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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Will Butler, the “Old Man” Dr. Jesse Johnstone, and rebel Malila Chiu continue on their quests for their respective governments in Exiles’ Escape, Book 2 of the Old Men and Infidels series by W. Clark Boutwell. The Unity and the RSA are heading for a major conflict and each side needs all the information they can get. They also need dedicated fighters to bring the resolution to a satisfactory end, obviously with different outcomes for opposing forces. Malila works through the underground to try to escape back to the Outlands, Jesse works again with the military and Will goes undercover for the RSA while others step up to do their part in providing information. Lieutenant General Jourdaine of the Unity knows that things are not what they seem. Malila is not gone, but the question is whether she still poses a threat. Without connection to the CORE, it doesn’t seem likely, but now is not the time to take chances. Even with the help of the Higgins' in the passageways under the transportation belts, Malila is on the run for her life, trying to stay one step ahead of recapture.
Pieces fall into place as the strategies play out, setting the stage for the next volume and full-blown war. Strong writing, fantastic imagination and detailed sub-plots make Exiles' Escape a great read. Focusing on individual characters makes the book seem like a series of vignettes, each interesting and intriguing. The pace within each section is good, action is exciting with unexpected twists, and the characters experience some interesting revelations that help determine their paths. Although Exiles’ Escape is not at its best as a stand-alone volume, I'd encourage readers to grab Outland Exile first to set the whole story in its rightful context. This dystopian series about rebuilding after civil war provokes thoughts regarding government oversight in life and the role of the individual in society. Begin at the beginning and you will have a rewarding literary experience.