3 out of 4 stars
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The Alex Cave Series books 1, 2 & 3 is a compilation of three science fiction novels by James M. Corkill. Named as Dead Energy, Cold Energy, and Red Energy, the books narrate three separate but interlinked missions undertaken by ex-CIA Alex Cave. These are not stand-alone novels; therefore, the readers should read the series in its entirety.
After a tumultuous past in CIA that caused his wife’s death, Alex is presently a professor of geophysics. In Dead Energy, he witnesses an oil tanker to lose its oil load following a bizarre explosion. Soon afterward, large volumes of oil start vanishing all over the earth. Owing to the scarcity of fuel, life in the USA is on the verge of shutting down. In the course of his investigation, Alex discovers the existence of an alien spaceship that ultimately explains the puzzle. In Cold Energy, the alien devices buried under the sea result in a sudden rise in the altitude of the global ice sheet. In Red Energy, the same artifacts might cause the Yellowstone Super Volcano to erupt. Alex holds the key to solve the problems and restore balance on Earth. But how can he accomplish his missions if he is repeatedly thwarted by human deception?
In these novels, Corkill emphasizes a burning issue of today’s world, that is, the abundant use of fossil fuels and the resultant toll on the atmosphere. In the books, the preventive measures involve alien intervention. However, that does not detract from the urgency of the message he tries to deliver. From the storyline, it becomes evident that Corkill himself is well-versed in geophysics. He often incorporates detailed information regarding geological events like tectonic shifts and volcanic eruptions. He also devotes time to logically describe the probable outcomes of such events.
A significant theme of the novel is human greed. While alien forces volunteer to cleanse the air, humans are reluctant to change their attitude. The villains would do anything for their gain, even if the long-term effects of their actions are detrimental to the earth. Corkill shows how humans are destroying their home planet through their mindless exploitations.
There are many negative points as well. Despite the comparatively short length of the book, the narrative often becomes repetitive. For example, Corkill describes the probable effects of an impending calamity so many times that the reading experience becomes tiresome. Besides, the plot twists are executed rather weakly. At times, Corkill seems more intent on creating shock value than providing a logical solution. The third novel, in particular, convolutes the plot so much that the reader becomes extremely confused.
Since this is primarily a plot-driven story, character development is not its strong suit. Alex Cave is presented as a stereotypical hero. His good looks remain a constant source of attraction for the opposite gender. Yet, the residual grief from his wife’s death renders him unresponsive to romantic approaches. Also, he possesses an almost uncanny ability to survive deadly situations. This, along with his connections to high-profile officials, makes him the central character. Considering the series is named after him, he does not do much to earn the role.
From a technical viewpoint, the number of errors exceeds the permissible limit. Based on the above-mentioned points, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this to fans of science fiction. The absence of violence makes it suitable for younger readers as well.
The Alex Cave Series books 1, 2 & 3
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