File Size: 627 KB
Print Length: 341 pages
Publisher: F.W. Fife (Zharmae); First edition (August 20, 2015)
Publication Date: August 20, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Timberwolf had me with its cover image of its eponymous hero puffing on a stogie. I have to tell you, watching environmentalists and "Moms against Smoke" and every other social nag and bureaucratic Bossy Boots faint, whine, and pass stupid intrusive laws when someone puffs on a bit of tobacco while simultaneously hacking huge clouds of unfiltered pot smoke into their lungs while beginning the inevitable cycle of stupid giggles and jokes that are only funny to the temporarily mentally impaired is painful. Timberwolf would throw the whole lot out the airlock of a spaceship first thing and wouldn't that be grand!
Here's a bit more macho musing for you. One of the great things about Heinlein's Star Ship Troopers series was that wussy little girly boys weren't welcome. Johnny Rico was there to kick Bug and Skinny ass and he enjoyed doing it. If someone from Code Pink had shown up before a drop, they'd have been fed to the aliens alive as a diversionary tactic. That's MY kind of fighting force!
Another thing I love about Timberwolf is attitude. In Sci-Fi, Earth has recently become a dumping ground for every second-rate group of interstellar under-achievers and delinquents. Ok, Ok, I admit that Earth as Pantywaist started with H.G. Wells and War of the Worlds and that evil meanies from outer space conquering all Peoplekind (I bet Timberwolf would say "Mankind" cuz that's how he roles) remains a very durable plot line, but I think the zeitgeist has moved too far recently in the direction of political mush and PC. It's time for a corrective.
Timberwolf Velez is the corrective. He's what you'd get if Dirty Harry and Ripley married and had a son. In his future, EARTH is the dystopia, and we've become very good at dishing out pain and punishment to misbehaving aliens. It's not only the military that's in on the action. The Church (the denomination is not made clear in the novel, but it feels like what you'd get if the Catholic Church started going to the gym, bulked up with 'roids, and started using those chalices not to drink wine but instead dent the heads of vicious off-world scum and teach them who's boss. I have a feeling if the current Pope reads Timberwolf, he'll faint) is also in on the fun and a key player in the tale.
The plot of the novel takes place in an expansive and action filled universe in which humanity has moved out to the stars and fought with great success a series of wars with alien species. Driven by religion and xenophobia, it appears we've solidified our role as Galactic Apex Predator until we confront the Arnock, a species of giant intelligent spiders who are also telepathic and no pushovers. During the conflict, Timberwolf has the misfortune to meet the enemy up close and personal, and ends up with an evil-alien-giant-spider persona permanently implanted in his psyche. Ah, but is everything what it seems? Just how evil are those spiders, really? And as the action unfolds between Church, Arachnid, and Highland, an entire world constructed for an AI, the lines between good and evil become increasingly blurred.
At least till Timberwolf Velez begins handing down some hard justice. Even if he has to do it with that damn spider still stuck in his head.
There's plenty of slam-bang action writing in the novel that will keep the pages turning. Some of the best scenes involve "Wrath," a bio-mechanoid warrior who's almost as dangerous as Timberwolf. Wrath is what you'd get if you crossed "Alien" with "Predator" and the resultant hybrid joined the Catholic Church down at the gym for its own killer workout.
Here's one early scene of Wrath doing what he does best:
The guard emptied his weapon on Wrath, but the plasma bursts deflected harmlessly away. The beast approached closely, scanning the door, the guard struggling to reload. Wrath absently slashed the guard down as he examined the lock. Then with his shoulders flexing, he turned the wheel on the door until its gears snapped and spun free. Bayonets extruded from over his forearms and he dug into the lock mechanism. He peeled the door outward, tearing it off its hinges. He tossed it away as two guards on the other side unloaded their weapons on him.
Wrath lashed out with his razor-tipped tongue, taking one guard’s head clean off. His plasma clip empty, the other man just stood there, terrified and unable to make a sound. Wrath backed up, dropped his head and drove his iron-crowned skull into the man’s chest, smashing him against the wall. The guard crumpled like a rag-doll.
Wrath and author Tom Julian are just warming up at this point.
OK, I've said enough. Now, you maggot, go pour yourself a long pull of a good bourbon, light up a smooth maduro, and sit down to enjoy a classic Earth-Kicks-Alien-Butt tale with just enough humanist subtlety and angst to allow you to escape accusations of Terran Nativism.
In sum, Timberwolf is fast paced, dynamic, and a blast to read.
Tom Julian works days at an insurance company and nights and weekends as an author. He enjoys traveling, long-distance cycling and waking up early to brew the perfect cup of coffee. He's an unabashed beer snob and native of Trenton New Jersey.
Timberwolf is Tom's first novel. His lifelong love of writing was cemented after pitching story ideas to Star Trek DS9 and Star Trek Voyager in the 90's. Tom is the father of Izzy and Liam and husband to the lovely Brenda-Lea. He writes while warming his feet under Maggie May, his Bernese Mountain dog. Favorite movie/book/food = O Brother, Where Art Thou?/Sirens of Titan/Trenton Style Tomato Pie.
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