Orbit | 2017 (25 May) | 589p | Review copy | Buy the book
Forgotten Worlds is the second novel in D. Nolan Clark’s trilogy The Silence. While I think you’d have no trouble reading Forgotten Worlds as a standalone science fiction deep space adventure (one of my favourite things), I’d definitely recommend that you give yourself a treat and read Forsaken Skies first. This review assumes you’ve had the pleasure.
Commander and veteran Aleister Lanoe has won a heroic victory against the alien force that threatened the human colony of Niraya with annihilation. But Lanoe is in no doubt that it is merely a temporary reprieve. The aliens will return and their target will be not just Niraya but every living human soul across the Galaxy. Somehow, Lanoe must locate the alien’s homeworld and destroy it once and for all. To do that, Lanoe needs the support of the Navy’s admiralty but these are no ordinary times. The Navy’s war against Centrocor is angrier than ever and Centrocor will stop at nothing to gain the knowledge (and therefore the advantage) that Lanoe and his second in command Tannis Valk have about the aliens, the first that mankind has ever encountered.
And so Lanoe and Valk, and their small military team – some known to us for better or worse and some new – must escape the deadly force of Centrocor while pursuing their own mission. An unknown source has sent the Navy a message of hope along with a map. Lanoe sets off, unaware of the terror and danger ahead as well as the nature of their astonishing destination. Nothing will ever be the same again for Lanoe or for humanity. If he – and it –
survives, that is.
I was a huge fan of Forsaken Skies and I couldn’t wait to read its sequel. Forgotten Worlds takes off where the other one ended and is every bit as thrilling, exciting and as fast as its predecessor, if not more so. At about 600 pages, Forgotten Worlds is not a short novel but the pages fly through the fingers. This is one of those brilliant books where ‘Just one more chapter….’ before bed turns into a very late night indeed! Almost every chapter ends at a point that I could not put down as the story magnifies and explodes into the type of wondrous science fiction that I cannot get enough of.
The narrative moves back and forth between Lanoe and his team and the Centrocor force on their tail, led by Bullam, a woman with the type of illness that makes her entirely unsuited to travel in space, and Captain Shulkin, surely the most inhuman human of the novel. As human takes on alien, there is much in this novel about the nature of mankind in all its variety and here we see so many sides to it, from Captain Shulkin to Lieutenant Maggs (oh, yes, he’s back) to Tannis Valk, the most fascinating AI that I have encountered in science fiction for years. Everyone here is suffering under the most incredible duress and it affects people in different ways, including Lanoe himself. In particular, I loved the development and change in the characters of Lanoe’s newest pilots, Bury and Ginger.
But while the story moves between Lanoe and Centricor, time is increasingly spent with Lanoe as his ship makes its extraordinary journey through wormholes to a destination they could never have imagined. I’ll say nothing about this other than to say that here we have the types of alien I want to read about. They are not like you and me. And the sense of wonder that D. Nolan Clark creates as we move through strangeness reminded me repeatedly of Baxter and Hamilton.
Forgotten Worlds is packed full of drama and thrills with dogfights in space scattered throughout. And we also have the movement of huge spaceships into the atmospheres of planets. You can almost hear the scream of metal as it is twisted out of shape. The novel takes its time to describe the environments and worlds encountered but it is never at the expense of the book’s tremendous pace.
Forgotten Worlds is such fun to read! its science is fascinating yet accessible and it makes no great demands on the reader, insisting instead that he or she sits down and enjoys the adventure, eyes wide open to the shocks and wonders in store along the journey. The novel ends at a good point but how I long for Forbidden Suns!