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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Plague Forge (Dire Earth Cycle 3)
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on 27 August 2014
Though an enjoyable read, this is probably the worst edited series I have ever read. The opening paragraphs of book 1 states exactly how the plague arrived a generation ago only for the rest of the series to use a much more recent time of arrival (though occasional references to the longer period can be found and have not been edited out). Chapters have been moved around the timeline without adjusting references to specific dates they contain, causing some confusion. Also, the most astonishing achievement of the builders remains unexplained: They appear to favor incorporating hexagonal structures into their ships - but how do they build these with FIVE sides, as frequently stated??
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on 3 December 2013
What is there to say, it's passable near future sci fi. I read the whole series, they don't set my imagination on fire, but it's better than staring at a seat back on a plane.
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on 9 October 2013
This third book in "the Dire Earth cycle" continues the search by Skyler Luiken and the Belem community for the last three Builder artefacts. Even though the community leaders are in the dark as to what will happen once all five artefacts have been returned to the Builder ship in orbit above Earth, the general consensus is that the task must be completed before the final Builder event is due to take place, and if it is not the consequences for the whole of humanity could be dire. Meanwhile in Darwin, Grillo, and his Jacobites, continues to tighten his stranglehold on the city and orbitals with his extreme fundamentalism. Unfortunately for Skyler, Grillo also has possession of one of the artefacts. Without it he will be unable to finally unlock the Builders secret and uncover the real reason for all that has befallen mankind.

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and Hough has written a fitting climax to this excellent trilogy. The pace never lets up and indeed increases with the story now happening on three distinct fronts. Tayla Sharma takes a team to North America to recover one of the Builder artefacts. Skyler follows the trail left by the Builder towers exodus to Africa, only to discover the source of the deadly SUBS virus. And in Darwin, Prumble and Samantha undertake a dangerous mission to retrieve the artefact which is being kept in a high security vault by Grillo.

Hough's writing is assured and his character development memorable with some of the characters showing some surprising and unanticipated traits. I especially liked the characters of Vanessa, who has developed into an "Amazonian" type warrior, and Prumble who, notwithstanding his obvious un-athletic physique, proves himself to be a very accomplished insurgent against Grillo's religious inquisition. Again Hough keeps the overall feel of the story upbeat, notwithstanding the fact that this all takes place in a dystopian world. Without giving away any spoilers, the climax was not what I had expected and I was pleasantly surprised how this unfolded. I also appreciated how Hough calls in to question our automatic assumption to apply human morals to non-human entities. All in all I could not put this book down (even though I really didn't have the time to allocate to reading this in two or three sittings) and found myself pulling an all-nighter just to get to the end of the story. Something I haven't done in a long time.

Although the various story lines are all nicely concluded in this book, Hough has left enough openings to continue other aspects of the story in future releases. I, for one, will be waiting with bated breath for any further adventures from this author and will gladly recommend him to any lovers of the sci-fi genre or indeed anyone who enjoys a rollicking good yarn.
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on 25 July 2014
I probably should give it 5 stars as it really is well written. It is a good book however possibly I am being overly critical. All three books are great. Well written, easy to follow, I have no complaints regarding the narrative and progression of the books (save the last - ending of!) My only criticism is the end of the book. The author's narrative is entertaining and on occasion witty. There is an ' end' however it just seems to STOP. There is no real ending, a future with the 'builders' is alluded to however there is great big hole at the end I won't spoil it for you ......maybe a fourth book is in the pipeline? I'm probably overly critical, I've read series of books 5 and 10 yrs after they've been published before and found them exhilarating, maybe if there is to be a fourth book I should just have waited 5 years and bought them all then! I've read books previously where the author just seems to get bored and makes an improbable end. This has the feel of it. I feel a bit cheated presently, like I said if there is a fourth or hopefully fifth or sixth book (hint hint) I'd quite happily cough up my 8 quid per book. Thank you mr author but please work on your ending!
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on 28 November 2013
As I wrote in a review of the first book in this series I bought and deliberately held onto The Plague Forge before starting to read. Bit of a mistake. The cliff hangers that pepper this series came thicker and faster than ever and it was quite a task to get my thoughts together and keep up. Well worth it though. The pace quickens and quickens as the end nears. Often in this type of novel when some weird, unexplained and wildly unlikely premise, set up as the background, eventually leads to a wet, feeble ending. Not this time though. The conclusion of the current adventure is deftly explained and it makes a lot of sense. (Spoiler coming: It comes down to an attack of the dreaded Von Neumann machines). But it is more complex than that suggests and, with the Epilogue, left me feeling very satisfied with this excellent series.
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on 10 October 2014
A disappointing end to what was an enjoyable series. Did feel like the author ran out of ideas or lost his way a little.
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on 4 July 2015
I loved this whole trilogy & as soon as I finished the first book I had to download the 2nd & then the 3rd. Really gripping. It was very well written & I was not disappointed on how the ending was wrapped up. On reading the first book I thought I could see it as a movie, but then as I got into the 2nd I thought it was much too big a story for one movie but maybe a trilogy or a mini series. I would be very surprised if this does not get snapped up for a screen play or if it hasn't already. I would love to see these interesting & in depth characters played out on the big screen.I will be looked at reading more from this author who I have only just discovered.
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on 6 April 2015
I enjoyed reading this series. The plot is fast-moving and unpredictable, the writing is just good enough and I kept turning the pages till the end.

The end left me feeling let down though. Narrated to us by a third party, we are cheated of seeing our heroes react to the shocking truth of what's been going on. Though in fact the explanation is contradictory and unconvincing. Loose ends aren't so much left hanging as blowing in the wind like the author forgot they were there.

Having said that I find myself hoping he writes a follow - up series, and if he does I'll read it :)
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on 28 September 2014
Dissappointing. Ending abrupt like the writer ran out of ideas of how to end the book and trilogy. So many questions left un answered. 1 star is really for the cover art.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 October 2013
This is a fine trilogy (I read it compulsively) but I did find the concluding novel, The Plague Forge, the weakest of the three, simply because its role is to tie up the loose ends after what has gone before. That fact, though, makes it essential reading even if it doesn't leave as many memories as its two predecessors. The Builders mystery is one that demands answers and I couldn't wait to find out what they were about.
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