Well, gentle reader, I have found these books which I ‘lost’ on my to-read shelves after I bought them in 2017. I have had to avert my eyes when I have seen the author at subsequent LibraryCons (in 2018 and 2019) because I had not read his first three books yet. I had even mentioned that I could not find them. He had no idea. On this humble blog, this has been the story of the mythical Joshua Clark books, which I have sometimes mentioned when I reported on other books that I had purchased at cons since then (such as Elton Gahr’s Spaceship Vision: The Impossible Dream earlier this year or Miracle in the Ozarks last year).
But now it becomes clear: From that very first day, when I bought his books three and a half years ago, I got his name wrong. It’s Joshua Chase, not Clark. Not that it made the books any easier to find. Which they were–when I was looking for a monograph or collection of poetry to browse this weekend, I found the three books in this series on the outside rank, but on the lowest shelf on the leftmost book case in my office (seen here before they got really full and started to break down). I don’t think it was the mistake in the name that made my eyes pass over this set for the last three years; I think it might have been because I often have something (sometimes book-things) stacked in front of the book shelves, and the best time for me to find a book is when I’m looking for a different book.
At any rate, the book: You can tell when an author, especially a young one, has played a lot of role-playing games. The fantasy story describes characters in such a fashion that you can almost see their rolled-up scores. This book reads as though the author was big into miniatures and wargaming. The story itself is about 130 pages long with 30 pages of appendixes about the main characters, the factions, and the weapons on each side. It looks like the next book has the same set of appendixes, so it, too will be a quick read.
In the book, the last holdout base of the Vehlan Union falls to the forces of the Ordeon Empire; escaping remnants of the Vehlan forces link up with space pirates whose supreme leader happens to be the brother of the leader of the Vehlans. A small special forces team has been holding out on a conquered planet, and when they’re forced to hide out when one of the members’ estranged family, they learn the Union has fallen. And the Ordeon leader who led the final assault on the Vehlan Union gets promoted to a supreme military leader position and starts his assaults on the remaining non-Ordeon systems in the galaxy.
The writing focuses on the plot and the battles more than individual characters or setting the scenes. As you know, gentle reader, if given the choice between a book which favors a moving plot and a book that focuses on the writing, I’ll pick the book with the plot every time–I do read a lot of genre fiction for this very reason, after all. This book has probably enough plot for a more modern 400 page book, but it’s stripped down perhaps even more than your common men’s adventure paperback.
But it was a quick read, and the plot was engaging enough. So I will read the other two books soon, and I will probably pick up the other(s) in the series if I get the chance just to see how this young man’s writing evolves over time.