I recently had the opportunity to binge read a 3-book series. So today’s review is for all three books in The Survival Trilogy by T.J. and M.L. Wolf. I’ve tried to keep spoilers out of it, so it should be fairly safe to read all about all three books. So here are all three book blurbs, followed by my review.
In 1995, at the age of eight, Una Waters survived a terrifying encounter at 30,000 feet aboard Flight 564 from Dallas to Las Vegas. It changed her forever. After 21 years, and a decade away from the Hopi Reservation where she grew up as a child, a surprise plea for help brings Una back, to solve a mystery that threatens their traditional way of life. The U.S. Army’s sudden interest regarding a cave discovery in the Sacred Peaks has triggered alarm, leading to violence. With the help of friends, new and old, Una must confront her painful past, seek proof to qualify the ancient site for protection under law, and stand up to a stiff-necked general, whose agenda is more concerned with retrieving a mysterious power source.
In 2019, three years after recovery of a powerful Hopi artifact from a mystery cave in Arizona, Una Waters finds herself on special assignment from D.C. to Chinatown in New York City. Unexplained acts of violence, including a cyber breach at the NYPD threaten to disrupt the lives of immigrants, forcing military intervention from General Ashcroft, now with U.S. Cyber Security. When newshound and compadre Jack Howser arrives to investigate a reported UFO sighting, Una begins to realize an episode of “missing time” at the Chinese New Year’s parade may hold the answers. Finally, an out-of-this-world encounter confirms Una’s childhood beliefs in Sky People, hinting that our future lies in accepting the fact that we are not alone.
In 2020, a year after an out-of-this-world encounter in Chinatown, Una Waters ventures into Yosemite National Park with General Ashcroft, on their honeymoon. When a coded distress call pulls him unexpectedly away on duty, Una uncovers a UFO mystery and turns to compadre Jack Howser for help. Joined by friends from Explorers Club, their quest for answers leads to a string of unworldly campsites, ancient caves, living pterosaurs, and a military manhunt–all fueled by an Alien conspiracy that threatens the survival of humanity! Una comes to realize that Fear of the Unknown may be our greatest obstacle, and the fight to overcome it requires Transformation: a willingness to let go of the Lies we hold dear.
Review of The Survival Trilogy Series
A Gleam of Light – 4 stars
A Gleam of Light is my favorite of The Survival Trilogy. I am appreciative of character-driven plots, and book 1 did a great job of defining the three main protagonists of the story. Una Waters, the Hopi Indian woman, Jack Howser, the reporter and Colin Ashcroft, US Army General. The three actually met briefly as children on an airplane flight that happened to bump into a mysterious UFO. Years later, fate brings them together again as the military develops a sudden interest in something on Hopi land.
Una’s childhood with her parents and later, her government job serve as her background to becoming the Hopi representative to face the Army and help protect the land. Jack is the reporter digging up a story and Colin is the general in charge of the Army operation to determine what is under the mountain on the Hopi land.
Kids getting into trouble, mysterious effects of touching an ancient artifact, the need to protect the land and the desire to learn the truth all affect the story that has an end that is also a beginning. There is a hint of a coming change and people like Una may be the ones to best make sense of it and survive the aftereffects.
The Dragon’s Glare – 3.5 stars
In New York City, 3 years later, a mysterious cyber attack is blamed on the Chinese. Colin Ashroft, now in charge of US Cyber Security, is there investigate. Jack Howser is following up on reported UFO sitings and Una Waters is on special assignment. Again, fate reunites the three as they struggle to make sense of the violence in the streets, a mysterious underground organization and Una’s own lost time that may have been an alien abduction.
In book two, the plot is driven more by action than characters and the writing begins to take on a bit of a disjointed feel in several spots due to an absence of detail. Re-reading sections kept me on track, but the ominscient point of view lacked character connections. Una remains the main character keeps the story going.
The alien connection is ever present. Never thoroughly explained, only speculated. So is Una’s connection to the aliens and their future.
Book 2 introduces a new character, Rufus, who is the computer geek. He adds a little more interest to the story and risks his life to save Una during an pretty spectacular UFO incident. I really liked him and wanted more of Rufus in the story.
The climax of the story involves the perceived attack by the Chinese and the American response to it. The resolution of the conflict is the twist that wraps up the story, adds to the mysterious and keeps it the series going.
Beyond the World – 3.5 stars
On their honeymoon, Una and Colin can’t stay out of trouble. Make that troubles – of the alien and unexplained natures. And wouldn’t you know it, Jack shows up too. Along with a group of Explorer Club Kids, they hike through the forests and mountains of Yosemite. Along the way the weird and wonderful and often dangerous encounters never stop.
As group, they encounter all sorts of strange things including dinosaur-like creatures, mysterious abandoned camps, an AWOL soldier/friend of Colin and, of course, UFO sightings. Book 3 is pretty much all action.
Book 3 seemed to be about throwing out esoteric bits of information about the unexplained and the known. And then hoping the reader made a connection. Not all those interesting facts meshed well with the story. Interesting, but I would really have preferred the story to concentrate on only a few of those interesting things. Jack, as the reporter/researcher, is the spewer of much of that data, but it comes from other sources too. Bonus: you get to read about sea monkeys.
Book 3 lacked a well-defined plot, but with all the action, it might be difficult to notice. It did see the return of Rufus (from book 2) so that made me smile. You won’t believe where he has been!
Throughout the series, I really thought aliens would instigate a major upheaval in the state of the world and that Una would be well placed and equipped to deal with it and end up being the heroine. The series title includes the word ‘Survival’. However, that major change, hinted at over and over and over, did not occur in this book. The entire world survives. This left me no real sense of a conclusion. Only a sense of a possible future.
Alien conspiracy, Hopi, Chinese, similar ancient cultures separated by geography, invasion, military secrets and black ops, missile attack, red-yellow-white-black, teletransportation, alien abduction, transcendental wisdom. If any (or all) of these subjects have ever piqued your curiosity, The Survival Trilogy is what you should be reading. The Survival Trilogy is a good one for anyone who likes to have something to really ponder after the last page is turned.
Thanks to the authors who provided copies of their books in exchange for my honest review.
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