New Horizons

Host Saga Book 4

Fiction - Science Fiction
340 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2018
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 Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

New Horizons is the fourth book in the Host Saga series by Michael Farlow, a fantastic science fiction story that features a phenomenal conflict, higher levels of weaponry, and technology. Humanity is facing the most devastating threat ever: the Arkon attack is imminent! Aided by an AI companion and teacher left on Earth by the Galactic Host, Van Childs prepares for the ultimate assault from the Arkon, seeking allies and developing the Host technology that could withstand the assault. But the progress in allied shipbuilding is impaired by piracy and something more disturbing happens — an unexpected attack engineered by the Arkon that destroys the allied fleet and Zarminia. Can the cruiser New Horizons help, and can Van Childs get the New Horizons ready before it's too late?

New Horizons is one of the best things I have read in science fiction for a while now and I was left with the impression that this author is a shipbuilder in real life. First, the reader is introduced to a phenomenal conflict, a monumental threat looming over humanity. The plot is intricately done and readers will enjoy the complexity in the relationships — humans with humans and humans with artificial intelligence entities. The language is beautiful, crisp, and enriched by the witticism that flows through the exciting dialogues. The novel is action packed, intense, and emotionally charged, one of those books readers would enjoy on screen. The concept of the book is bold, the language confident, and the plot so cunningly done it keeps the reader's imagination gripped. You'll fall in love with the characters and you will care about them so much you want to see where they move from here. New Horizons is engrossing with the complexity of a chess game.

Deepak Menon

New Horizons: Host Saga Book 4 by Michael Farlow is a scintillating story of space war, set in the future against a ruthless and empire-building invading alien race - the Arkons. The Guardian Force of Earth has connected with a space-faring alien Federation comprising the five countries and colonies of Zarmenia and the Carians, all of whom are frenetically working together to build spaceships to defend themselves against the overwhelming invading force of Arkons. The chief protagonist, Van Childs, is piloting a small armed shuttle, the Enterprise, somewhere in deep space. Suddenly out of the blue, there is a harrowing attack by powerful Arkon spaceships. The description of the battle is thrilling but I will not reveal the outcome to avoid inadvertent spoilers. I'll merely advise readers to avoid biting their nails while reading this book. Van Childs is transferred to Commander of a gigantic new space ship named New Horizons. Van receives a blow when he learns that his amazing AI, Harry, who is his trusted friend and mentor, has been replaced an unknown AI named Jennifer, who is already integrated into the ship.

Michael Farlow does not let the nonstop pace of action pause. There are too many original and memorable protagonists to name in this tale as it runs its course. Simon Kelly, the chief electrician, Dr. Rose Ramos in the hospital, Dick Carson, who headed the joint warship building project, Elsa Muller - the talented captain of one of the attached corvettes, and many others including noteworthy aliens from among the Arkons, and the Naskapi named Majel from the planet Vespasian. The author weaves suspense into the tale; a mysterious saboteur whose malicious acts lead to delays in production, thereby affecting the shipbuilding effort, as well as posing a danger to the galactic force.

The very title New Horizons and the attractive cover of the book give an insight into the vast canvas of space, covering dramatic events even at a staggering distance of 20 light years. There are space pirates who intercept, loot and destroy cargo ships before vanishing. Amazing technologies, kidnapping, a suicide, political intrigue, great diplomacy and more will keep the reader captivated. Despite being a hard core science fiction read, the author successfully keeps the human element in the protagonists alive, including in the AI. The climax is well thought out and, to my mind, is a prelude to the next book. This is a fine 5-star story of interstellar adventure and mystery and is recommended.

K.C. Finn

New Horizons is a work of adventurous science fiction by author Michael Farlow, and the fourth book in the Host Saga. We join reluctant hero Van Childs on another adventure as he tries to fulfill his duty to protect the citizens of Earth from an extinction-level invasion at the hands of the fearsome Arkon. The New Horizons is a fantastic addition to his arsenal, as this exploratory cruiser offers brand new tech and weapons in the search for allies to help defend against the Arkon. But with the fate of Earth and other planets on the line, diplomacy goes disastrously wrong and the Arkon gear up to wage a bigger war than ever before.

