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Psionic Earth #1

Fires of Man

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Supposedly, the war between Calchis and Orion ended decades ago. But upon reporting to an isolated Orion army base for basic training, Private Stockton Finn learns the war still rages, only the weapons have changed—most disturbingly of all, Finn has been selected to become one of those weapons.

Across the border, young Calchan farm boy Aaron Waverly learns all too well just how determined his country is to win the war when he is abducted from his family's property by a sinister government operative known only as Agent. Finding himself trapped in dreary new surroundings, learning deadly skills he's never before imagined, Aaron struggles to reconcile his ephemeral faith with his harsh new reality.

As the two nations hurtle toward a resurgence of open hostilities, Finn and Aaron, along with their new friends and mentors, must rush to prepare themselves for the inevitable clash. All the while, a new archaeological find in the frozen tundra far to the north hints that the brewing conflict may only be the first of their worries...

400 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2014

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Dan Levinson

3 books134 followers

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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Sadie Forsythe.
Author 1 book265 followers
July 23, 2016
Fires of Man is set in an alternative Earth, in and alternative 2012. This made for an interesting, if occasionally jarring, mix of the new and exciting with the familiar and mundane. For example, characters practiced their amazing Psionic powers and then sat down with a beer and the TV remote. Plus, all of the place names are just a little off from being recognisable. It's almost the Earth we know, but not quite. It took me a while to get used to it.

There is a lot I could say about this book, but I'll start by saying the writing is excellent. The dialogue feels realistic and it's quite well edited. There are some really thought provoking subtexts too—the horrors of war, the transition from boy to man to soldier, the value of morals when confronted with the reality of kill or be killed, love, etc. But in the end it's really just the beginning of something.

This is definitely, DEFINITELY not a stand alone book. Nothing concludes and ALL of the threads are left hanging. In fact, I might call this whole book a set up for the actual story to come, because it's not so much about anything that happens as it is about getting to know the people who will apparently be important at some future point.

This isn't to say nothing happens, a lot does. Nor is it to say it wasn't enjoyable. It was. Those characters are all interesting and highly engageable. The world and it's politics is interesting and the hints at the final shebang looks intriguing. But there is a surprisingly long character list, with all of them being given equal time. I'd have a hard time pinpointing a single one as the MAIN character at this point. Additionally, few of them cross paths at any time in the novel. So, in a way, this was really 5 or 6 stories in one book. The reader has to take it on faith that eventually in some future book they will all play a significant role in some singular something.

I enjoyed the writing a lot, heck I enjoyed the book. But if I had it to read again I wouldn't bother until there was a sequel or two available, because I'm done now and I know half a story (maybe less if this is going to be a longer series). This annoys me. However, I am not so oblivious to the basic realities of publishing that I don't recognise that at 400 pages the book essentially reached its maximum allowable length and had to be broken up.
Profile Image for Rowena Hoseason.
456 reviews22 followers
June 30, 2014
This is an ambitious series-opener which blends aspects of militaristic sci-fi with a well-constructed alternative reality, and multiple overlapping and interwoven plotlines. The time is now, the earth is different, and a covert cold war is being fought between psionic soldiers and their spies…

It’s a cracking concept which has been adroitly executed. Fires of Man is a page-turner, no doubt about it. Happily, it doesn’t sacrifice good character development for the sake of intense action set-pieces or intricate plotting: you get the whole lot which makes this a weighty read. Not all of the character arcs turn out well in this first episode of what will become the Psionic Earth series, and as the multiple plots unfold you really have no idea what fates may befall them.
My favourite thread of this intertangled tale involved the army psy-corp officer who took a posting to the equivalent of the Far East in order to escape a broken heart (note to character: broken hearts tend to follow you around). A stranger in a very unfamiliar cultural landscape, isolated and emotionally vulnerable, he stumbles over a master sensei who has truly tapped into the potential of chi – the same force which the warring ‘western’ nations know as psionics. His gradual enlightenment and understanding of his gift and its true potential is one of the book’s most successful sequences, and holds much promise for further episodes.

(More plot and character info to follow over at
http://www.murdermayhemandmore.net )

The one truly captivating character was, of course, one of the bad guys – although I have to say that author Dan Levinson has carefully avoided stigmatising either side. It’s just that the Calchan psions are more violently ruthless than their Orion opposition. Anyway, ‘Agent’ is the stand-out creation of this book; one of those totally capable, murderous sociopaths you’d only ever want to have on your side.
So overall this is a very promising opening episode to a new psy-fi series. If you’re the kind of person who can’t cope with a little delayed gratification then you’ll want to wait for the second in the series to come along before starting this one: there’s very little resolution after the dust of conflict settles.

However, I tend to think that a little cliff-hanging never hurt anyone, so I’d dive straight in…

Profile Image for Kimber Wheaton.
Author 4 books248 followers
June 17, 2014
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Fires of Man is not my normal read, but it's always nice to step outside a rut and experience something different. This is book one in a three book series and ends in a cliffhanger that will leave the reader desperate for the next book. I usually prefer a bit more closure, but I know cliffhanger endings are very popular.

I'm not really sure where this novel takes place, and based on the interview above, we're not meant to know yet. It's an intriguing world, similar to our and yet different on many levels. I really enjoyed the myriad of characters. Of course that brings up my main complaint with the story. The constant shifting in point of view from character to character made the story disjointed at times. This story doesn't just follow one or two main characters, but several, each with their own story arcs.

