and that they would find themselves in new places and in circumstances that would challenge them and see them grow. Finally, I wanted something different to separate this crew and ship from those of the previous series. That comes in the form of an onboard AI that undergoes a dramatic change when the ship, the Argos, strikes something odd when exiting hyperspace. The changes in the AI become, to be nice, quirky with an odd sense of humor.

Nick Hall is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

First, there is a link to the previous books in that Nick is the son that Van Childs did not know he had until the end of the Host Saga. Therefore, he has some of his father’s characteristics but has his own style. He has a mix of military experience as an intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy and experience in Iraq. Second, He wants to be his own man and chart his own future with a team and a ship he can trust. Third, he will make mistakes and learn from them. Fourth, the team operates an old, tired cargo ship which has been extensively upgraded internally to support an intelligence mission. It also has some unique but limited combat capability. Finally, even though women have thrown themselves at Nick in the past, he has still not figured them out.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Teamwork, determination, and a strong moral compass. Nick will normally choose what he thinks is morally correct even if it conflicts with his orders. His attitude is that if his superiors don’t like it, he will quit and move on. Both Nick and his crew never give up despite the odds or the difficulties they face. The crew count on each other, are proud to be the team they are and have no plans to separate.

What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?

Unfortunately, the prime antagonists from Crucible escaped capture. Nick’s next set of orders is to find them and bring them to justice. The follow-on book, Retribution, follows the crew of the Argos as they seek out the Arkon Red, Gurko, and the Arkon Blue, Berzalius. As in life, nothing is easy. In a new planetary system from their previous adventure, the team is exposed to a more complex and diverse group of countries than in Crucible. The countries in this book are less advanced than in Crucible, making the team’s job more of a challenge. They are also hampered because of tighter restrictions on their actions from higher authorities. Finding the bad guys might be the easy part. Capturing them, not so easy.

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Nick Hall, the young captain of the disguised intelligence ship Argos, embarks on his first mission. He soon finds the task is not simple and straightforward. An enemy springs forward which threatens not only his ship and crew but all of the inhabitants of the planetary system he was sent to investigate. Cut off from his homeworld and with only his small crew and a quirky AI, he must improvise to save himself, his crew, and all the inhabitants of a threatened world. This science fiction thriller combines continuous action, suspense, and a little humor with a cast of new and diverse characters.

Crucible: Records of the Argos

Crucible: Records of the Argos by [Michael J. Farlow]

Crucible: Records of the Argos by Michael Farlow is a tense, space-faring story that follows Nick Hall and his crew aboard the Argos as they investigate strange ship disappearances in a nearby system. Throughout the story, Nick finds himself in danger as he seeks to uncover who, or better yet, what kind of powerful organization, is seeking to collect these ships and wield them. When their backs are to the wall and all of the cards are on the table, will Nick and his friends choose the moral high ground, or will they follow orders? The decision is a difficult one, but the fate of many rests with Nick and the crew of the Argos.

It is easy to tell that this author has had some military experience. Dealing with espionage, hostages, tense confrontations; it is in these moments that the author excels, creating a plot that is dripping with drama and tension. Further, he also does well to develop each of the main characters into well-rounded individuals, giving the reader no choice but to care deeply for them and their situation.

While the author excelled with his physical descriptions of the characters, as well as their motivations and personalities, I would have really enjoyed if that same descriptive power was applied to the settings visited in the story because what we are given is very interesting and I wanted more of it. There is a lot of opportunity in this sci-fi thriller for exotic and varying locales, but I understand as a significant portion of the story takes place onboard the Argos and various other ships.

I’ll be looking forward to the next installment of this story, hoping that Nick is able to take on another mission, or maybe we can see another ship and their crew adventure through this galaxy that seems to be full of unique and compelling characters.

Crucible: Records of the Argos is a spellbinding space opera that takes readers on an action packed adventure through space. With intriguing characters at every turn, what I like most about this lively science fiction story is that it never forgets to entertain the reader.

Pages: 278 | ASIN: B08STPGBB5

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