Dark Enemy

Host Saga Book 5

Fiction - Science Fiction
269 Pages
Reviewed on 02/04/2020
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.
With a desire to help others develop as leaders, Mike earned his PhD in Organizational Leadership and started a leadership development consulting firm, specializing in executive coaching and development.
Mike’s passion for writing, developed throughout his career and in his doctoral studies, resulted in his writing a non-fiction book, Leaders Are Made Not Born. That writing and publishing experience fueled Mike’s desire to try his hand at writing fiction…which he finds an even greater challenge.
When he’s not writing, Mike spends as much time as possible saltwater fishing with his wife, Lynne.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Dark Enemy is the fifth book in the Host Saga by Michael J. Farlow. The Van Childs who reluctantly became a beacon of hope for the people of Earth is long gone. In his place is a man who is now sure of himself and knows that his responsibilities are well-placed. Now that there is a bigger threat than ever from the Arkon, he knows the pressure is on him ten-fold. The allied forces are all bound together and looking to Van Childs to lead the people towards a better future. The only issue is, things are changing at a rapid pace and he has no idea where he should turn and what he should avoid. With imminent danger right around the corner, Childs is having a hard time protecting himself, his friends, his family, and the allies. Is he going to make this work? Can he handle the pressure of humanity’s survival?

Intricately woven to grab your attention, Dark Enemy grabbed my attention from the get-go and would not let me put it down until I finished it. I remember reading the first novel in the series and thinking that Van Childs had the potential to be a great protagonist. I was glad to find that he has grown into a confident man who is aware of his weaknesses but does not let them hold him back. He is more confident in his skin, he is still vulnerable yet he knows how to stay calm and play to his strengths. The pace is just perfect, it is fast enough to keep the story going but not too fast that you lose where you are and what is happening. The author has done a wonderful job of creating a richly detailed and believable universe with characters that are real. Incredible and entertaining!

K.C. Finn

Dark Enemy is a work of science fiction penned by author Michael J. Farlow and forms the fifth book of the Host Saga. We return to the story of our hero, Van Childs, to learn of the many successes he has been awarded thanks to his valor and skills in battle. Now commanding a series of powerful allied forces, including those of the Host and the newly discovered Naskapi race, Childs is essentially the most powerful commander in the universe. But this power does not come lightly, and destruction is only ever a heartbeat away as the complexities of wielding such power take their toll on him.

Author Michael J. Farlow presents a really fascinating and somewhat slowed down, intellectual take on military space combat at the opening to this excellent addition to the Host Saga. It’s been a while since I’ve read about Van Childs and he’s come a long way, so I appreciate the work that Farlow has put into his character to develop him into the hero commander who came from such unexpected roots. The intrigue in the plot builds gradually, but when it hits, it becomes a real rollercoaster of action and tension for the rest of the novel, so there’s a really nice balance of character development for the series and all-out sci-fi military warfare to keep readers fascinated. Overall, Dark Enemy is a highly recommended science fiction novel for fans of the series so far: you won’t be disappointed by Van Childs’s latest endeavors.

Ruffina Oserio

Dark Enemy by Michael J. Farlow is a fast-paced, action-packed science fiction story that features a phenomenal inter-galactic conflict and great characters. Van Childs never wanted the mission entrusted to him but he is taught by Harry, his AI companion left on earth by the Host, an advanced race, to provide superior technology. Van Childs rallies an army of allied forces to face the deadliest of their enemies ever, the Arkon. Earth, Zarminia, and Naskapi come together to form an army under his command. This narrative explores Childs's leadership and how a man who once embraced loneliness overcomes his nature and leads the largest army ever against the enemy.

I was pulled in from the beginning by the beautiful prose and its fluidity. The reader is immediately introduced to the Host race and to the protagonist, a reluctant man compelled by a powerful threat to fight back. Van Childs is a well-developed character, multidimensional, and intelligent. It is interesting to follow his transformation as he morphs into a commanding leader. The novel is a work of great imagination, featuring advanced technology and races, with AI characters like Jennifer and Harry. Van Childs has many challenges before him, including the fact that he has to deal with scuffles within his own army and be ready to meet the deadliest enemy in the entire universe. Dark Enemy is deftly plotted and the writing is highly descriptive, allowing readers to easily imagine the action and where it takes place. It features pulsating action, well-crafted scenes, and a setting that is transporting. The author’s gift for plot and character comes out neatly in this novel.

Asher Syed

Dark Enemy by Michael J. Farlow is the fifth book in the science fiction space opera epic Host Saga series, preceded by Future Discovered, Immortal Guardian, Search For Help, and New Horizons. This installment continues to follow Van Childs, the reluctant hero and savior of humanity, who now finds himself in a position of absolute and incontrovertible military power beyond which anyone could possibly imagine—and something he most certainly does not want. Political manoeuvering both within and against the Galactic Force threaten universal stability and those who believe Childs stands in the way of their own nefarious goals, under the guise of his perceived abandonment of Earth, plot their revenge. On the personal front, Childs juggles unexpected news from Rose as he leads his crew and allies in the fight of their lives.

Michael J. Farlow does an excellent job furthering the futuristic world he's built on the shoulders of Van Childs in Dark Enemy. The balance of intrigue and humor is perfect and the storyline has some really well-plotted machinations to thrust it forward. To me, Farlow's strength lies in his talent for character development and description. Major characters like the Supreme Leader are immediately depicted with lifelike, deliciously intimidating detail. Even ancillary characters, such as Captain Lee Chen, are identifiable and feel totally authentic with organic, unique traits. This is classic science fiction with modern themes and great writing that I'd recommend to those who enjoy the genre.

Steven Robson

Michael J Farlow’s Dark Enemy is Book 5 in the Host Saga series, delving into a galaxy in conflict where a group of four conglomerate alliances come together to protect their worlds from a malevolent species called the Arkon. Van Childs leads one of these allies, Galactic Force. He becomes de facto in charge of the whole defense when a windfall is presented to him in the form of hundreds of advanced space ships, offered by a recently discovered species. Called the Naskapi, they seem to have presented the best hope for the future of mankind. However, one prevailing theme permeates this new relationship as the conflict blossoms; choose the hills wisely on which you do battle. Will the Naskapi prove to be the panacea desperately needed by Van and his forces or are there even more twists in store for our future survival?

I found Dark Enemy by Michael J Farlow to be a thoroughly enjoyable read, combining elements of adventure, excitement, danger, intrigue, and love into a complex, yet clearly painted picture of hope for the future. The characters are real and distinct enough to allow a full spectrum of bonds to be established between the players involved and with the reader as well. The archaeological aspects introduced and the presence of the two artificial intelligence officers provide very interesting facets to this well-crafted gem. This is an adventure that will immerse you in a dynamic world of wonder and future possibilities as you chart an uncertain course through the dangers of unknown space.