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Talcon Star City
Talcon Star City has been honored as a "Finalist" of the 2012 International Book Awards in the "Fiction: Science Fiction" category.
Commodore Robert Sheppard fights to save the peacekeeping Alliance of Worlds from otherworldly aliens in Gary Caplan’s Talcon Star City, the space opera sequel to the award-winning Phoenix Rising.
Somewhere in the future, the universe is filled with hundreds of wild, weird and completely diverse civilizations existing on a myriad of strange and wonderful planets. But amidst all these brave new worlds, are otherworldly enemies intent on control, no matter what it costs them or the universe, and all courageous people must step forward and band together to stop them. That's the premise of Gary Caplan's brilliantly realized Talcon Star City, a story of bravery, revenge, aliens, and interstellar swashbuckling.
Caplan first burst onto the literary scene when he became a finalist in the highly prestigious 2010 Indie Excellence Award for his novel Phoenix Rising, which is also the prequel to Talcon Star City. Honing his craft, Caplan continued to write and went on to win the 2011 Indie Excellence Award in fantasy for his novel Return of the Ancient Ones. With Talcon Star City, he's become even more exhilarating a writer, fashioning a science fiction epic that's also thoughtful and realistic.
Talcon Star City centers on the character of Commodore Robert Sheppard, who, as acting admiral, commands the flagship Phoenix and the 6th fleet. As an esteemed member of the Order of Star Knights, Sheppard is gifted with unusually powerful metaphysical abilities, which he uses to help preserve the hundreds of civilizations in the universe. But there is now unrest in the universe and Sheppard and his other military officials must band together to fight a desperate alien challenge to the peaceful Alliance of Worlds. Lucky for Sheppard, he has his old mentor Garfield, and other allied Star Knights and admirals to help back him up in his fight. But as the plot thickens, the battle escalates. Now Sheppard is facing his old nemesis, the Varlon, who are sworn enemies of the Alliance of Worlds and are intent on expanding their power. But as Sheppard grapples with the evil he already knows, he must also face a group of aliens who are new to him, the fearsome Accads, who have joined with the Varlon and who pose challenging new threats he may be ill-equipped to vanquish. The best hope for the universe is to find the Talcon Star City and gain even more allies against these forces of evil. But time is running out. Can the stalwart heroes win the battle and stop this alien onslaught or is it already too late?
Caplan's sparkling prose and larger-than-life characters make Talcon Star City an incomparable reading experience. "Sometimes unusual alliances are needed to combat deadly enemies," says Caplan, an idea he boldly and entertainingly illustrates. His vision of the future is filled with startling new powers and technologies, all rendered with dazzling skill and humor, from comet-like projective weapons to particle cannonballs and invisible cloaks. Drawing from his own experiences in the military, Caplan gives his futuristic tale a stunning feeling of authenticity, making the interactions between military forces and aliens as plausible and true-to-life as they are exciting and original. Meant to appeal to fans of both Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, Talcon Star City seems destined for classic status.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
San Francisco Book Review • August 2012 • 24
Talcon Star City
By Gary Caplan
CreateSpace, $12.90, 265 pages, Format: Trade
One will find in Talcon Star City a universe populated with all sorts of new extraterrestrial civilization for a tale that brings back the excitement of traditional Space Opera and the television space shoot-out. Marvels also abound in his galaxy. The story continues here with Star Knight and commodore Robert Sheppard leading his part of the fleet in the flagship Phoenix to rendezvous and help protect the not fully impregnable Talcon Star City. The universe is at stake again with the enemies being the Varlons and the newly joined ally The Accads, who are also acquisitive and evil in their own right. It is good old guilty space fun to be party to all the intergalactic maneuverings as the forces assemble. One can brush shoulders here with extraterrestrial allies, some of whom have alien powers. It would have been nice to have pictures, but the book is somewhat visual anyway, with interesting descriptions of other space creatures. If one is looking for it, they will find captured here the excitement of preparation for the forthcoming galactic battles. Though long in the coming, there is the big battle at the end in the Rhendal Sector, but the story does not end there. Many civilizations have gathered to take on the imperialistic Varlons and their allies, but it will be a tough battle in a longer space war. Though a sequel to Phoenix Rising, which won the 2010 Indie Excellence Award for Caplan, it is understandable without reading the prequel. There is also a glossary at the end of the book if needed. Some sentences seem long in all the universe building. There is much material here for future and side tales. If one does not like character development, they will be happy to find that it is not a major part of this novel. One will not find a lot of personal growth taken place in Robert Sheppard in this single book, but the book is more about his high adventures on the seas of space. The characters are also more fully realized if one has read the prequel. One will need to follow the longer story for the book to be more meaningful psychologically, but there is more excitement on the way."
