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The Forge Of Mars
Bruce Balfour
Ace paperback $6.99

review by Michael Lohr

Science fiction novelist Bruce Balfour (The Dagger Of Amon Ra, Outpost) has oddly enough found himself standing along side the likes of Clive Cussler, Stephen Coonts and Michael Crichton with this novel. Yes, its science fiction, and yes the story is set mainly on Mars, but The Forge Of Mars has ancient artifacts and treasure, government espionage, political intrigue and shadowy international organisations a plenty.
   In the not too distant future a NASA team discovers alien ruins on the surface of Mars, deep within a canyon called Vulcan's Forge. Upon touching one of the artifacts an astronaut dies immediately. Perplexed by this occurrence, NASA calls in ace researcher Tau Wolfsinger to find out just exactly what is going on. But unbeknownst to both NASA and Wolfsinger, these ruins are not the first to be discovered and in fact a shadowy international cartel known as the Davos Group has been locating and hiding such artifacts for decades. The Davos Group are attempting to backward engineer the artifacts and learn their secrets for matters of material exploitation and power. Wolfsinger may be the only human in existence that can unlock the artifacts secrets and this makes him very popular target for the shadowy types. The star cauldron awaits discovery, who will get there first? The fate of humanity hangs in the balance.
   The Forge of Mars is an excellent sci-fi novel. I love the subgenre of archaeological science fiction. This novel is one of the better archaeological SF novels written in recent memory. But I think what makes The Forge of Mars special is the old fashioned sense of wonder that it gives the reader. It's a feeling that you got the first time you picked up Robert A. Heinlein's The Door Into Summer or Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. You not only wanted to finish The Forge of Mars in one sitting, but you could almost feel yourself there with the character experiencing the wonders of discovery.
   And yes, there are Egyptian gods involved as well. Read the book.
Forge Of Mars

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