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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.

Threatened By An Advanced Race

Michael J. Farlow Author Interview

Dark Enemy follows the Earth’s space force leader as he tries to unify the allied forces while fighting politicians back on Earth. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The idea for the start of the series was the question: What would you do if you learned that the Earth was threatened by an advanced race while at the same time finding a source of advanced technology? Add that the person finding this out was at a point in his life when he was seeking simplicity.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing, or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I had an idea about the main character, Van Childs, but the rest introduced themselves over time. In fact, the characters dictated the story. I planned to stop at the third book, but the characters said no and took me to a fifth, Dark Enemy.

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

The reluctance of Van Childs to get involved. The lack of the technical skills on Earth to reproduce the technology of the Host in a timely manner. And the fight of greed over the need to survive.

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

The next book is called Crucible and is the beginning of a new series called Records of the Argos. Crucible is available now. After that will come Retribution which will be available in July or August of 2022.

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Dark Enemy, Book 5 in the Host Saga, is a fast-paced, action-packed science fiction story that features a phenomenal inter-galactic conflict and great characters. The Van Childs who reluctantly became a beacon of hope for the people of Earth early in the series has changed. He is now a man who is sure of himself and knows that his responsibilities. Now that there is a bigger threat than ever from the Arkon, he knows the pressure is on him ten-fold. Is he going to make this work? Can he handle the responsibility of humanity’s survival? Read and see!

Dark Enemy

In Dark Enemy, we see the struggles and victories of Van Childs of the Galactic Force against the Arkon force as well as against the new force that betrayed them. The Allies have been promised more than six hundred Naskapi ships, making the force of Van Childs the largest group of Allies. Earth is not happy with this new development, and the dissatisfaction is fueled by a politician named McDuff for his gains. While all the politics from earth prevented the expansion of Allied forces, the Arkon forces were collecting in their space. This caused Van Childs to act fast and thus began the battle in space and politics.

Author Michael J. Farlow opens the book by giving readers some explanation regarding the background of the fight that has been occurring between several space forces. This leads to the political drama that is happening back on Earth, which is directly impacting the space forces. The ongoing political battles in this novel are not so unlike what politics look like currently. Each politician has their own agenda and wants to make sure their plan is executed.

This intriguing science fiction story is told in a third-person narrative. The author gives readers in-depth details regarding the mission background; which is fantastic for readers who love strategy. Farlow knows how to capture the excitement and anticipation that comes with battles. The descriptions are brilliant, and readers will get to see the battle plan as it is developing before the actual fight starts.

The author gives a captivating description of the battle, fully immersing the reader in the story. I found the euphemistic description of the deaths of those who die in the fight to be an interesting take, and I was able to empathize with the officers. In addition, I enjoyed reading about all of the technological advances of this Galactic Force world. The author made the creation of the technology feel achievable.

Dark Enemy is a fast-paced space opera. Readers that look for detailed action sequences and fascinating technological advances will find a lot to enjoy in this science fiction novel. A post-apocalyptic world with alien forces as friends and foes creates a drama that will have readers on edge as they continue the Host Saga series.

Pages: 269 | ASIN : B083S1X8QZ

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New Horizons

New Horizons, the fourth installment of the Host Saga by Michael Farlow. This science fiction, drama, and action novel feature Van Childs and his allies as they prepare for imminent hostile contact with the Arkon. When losing crew members and mysterious sabotage efforts hinder the shipbuilding process, Van and his allies struggle to gain the upper hand as the Arkon fleet approaches. Will Van find a way to gather the allies and resources the Galactic Host needs before it’s too late? The suspense has never been greater than in this installment of the series!

This novel excels for several reasons, but the biggest is the apparent military experience from its author. It will be clear to anyone who reads this exciting novel that the writer authentically understands the politics and drama of the military and knows how to instill it into the plot of his story. If you’re a military enthusiast, these books will be an excellent addition to your library.

For me, though, I have been fascinated with each book and the growth of these characters. Specifically, I’m heavily invested in how they interact with Van, their leader. It says quite a bit about the author that there is so much attention given to interpersonal conflicts, even amid space warfare. It really is about the people, no matter the setting, and Farlow captures that sentiment entirely. I’m not a military buff, but these books have captured my attention because Farlow has made likable characters, and you want them to succeed in their endeavors. If this author continues to publish books, I’ll continue to read them. He knows how to develop characters, build suspense, and paint an action scene while staying authentic to the military experience of his past.

New Horizons: Host Saga Book 4 is a well-crafted space opera that takes readers on a suspenseful and thrilling action-packed adventure through space.

Pages: 311 | ASIN : B07L1CRSBH

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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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