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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2011
As the believable situation unfolded it kept drawing you in with action ... Telisa, a xenoarchelogist is recruited by a group to retrieve alien artefacts from a newly discovered planet. Only problem is that the government has a shoot to kill policy on smugglers to keep the wraps on the alien artefacts. They are discovered and a chase continues but they end up finding a live alien and have to co-operate to escape out of a situation caused by an even older extinct race. Whilst perhaps a familiar story line for a sci fi addict there where nice twists and this story also nicely captured the essence of alienness.
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on 25 May 2012
This is another of those cheap n cheerful books by an unknown author that the Kindle is so good for. It, like most of the author's other books, appears to be only available as an e-book.

As is typical of books like this, the writing is not of the best. Dialogue is wooden, there are a few minor inconsistencies in the plot, and characters are very flat. But, as is also typical of these cheap self-published (I assume) e-book only stories, it's a decent enough piece of light entertainment, and so gets three stars. It would get less if it had all the extra costs of "proper" publishing, but as it is you can still just sit back and enjoy the story.

Oh, and there's an obvious setup for a sequel, which I look forward to reading.
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on 24 July 2015
Telisa Relachik studied to be a xenoarchaeologist in a future where humans have found alien artifacts but haven't ever encountered live aliens. Of all the aliens whose extinct civilizations are investigated, the Trilisks are the most advanced and the most mysterious.
Telisa refuses to join the government because of her opposition to its hard-handed policies restricting civilian investigation and trade of alien artifacts, despite the fact that her estranged father is a captain in the United Nations Space Force. When a group of artifact smugglers recruits her, she can't pass up the chance at getting her hands on objects that could advance her life's work. But she soon learns her expectations of excitement and riches come with serious drawbacks as she ends up fighting for her life on a mysterious alien planet.
Except the book doesn’t start in Telisa’s viewpoint – the Prologue pitchforks us into the head of the intriguing forty-legged alien, Kirizzo. It’s always a big ask to depict an alien with conviction, hence most science fiction authors’ reluctance to undertake such demanding characterisation. So I was impressed at McCloskey’s spirited effort, which he just about pulls off. Unquestionably, Kirizzo is my favourite character.
While there is nothing wrong with Telisa or the other human protagonists, I found Kirizzo’s strangeness engrossing and unusual. I also very much liked the environment where the alien encounters the humans. It provides plenty of tension and I felt even more could have been made of this creepy place – I hope it will turn up again in future episodes of this story.
Meanwhile, Telisa’s story arc, where she joins a smuggling gang because any legal opportunities to study alien technology have been systematically shut down by the government, works well enough. The writing is smooth and there was nothing in her character that jarred. But the vividness accompanying McCloskey’s writing about Kirizzo wasn’t here. The book isn’t a long one and cracks along at a fair pace with plenty of pleasing details that flesh out McCloskey’s world. The ending brings the story arc to a satisfying conclusion, with sufficient dangling plotpoints to encourage a reader to go hunting for the second book in the sequence. Once again, it is Kirizzo’s story where the climax really packs a punch – and is the one which will prompt me to add The Trilisk AI to my already-bulging virtual bookcase.
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on 24 November 2013
Hrmm, it was OK, I suppose. Not gripping, in fact I thought the whole thing fell a little flat, but I also wouldn't call it a disaster or drivel. It was just uninspiring. The main characters did a lot of running around, surmising their situation to each other, and remember things, but very little of significance actually happened. Not nothing, mind you, but not as much as you would expect for 300+ pages, most of which was useless description of stuff. The romance/sex was abrupt, pointless and out of place, the writing/dialogue were stiff and sophomoric, and the characters baseless.

What rescued the book for me was Kirizzo. He was about as far from human as an alien can get, very centipede like. But I found that I related to him more than any other character in the book. This was largely because he was far more fleshed out than any of the others, but also because he's wasn't bogged down with useless details and his unbiased assessment of humans intriguing.

The story seems to be an interesting beginning to something. It's definitely not a stand alone book. The problem is that, having finished it, I don't what the primary plot arch is or will be. Is it an action adventure, following two romantically involved artefact smugglers--Indiana Jones in space? Is it a space opera about an errant daughter on the run from her politically and militaristically connected father and his morally debased government affiliation? Is it a sci-fi about exotic alien species being encountered for the first time? I have no idea and at this point I should.

Again, it's not a bad book. It has an interesting premise. The writing, though stiff, seemed well edited. I don't remember any noticeable typos. The whole thing just left me, personally, a little cold. But there are undoubtedly readers out there who will feel differently.
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on 1 April 2012
A great balance of a well-paced adventure plot with a well thought-through alien - and a very alien one at that. And not too many of those jarring moments when late 20th Century presupposition destroys the illusion of far future. I'm looking forward to the next one and hoping that the logic of a millipedal, multibrained alien will be developed further.
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on 3 February 2016
I thought this story was a good introduction to a series of books exploring imaginary planets. And the history of the Aliens who live on them. Rather like Indiana Jones searching for artefacts,and being pursued by space police. A good read.. 👍
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on 17 December 2014
Interesting concept well thought out. Characters a little shallow and cliche. Needed a bit more filling out. I noticed that there are further books but with even less content so probably not worth the investment in my opinion.
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on 31 May 2014
Okay, the writing isn't the best but it Is readable.
Nice viewpoints from alien perspective. Nice rendering of tech that is just around our future corner.
And it's free.
Sadly I do not currently have the free time to make buying the series worthwhile - perhaps later.
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on 11 July 2013
It's pretty much a reworking of the (far better written) Across A Billion Years, by Robert Silverberg. There are points (unmemorised - this is a book you'll have fun reading but are unlikely to want to re-read) that are jaw droppingly poor but for the most part it's a competent, unremarkable romp. Nice attempt to make the alien alien, we don't see enough of that. But if you can only read one "on the trail of a lost ancient alien civilisation" book then you'd be mad to read this and not Silverberg's. But you can read them both, and hey, for a buck....
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on 9 August 2012
Loved this story. It is reasonably paced, has some well thought out aliens in it and characters you can sympathise with, although they are a little shallow. Distant planets, aliens in other alien environments, ancient ruins and technology, black market pillagers and smugglers and a gung-ho military policing the region - all the elements needed to cook up a cracking tale. Some of the human technology was, although not original, well thought out and explained and used in the story in suitable doses - never over-whelming the story with "black magic" tech. The shifting office space was a great touch if not disconcertingly more than a little like a nightmare I have had........
Can't wait to get my hands on the follow up.
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