Truly one of the classics of the genre, the Lensmen series redefined SciFi and helped to launch Space Opera as we know it now. While initially released as in three books, Smith later created three prequels (similar to Lucas much later) which further explained the eons long conflict between the Arisia and the Eddore.

The first of the prequels – Triplanetary – consists of two major parts, the first being the arrival of the Eddore into our universe, the subsequent fall of Atlantis, Rome and “present day” Civilization and the second detailing the rise of humanity once again under the covert help of the Arisian’s.

Throughout both sections of the book however we are constantly confronted with the Kinnison’s & their partners. These individuals are key to the Arisian’s and their breeding of a superior race – in fact, one that will surpass them in mental prowess – in their conflict with the Eddorian’s.

I first read this book almost 20 years ago (perhaps even longer) and while it is sometimes a bit archaic (the role of the woman for example is almost always as a damsel in distress!) it is still a really good, solid and enjoyable read and you can definitely see why it is deserving of a place on your mantle.

In the second half of the book – what you could in fact classify as the main story (after all Atlantis, Rome and present day Civilization have all fallen!) Humanity has explored the solar system and has formed the Triplanetary league. This consists of the planets Earth, Mars and Venus and they have just recently survived a successful conflict against Jupiter which is only alluded to briefly.

(note: I’m not sure if this where the manly man/hero is first introduced to SciFi or if it was introduced in another series even earlier but regardless, this book is littered with them!)

Conway Costigan (one of our main protagonists) is a spy for the Triplanetary Patrol and he is captured along with his love interest (Clio Marsden) and Captain Bradley by Gray Roger – a pirate plaguing interplanetary commerce. What Conway doesn’t know however is that Gray Roger is actually Gharlane of Eddore who is masquerading as a human so that he can destroy this version of civilization like he did each of the preceding iterations (Atlantean, Roman and our current Civilization) on Tellus (Earth).

While Conway is able to successfully escape from Roger and is in fact able to call upon the Triplanetary Patrol to help attack and defeat Roger, he is once again captured – this time by the Nevians.

The Nevians are the dominant, amphibious race of the planet Nevia, located many light years distant from the Sun. Their planet is desperately short of iron, so they set out with a spaceship to try to obtain more and come across the fleet of the Triplanetary Patrol in the midst of its battle with Roger and his pirate forces. Utilizing their superior technology they strip the Patrol ships and Rogers forces of all of their iron (not only from the ships but also from the crew on those ships) quickly defeating both forces. Along the way they capture Costigan and decide to take him and his companions back to their home planet for further study and analysis.

Once at Nevia, Costigan again escapes – this time from the Nevian supership in the midst of another epic battle (underwater against fish from the deeps of the planet)! While he is again captured, Costigan is able to provide valuable information to his colleagues in the Triplanetary Patrol so that they are able to better defend themselves and in fact create a ship (the Boise) that is able to not only stand up to the Nevian’s but in fact defeat it in battle.

Escape to Earth is another series that I tried because of Kindle Unlimited and the ability to obtain books for “free”. You might recall my previous post on a similar trial with the series The Human Legion – Marine Cadet?

I guess lets start with my biggest gripe with the books in this series … that’s unfortunately the writing itself.  It’s very stilted and seems forced and while some of the characters are interesting you can’t really engage with them due to the language.  The idea itself isn’t bad & the concept as a whole is somewhat intriguing (I’ll describe that further below), but there isn’t really a flow to the story and while I’ve read through all of the books in this series, that’s primarily because they were free as I don’t think I would have paid for all four books.

Escape to Earth – Running from Fate

As the first book in the series, this is where some of the most intriguing ideas and concepts are put forward and while some of these elements continue to play out in subsequent books, they aren’t given as much weight there.

In the Fellowship a rule exists that a “primitive” planet cannot be contacted unless they develop a stardrive or forcefield.  However when a warrior from one of the races battling in the galaxy is forced to flee, his escape pod determines that the only way he can be kept safe is for him to hide.  His hiding place however just happens to be one of those planets – a planet called Earth!

Transformed by his escape pod so that he mimics a human in shape and form, the Welkin warrior becomes Lukas – a blonde haired, blue eyed 6 foot tall Norweigan.  Smarter, stronger and faster than other humans though, his now human body is impacted by strange and unexpected impulses that cause him to act and react in strange ways.  He also learns all about Love and because of these changes to his system he finds a new home for himself on Earth – one that he is willing to do anything to defend!

Escape to Earth-Fighting for Space

Continuing on from the first book, Fighting For Space has the human’s and their fleets now competing on almost equal footing with the Fellowship despite being overwhelmingly behind in terms of fleet sizes.  However if nothing else, this book and the ones that subsequently follow make the point that “quality has a quantity all its own!” as while they might not have the numbers, they are more than able to make up for this lack.

What doesn’t really seem to be considered however is the fact that 3 dimensional combat is significantly different to 2 dimensional and this would be even more evident in Space where the enemy has the ability to attack from a multitude of different directions – simultaneously.  While Saxon does cover the improvements in technology, he doesn’t spend an undue amount of time on it & it really has the feel of some of the older pulp classic E.E. Doc Smith books where every chapter had another new invention that was better, stronger, faster etc… than the one before.  While somewhat exacerbating, it did help to move the story along, however its one thing when its the alien making all of the advances … its somewhat more annoying when the geniuses are the humans themselves as it always brings up the point – why didn’t they do it before?

Regardless there are many different space battles, but perhaps most importantly this book introduces the real villain of the series which is the attack on our Galaxy by another Galaxy entirely!

 

Escape to Earth-Defending Holy Ground

Continuing on from the previous book, Defending Holy Ground has fleet battles numbering in the million ship range.  While the technology advantage is still on the humans side, the fact that literally a whole Galaxy is contributing forces to the attack vs. a single planet to the defense … well regardless of how good their quality is, in this case, overwhelming quantity wins out.

While some of the fleet battles (at least in size) evoke memories of some of the earlier books by David Weber and its similarities to old classics like Master of Orion the passion isn’t there for the characters and the multitude of ships that are destroyed.

Humans while no longer a defenseless species are still primarily on their own in this fight and bear the bulk of the work.  I think to some extent this would bring up questions of resources as they realistically could not put up fleets of the size they do, with the numbers they have left but its a small point.

Escape to Earth-The Legacy of a Conqueror

Finishing this series, we’re introduced to Lukas’ son and he is the primary character in this final book.  Realizing that humanity can never truly be safe until they take the fight to the enemy Lukas and crew nominate his son as the Conqueror.  The leader of all of humanities forces in their battle against the attacking Galaxy.

With telepathic abilities in addition to super strength, intelligence and speed the only fear is that he might grow to love his new found power too much, however being Lukas’ son and guided by the Sentinels he is able to maintain his humanity enough to find an alternative solution to genocide in several key battles earning humanity even more allies before the climactic battle against the Leaders of the evil Galaxy.

Overall Review

Some good ideas and interesting concepts, but unfortunately the bad writing tends to outweigh them.  While worth reading through Kindle Unlimited or another forum that allows you to “purchase” books for a nominal or free price, I probably would not pay for this series if I had to.