Oct 18, 2015

Trilisk Trilogy (or Parker Interstellar Travels Books 1-5) | Recommend Reading

The Parker Interstellar Travels Series (PIT)

...or what I like to call, the Trilisk Trilogy +2

Description: (From book 2 The Trilisk AI) 

Telisa Relachik studied to be a xenoarchaeologist in a future where humans have found alien artifacts but haven't ever encountered live aliens. Recruited by a group of artifact smugglers, Telisa endures deadly opposition on her first expedition and comes out an experienced explorer. Struggling to sell the artifacts found on their expedition to the Trilisk ruins, Telisa and Magnus fear reprisal by the world government. 

Because of their harrowed existence, they are receptive when the alien they call Shiny resurfaces and offers them the chance to scavenge his war-torn homeworld. Their obstacle: Shiny's robotic nemeses, the Bel Klaven. Telisa and Magnus feel up to the challenge, but does Shiny have a hidden agenda? 

Meanwhile, a new team forms to hunt down the smugglers...

Author: Michael McCloskey 
Book 1 -The Trilisk Ruins
Book 2 -The Trilisk AI
Book 3 -The Trilisk Supersedure
Book 4 -The Trilisk Hunt 
Book 5 -The Trilisk Revolution


The series revolve around a group of adventurers who pose as an holiday company Parker Interstellar Travels, in order to find and sell alien artifacts on the black market.  The main character, Telisa Relachik is a Xeno-Archaeologist who is recruited into their rank for her expertise and to pique her father who is high up in Earth Military.

This is the type of science fiction story that I like

This is the type of science fiction story that I like, it reminded me slightly of The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt, and it's a bit like Star Trek. In that there is a thirst for exploring the unknown, but the motivation is very different.  Whereas Star Trek is idealistic and altruistic and everything revolves around the search for knowledge, our characters drive to explore is in order to make money and in Telisa's case, to prove a point. You have several different character types the military/security type, the science-y person, the cynic and the hacker all who work together as a team to survive the adventure and when they don't trust each other things start falling apart.

Detailed world building

What I liked the best in this series was the very detailed world building, McCloskey has put a lot of thought into why the aliens don't behave like humans. Rather than your basic Star Trek aliens whose only difference to humans is the 'bump on the head' we get glimpses of the history, the culture and other forces that motivate the aliens in these novels.  From aliens who are so introverted and shy, that humans mistook them for plants, (their form of insanity was one who wants social interaction) to others that have multiple personalities, which personality is dominant depends on the situation and what needs to be done. Other aliens whose notion of friendship is dependent on what they need out of the relationship.  There seems to be a lot of thought put into it but the explanation of the aliens motivations doesn't bog down the story and sometimes is left as a mystery. 

The human technology that is outlined in these novels is reminiscent of the tech you encounter in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth series, such as everyone is interconnected via implant in their heads.  However, some of the alien tech such as the machine that you 'pray' to which in turn will produce what you pray for is quite spectacular.

Big on action and relatively quick paced

These books are big on action and relatively quick paced, don't expect to get too much philosophising. These books are written with cliff hanger endings and plans and adventures which build on the former ones which means that you can't start at any book.  I would recommend that you read them as a whole starting at book one, The Trilisk Ruins.

One thing that took me out of the story was that in a universe where human are out in space but still 'haven't ever encountered live aliens', the alien species count goes up quite quickly from halfway through the first book, to at least two new species being stumbled upon in each novel. It got me to wonder what is going on especially when they are on a planet with human separatists who are being hunted by a sentient alien and there are sentient plants all around them.   However it seems to be explained in one of the later titles.

The initial story arc concludes in book five The Trilisk Revolution and a new cycle starts in book six The Celaran Ruins.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  All up I enjoyed the Trilisk set, and was on tenterhook waiting for the next one to be released.  

More information:

In between the The Celaran Ruins# and book seven, which is titled The Celaran Probe the author has released a separate stand alone story based in the same universe called The Eimar Beacon#, so if you read all 6 books and are wanting a taste of more then you can try that one.

While waiting for Trilisk Hunt to be released, I purchased and read a stand-alone novel by McCloskey called Force Cantrithor#
, which was a good read too, especially the tension that he created as two former enemies, the Humans and the Vothriles try to work together in defeating a common foe. If you haven't already, check out one of McCloskey's titles, I'm sure you won't be disappointing. Currently Book one -The Trilisk Ruins#
, the Kindle version is free* for download on Amazon, so if you are disappointed you can get your money back.  Enjoy!

* as of 16 October 2015, this could change at any time.
02/06/2016 - links updated with Amazon Affiliate links. Wolfs Books may get a commission if you purchase via these links. 

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