I haven’t read the previous installments of the Host Saga, but the plot of New Horizons was simple to grasp from the opening few chapters. Van Childs is an interesting hero, haunted by his immortality and his duty to be a guardian to Planet Earth, and his journey towards hero status is one that I found myself rooting for. The political situation of the galaxy was well thought out, and Michael Farlow does a great job of hanging our hopes on sensible and diplomatic means, then dashing them all as war breaks loose anyway. The action scenes were described with fascinating detail, and I think fans of high-concept science fiction with a commitment to such details will find this a rewarding read. Overall, New Horizons: Host Saga Book 4 is a great continuation in a series that really suits its target audience.

Kimberlee J Benart

If you enjoy science fiction novels with “good guy vs bad guy” action, thrilling battles and heroics, well-developed characters you can like and despise, piracy, conspiracy, intrigue, sabotage, espionage, ascended beings, a little romance along the way, and one surprise after another as humanity faces destruction, New Horizons is for you. In this fourth book in the Host Saga series by US Navy officer, combat pilot, and aerospace systems engineer Michael Farlow, the author’s military and technical background shines through. The plot details, weaponry, and the personalities of the protagonists are framed in technological settings that seem realistic and believable. The blending of artificial intelligence with human and alien life forms is seamless. This is a believable world and the reader becomes part of it.

I enjoyed New Horizons. Farlow constructs a universal battle for survival with enough plot and character twists to keep it interesting from start to finish. The narrative is flowing, descriptive, engaging, and moves at a good pace. There were a few times when the jump between one setting and another was a little confusing to me. That being said, the story flowed well, and I was on the edge of my seat more than once. Although I hadn’t read the three previous books in the series, I had no difficulty getting into this one. There are references to events and people gone before, but the book stands alone. I especially appreciated the roles played by intelligent, courageous women and the wide ethnic diversity of the characters. A book that would make a great sci-fi film.

Grant Leishman

New Horizons: Host Saga Book 4 by Michael J. Farlow continues the space adventures of the Galactic Force headed up by Commander Van Childs. The Galactic Force is a collection of like-minded humans and Zarminians who are committed to building and equipping a battle fleet capable of defending Earth and Zarminia from a planned attack by the bellicose and dangerous Arkon, who have designs on universal domination. The Earth Federation, the Zarminians and the Galactic Force have combined to face the threat that is posed. New Horizons is a space ship left to the Galactic Force by the mysterious Host people, who wanted to give them the necessary technology to defend themselves against the Arkon. With the production of new battle cruisers and other armaments being hampered by both internal sabotage and piracy of supplies, the Galactic Force is engaged in a furious race to discover and catch the culprits. When it becomes apparent the Arkon timeline for invasion is much shorter than the Galactic Force had anticipated, there is a frantic rush to complete and man new ships of war, plus to find any other assistance that may be available out there in their defence of their freedom.

This is a classic, low-tech science fiction novel, which makes for an easy read without trying to understand fanciful technical issues beyond our imaginations. I like my science fiction to be action/adventure with a minimum of science, so New Horizons: Host Saga Book 4 fits that bill admirably. Author Michael J. Farlow has created an interesting set of characters that no doubt run through the full set of Host Saga Books. Although I have yet to read any of the others, it’s worth noting that is definitely not a necessity to enjoy this particular episode. It is stand-alone and the author has done an excellent job of sprinkling the narrative with hints and clues as to what may have happened before. Without giving any of the plot away, I particularly liked the exposition by Van Childs and the other defenders, to the Host Ambassador and Admiral, as to what it was that made humanity and indeed the Zarminians willing to die rather than sacrifice their freedom or control over their lives. I thought the battle scenes in this novel were extensive, well described, and exciting. It was easy to place oneself at the controls of one of these space fighters and feel the power of the weapons and the fear they induced. All in all, this is an excellent sci-fi read and I can highly recommend it.