Book Reviews Science Fiction & Fantasy
©2013 All Rights Reserved • The US Review of Books
Incredibly detailed and fully imagined, Caplan gives readers a very realistic picture of what life and war is like on an intergalactic starship. Fans of Star Trek and Battlestar Gallatica will feel right at home on Sheppard's command bridge.
©2013 All Rights Reserved • The US Review of Books
Reviews for "Talcon Star City"
|Reviewed by kevin peter (Reader)
|Mirage of hope – A review of the novel ‘Talcon Star City’
“It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars” - Richard Evans
Prolific science fiction author Gary Caplan’s novel ‘Talcon Star City’ is the sequel to the 2009 release ‘The Phoenix Rising’. Painting the same vast expanse of space and its futuristic civilizations as revealed in the previous book, the new book too narrates the tale of such space faring people. A massive and powerful amalgamation of numerous civilizations, Alliance of Worlds is under constant threat of war and hostility from enemy civilizations who are hell bent on taking over this alliance. And their only hope is in the hands of a stalwart leader in Commodore Robert Sheppard who must not only rely upon his every intuition and skill but also seek help from a couple of new allies to fight the combined evil forces of Varlon and Accads. But he must do so before it’s too late for mankind.
While the space race led to nations competing with each other to send rockets and spaceships, what it also did was to introduce the power of science and create a spark of imagination amongst thousands of young minds, intriguing them about space and the role of man in them. This soon led to a parallel genre in fiction which later came to be known as space opera. And continuing from that initial spark which ignited our imagination, these novels inspired us to think outside of our little planet and become aware of the vastness of space and the potential that it contains. It has also given writers an opportunity to explore the theme of inequality that continue to exist among the different classes of people and the politics of colonizing space which hasn’t brought people closer as initially expected.
The Alliance of Worlds operate under an uneasy truce, with heavy prejudices on all sides and with multiple alien cultures in a race against time and each other to occupy it. And it is huge cast of characters within the vast expanse of space and time that we get to meet here, with a host of returning characters and a few new ones. And no decision of any character goes in vain as we get to see the ramification of their each decision in scenes that come later. It is perhaps the bane of this genre that makes its authors think that their books need to have its share of didactic moments and Talcon Star City is no different in that regard but unlike a lot of other books, Gary through his characters and his tone ensure that such moments are softened by the overall pace of the story. And after a slow start, the book develops and gradually builds up with bigger and better action. The engaging action, great dialogues and well developed characters with Robert Sheppard at the centre of it all rounds off the novel quite nicely.
Talcon Star City is a surprisingly quick read even with its sometimes wordy passages. This is mostly due to both the content and the voice narrating the story. Gary Caplan as a writer tends to use his prose and words alternately to paint a vast picture of the universe and also to get to the point faster than other novels in this genre. By placing political, social, and cultural theorems within a readable science fiction atmosphere, Gary has come up with a novel that is highly engaging to say the least. Sometimes deep with subtle symbolisms, it explores the basic human drive to explore the unknown and the dangers that lurk in them. And as it has always been for mankind, the greatest danger it faces is a mix of external threats and internal ideological struggles.
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