Review: Tolagon – Age of the Marcks
By Gregory Benson
Publisher: Blue Giant Publishing
Publication date: November 1, 2019
Crix Embertook is alone in the galaxy. Orphaned by the devastating Thraxon War, Crix has been raised by the kindly Haflinger, among the equine Andorians on planet Troika. As the lone Mendac (human) in the community, he is an outsider. He has carried a blue orb of Cyos within him all of his life, his one lasting legacy from his father.
With the orb, he is the last of a long line of Tolagons and possesses immense power that he can never use. If Crix uses the orb, its unique energy signature will alert the evil forces that seek to harness its power for their nefarious purposes. The treacherous Zearic, evil overlord of the Sinstar Corporation and the true power behind the robotic Marcks, lusts for the power of the orb to perfect his bid for interstellar control.
Crix’s life of quiet seclusion is disrupted with the discovery of a crashed experimental spacecraft. Crix answers destiny’s call by drawing on the power of the orb to rescue the downed craft’s pilot. With the beautiful, enigmatic Mendac woman, Kerriah, and the thick skinned Hydorian, Krath, Crix must escape the clutches of the Marcks before they destroy him and the planet he calls home. He must also master his powers or his else they will destroy him too.
When I began reading this book, it reminded me of a science fiction roleplay scenario, which is both good and bad in its execution. There’s a lot of world building thrown at you immediately. Species, organizations, planets, ship classes and for some, there is little to no definition to what these words mean so you are lost in the lack of a glossary. You can feel there’s been a lot of thought and consideration into making this expansive lore and Benson just can’t wait to show you.
As a result, some terms are explained briefly while others are used repeatedly without more context to understand what they mean. If there was a baseline understanding going in or maybe a detailed wiki or pictures, this wouldn’t be as problematic.
I felt like I lost something in the specific jargon. But once I got past the opening prologue and the beginning of the quest, things moved more easily. The narrative flows okay with random bouts of world exposition or backstory tripping it up. But as a first novel in a series that is trying to tell you as much as possible about the setting, I do get it.
Some of the dialogue felt ripped out of an old space opera but that might have been the desired effect. Overall, Tolagon: Age of the Marcks felt like an update to Doc Smith’s Lensmen. The set up for the character introductions and some of the descriptions especially brought made me think of Lensmen. The orbs of Cyos are passed from one host to the next and become a part of them- Tolagons are made not born. With the orb, a Tolagon can perform miraculous feats- increase strength, speed, shoot energy bolts and allow levitation all dependant on the color of the orb they possess.
Tolagon is a title for an organization of beings that are joined with these mysterious orbs. We don’t learn much about them in this first novel. We do learn a great deal about the Andorians and the Marcks but we are only teased with Kerriah’s and the Tolagons’ history.
I recommend Tolagon: Age of the Marcks for anyone looking for a modern interpretation of golden age sci-fi adventures. We have monstrous alien insects, maniacal mad scientists, evil plots to take over the Galaxy, killer robots and a hero just beginning to learn what his destiny is. The fate of the Galaxy is in Crix’s inexperienced but motivated hands.
3 of 5
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.