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Review by Ferdinand_otieno — Outland Exile: Book 1 of Old Men and Infidels

Post Number:#1 by Ferdinand_otieno

Outland Exile by W. Clark Boutwell is a science fiction thriller. It is the first book in Clark Boutwell’s Old Men and Infidels series. The book describes a new world where dependency on technology is the normal. The Unity controls most of the nation with outlander forming the rebellion against them. The protagonist is Second Lieutenant Malila Evanova Chiu who is an officer in the Democratic Unity Forces for Security (DUPS).

Second Lieutenant Malila Evanova Chiu is a veteran officer who, despite well-earned fame, receives an urgent message telling her that Sunprairie station was down. This would be the third time in three months. Malila has a brilliant idea to not only take care of the native insurgents, but to also reduce the cost of repairs that Sunprairie station demands after every attack. She calls on a group of sergeants to help with her plan because she is afraid her idea will be shot down if sent to her superiors. The meeting takes an unexpected turn when Malila finds herself demoted and imprisoned for no reason. Who betrayed Malila? What will happen to Sunprairie station? Will Malila escape or will she be released? What will she do with her life now? All these questions will be answered in this amazing book.

The main theme I encountered in this story was conflict. The Unity is in conflict with the native barbarians and has no easy solution for this. Malila finds herself in an unknown conflict with the person that betrayed her. Conflict has been written in this story to make it the major theme. The other themes I encountered in this book were; loyalty, trust, friendship, determination and betrayal. The author uses these themes masterfully to not only make the characters interesting, but to also make the plot memorable.

The character development in this book was written amazingly. The author writes an interesting protagonist and uses the new aspect of her world to show the reader how Malila grew up and the people she keeps closest. I enjoyed reading this book because I could never tell what Malila would do next. The author also makes sure to write the antagonist in this story and reveal them early in the book. This made me build up suspense to the predictable conflict with the protagonist. The amazing plot and relatable characters made me compare this book to Appollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner.

I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is because I found the plot captivating and addictive. I could not stop reading once I started and I found myself finishing the book in one day. The characters were developed masterfully and kept the story flowing smoothly. I had trouble trying to visualise this new world that the author creates, but I found it easy after a while because of the incredible plot and excellent characters. I did not encounter any spelling or editing errors and this made me believe that the book was professionally edited.

I would recommend this book to all science fiction thriller fans. The author used a unique writing style that kept me engaged from the prologue. Writing an amazing story while creating a new world is not easy, but the author made this book a masterpiece. The only thing I did not like about this book was the pressure it will put on the author for the sequel. I look forward to continuing this amazing story.

Exiles’ Escape–Kirkus Review

Young warriors fight a repressive government in this dystopian vision of America.

Boutwell’s (Outland Exile, 2015) sequel, which begins immediately after the events of his debut, plunges readers back into the high-stakes fight between the Democratic Unity of America and the Restructured States of America, two nations that emerged following the collapse of the U.S. in 2051. Seventy-five years after the great war, tension between two countries is increasing. Seventeen-year-old Unity soldier Malila Chiu has faked her death and is on the run from commander Eustace Jourdaine, who’s engineering a coup that will put him in charge of the nation. At the same time, the Restructured States have sent Will Butler to spy on the Unity and gather secrets from The CORE, its vast computer network. Malila’s childhood friend Hecate Hester Jones is also fleeing the Unity, hoping to make it across the Scorch, a lawless borderland filled with sentient plants. Meanwhile, wizened warrior Jesse Johnstone is on his own mission for the Restructured States, even as he fends off assassination attempts. If all this sounds a little confusing, it is, at least at first. Readers would be wise to start with the series’ first installment, which introduces several key characters and their back stories. Perspectives and settings shift from chapter to chapter, similar to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and, as in those books, it takes a while to see how everything fits together. But Boutwell is a masterful worldbuilder, packing his gripping tale full of rich, creative details that should thrill genre fans, from the shadowy, anonymous Solons, who rule the Unity, to a race of subterranean tunnel dwellers whose society is structured like a union with rituals involving the recitation of poetry (the novel is dense with literary references). The sci-fi trappings should draw readers in, but Boutwell’s sharp writing will keep them turning the page. When he describes a voice as “old and cracking as if taken out of a box just for this occasion,” he proves he can make even quieter moments come alive.

A vividly imagined sci-fi epic.