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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trident's Forge by Patrick S. Tomlinson

**Book 1 spoilers included in this review**

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.

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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