Crucible

Records of the Argos

Fiction - Science Fiction
278 Pages
Reviewed on 02/17/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, Mike was a career naval officer, decorated combat pilot, and served in senior positions on staff in Washington, D.C. Following his military service, he embarked on a career as an aerospace systems engineer and executive with several Fortune 500 companies.
Mike’s passion for writing, developed throughout his career and in his doctoral studies, resulted in his writing an award-winning non-fiction book, Leaders Are Made Not Born. That writing and publishing experience fueled Mike’s desire to try his hand at writing fiction. Multiple award-winning books later, he still finds fiction writing a constant challenge.
When he’s not writing, Mike spends as much time as possible saltwater fishing in Texas and Panama with his wife, Lynne.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Crucible: Records of the Argos is a work of science fiction, action, and adventure fiction which is suitable for all ages, and was penned by author Michael J. Farlow. The book follows the adventures of a small but tight-knit spaceship crew including their offbeat artificial intelligence system as they undertake a reconnaissance mission on behalf of the Allied Consortium. Traveling through the shattered remains of a once-great empire now devastated by a deadly war, the crew finds themselves unwittingly invested in the outcome of a dangerous life or death struggle for the people of the planet desperate to be free.

Author Michael J. Farlow has crafted a superb work of fiction that all fans of exciting, immersive adventures will be sure to enjoy. One of the particular things which I really enjoyed about the work was its atmosphere, history, and world-building. This was a striking feature that sets up a desolate world with some really cinematic descriptions, but it also enables us to relate the central characters to their situation and feel the tension of their mission and what’s really at stake. For science fiction fans, there are plenty of innovative details and fun, original creations, and the plot takes many of the expected turns, but then also flips the script to give some great tension and surprises. I also felt that the dialogue made the characters feel more realistic, as well as moving the major exposition points of the plot along. Overall, I would certainly recommend Crucible: Records of the Argos as a highly engrossing and imaginative read.

Steven Robson

Crucible: Records of the Argos by Michael J. Farlow picks up just over two years after the end of the Arkonian war, which was covered in the Host Saga series by the same author. After winning the war over the Arkon, the Galactic Force has created a new governing power called the Consortium of Planets and, as is typical after a powerful controlling force has been vanquished, the many voids of authority over planets and systems are not always filled by democratic means. Planet Tye is in one such system, where evidence suggests that control may not be in the hands of the general population; this is the region that Captain Nickolas Hall has been assigned to investigate and report on to the Consortium. Accompanied by his small crew of two, and one AI (artificial intelligence) computer on steroids, Nick takes his small but formidable ship Argos into this System seeking answers; a mission that is laced with danger, and the possibility of exploding into a whole new dimension of conflict which few will survive.

Michael J. Farlow’s Crucible: Records of the Argos is a series of fast-paced leaps through space, dropping into multiple worlds, moons, asteroids, and outright adventures at a breakneck speed. The way this is written is a little different, being told from the first-person perspective of Nick Hall, and including some commentary directed to the reader, but I think it works wonderfully to more effectively draw you into the story. The characters are all rich and individual in makeup, and some relationships bloom that are particularly noteworthy: Wizzy’s relationship with Nick, Nick’s relationships with Amini and Tiana, and Tiana’s relationship with Sif were all most engrossing and have great potential for growth in subsequent books. The surprising thing about Crucible for me was the occasional gems of information passed on throughout, which I found fascinating, including information about Vallis Alpes on our moon; a place I was unaware of previously. I would recommend Crucible to anyone seeking a good, clean, action-packed adventure with unique content and an innovative writing style.

Foluso Falaye

The Argos crew consists of three humans and an AI who are sent to investigate troubling ship disappearances in the distant parts of the Arkon empire and determine what threat might exist to the region and/or to the Consortium. The mission involves several difficulties: very little is known about the planet of Arkon following the war, the crew would likely meet a hostile environment, and three humans might be much too small to carry out the mission. As they proceed with the assignment, Nickolas Hall and his crew—armed with nothing but the impressive Arkon technology and great resolve to succeed—discover they must defeat pirates and rescue and join forces with members of the Resistance. Michael J. Farlow's Crucible is pure adrenaline and non-stop action for sci-fi enthusiasts.

Two things: mind-blowing technologies and impressive space war strategies. In this wild, roller-coaster galactic ride created by Michael J. Farlow, my thirst for futuristic technology was quenched by the microscopic medical bots, thinking drones, self-aware artificial intelligence, and much more interesting creations. I deeply enjoyed being immersed in the different strategies of attacks and counterattacks that resemble a game of chess and exercised my mind and my ability to think ahead. However, I wished some other emotions were projected more besides the desire to accomplish the mission because it occasionally felt a bit too one-directional. Nevertheless, the positive aspects of the book make the book worth giving a try. If you like the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, you should definitely check out Crucible: Records of the Argos.

Vincent Dublado

In Michael J. Farlow’s science fiction Crucible: Records of the Argos, we follow the story of Captain Nickolas Hall, who is at the helm of the auxiliary ship, Argos, acting under the Allied Consortium. Argos is an old ship but is redesigned as an intelligence vessel and is upgraded with a sophisticated defense weapons system. Argos is sent to investigate troubling ship disappearances and gather intelligence within the coordinates of the old Arkon Empire. Hall must find out who is responsible for the disappearances and what threat this might pose to the consortium. Counting him, there are only three human members in the Argos crew, but his AI familiar, Harry, is a welcome bonus. What Hall and his crew will discover is that the piracy stems from a long list of suffering within a degrading planet.

Crucible is a brilliant flight of fancy in a futuristic time that narrates mystery and intrigue in a distant system. Michael J. Farlow’s writing has an entertaining quality that draws strength from both the humanistic and mechanistic aspects of this novel. From the career beginnings of Captain Hall to his team’s involvement in the plight of the Resistance, this story shows how Farlow has built a fictional star system where the struggles and preoccupations are no different from Earth. He does not even need to impress us with a lot of tech jargon to make his mark on the sci-fi genre. Readers who love high adventure will get a kick from reading this book. Crucible is a solid sci-fi adventure that will keep you absorbed.