I loved the world building. Mr. Levinson does an amazing job painting a picture of his fictional world. So will you enjoy it? I'm going to categorize Fires of Man as a sweeping urban sci-fi epic. There's a heavy fantasy element with the psionic powers, and also a strong military/war aspect. It isn't a light read but rather an immersive experience. Definitely worth a try in my opinion... just don't forget about the cliffhanger at the end.
Profile Image for Inga.
265 reviews47 followers
June 15, 2014
My review:

Fires of Man by Dan Levinson is an interesting book. It's well written and the settings are quite unique. You will experience an alternative world, which is somewhat similar to ours and yet very different. There are two worlds - Calchis and Orion - which are on the edge of a war, wanting nothing less than a supremacy.

Let me start with saying, that even though it's a first novel in a series, it can't be read as stand alone book. Fires of Man introduces you the two superpowers, the worlds of Calchis and Orion and to its people. It consists of many subplots which characters are crossing each others paths and a lot of characters who doesn't. It builds up to a whole lot to happen, but it doesn't conclude anything. There is no clear ending, you are left with many questions about what will happen to the characters.

What's also specific for Fires of Man is, that I couldn't in point clear main characters. It's not necessarily a bad thing, because they all have a story to tell and the characters are very engaging and well written. It's just that there is nobody specific whose story is more significant than others. There are some similarities to George R.R. Martin where you never know what's going to happen next and which characters is going to be killed off in a book. The emphasis is not only on one or two characters, but on many and their stories are equally important and fascinating.

What I loved about Fires of Man is that it emphasizes a lot on how war influences people, be it how the characters grow from kids to a man and then forced to develop into men to soldiers. I think that part of the story I liked the best. It builds tension where first there is a cold war and you know, even before it happens, that there will be a real one.

It's well written and the dialogue was very good, it seemed real and believable, even though it dealt with different worlds and with people with psionic powers. I also think that it would be suitable for the big screen, meaning that it was written in a way which created pictures, it's very visual in my opinion. It's like you get scenes of different situations and people and then it switches to a parallel story in the book.

Fires of Man gives a great start for the series. Well done!
June 28, 2014
I received this book from the author and Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock.
Fires of Man is the first book in the Psionic Earth series.
Calchis and Orion have been engaged in a deadly war for decades. Despite the relative peace that has been maintained for years both countries are still gearing up for war. Some humans possess a certain power, an internal gift known as Psion energy. This energy allows them abilities far greater than a normal human. Both sides have been using these people in the war. They take them from their home and life and turn them into deadly soldiers to be used. Aaron and Finn are such soldiers. Both are young men with this gift but find themselves on opposite sides of the war. Lines have been drawn and the war isn't over yet. Aaron and Finn must learn to rise up to survive or dead in this deadly affair where no prisoners are taken.
It was a thrilling beginning to this military scifi tale. The whole world was well crafted and you were immersed fully inside as soon as you read the first page. I enjoyed how the book was told from multiple points of view allowing the reader to see all sides of the story. Each character was unique and real facing everyday problems along with unique threats. Each character had their own quirks and perspectives. The story flowed along well. In the beginning it took a little while to sort out whose side who was on but it got easier as it went. I hated how the ending left you waiting for the next installment.
I recommend this for any scifi military fans out there. If you enjoyed Ender's Game you are sure to enjoy this novel.
I would rate this five fangs.
Profile Image for Tim.
1 review
June 14, 2014
It starts fast and ordinary, ends sharp and extraordinarily and only lets you catch your breath once or twice in between. This is a book with stories-within-stories and some very personable characters. This is a book that requires the readers’ attention, it is not one that you can just casually pick up and read one or two chapters at a time; try to do that and it will never make any sense.

I found myself getting lost in the emotions of the characters right from the beginning. The sights, sounds and feelings of the characters are put out there so well that your imagination can easily take hold and let you walk with them. It was just as easy to find myself in the middle of a desert battle using psionic weapons as it was standing in a park looking at cherry blossoms.

The only weakness is sheer number of characters and the way most chapters focus on a specific one. It gets a little tiring at times trying to remember the details of what last happened to this character and what the situation is with other minor characters. But like I said, this is a book that requires the readers’ attention.

In my opinion this is a very good book; a great start to what could be an exciting series.
Profile Image for Eric Bishop.
Author 12 books17 followers
July 17, 2014
Although I’m an avid reader, I only finish about half the novels I start. Some I’m done in the first fifty pages, while others I make a decision to continue around the halfway mark. No author is immune, I’ve quit bestselling authors I’ve loved previously. This novel I read and couldn’t put down, devouring close to half the first night. That said, it was an even bigger surprise because I’m not a fan of science fiction or anything with superpowers. Star Wars would’ve been far better in my opinion if Luke Skywalker had been killed by the sand people fifteen minutes in, leaving Han Solo to gallivant around the galaxy. Levinson’s characters are so vivid and fun, I couldn’t pick a favorite. Additionally I have never read a novel with this many characters where I didn’t get a little lost in the cast, trying to remember who was doing what. Not true here. Levinson writes male and female characters equally well.
I found the prose easy, fast-paced and vibrant with very few extra words or redundancies. The scenes were immersive and I can’t remember a place where the novel read slowly. Write on, Mr. Levinson. I’m looking forward to book two!
Profile Image for James Cox.
Author 60 books305 followers
March 13, 2016
Loved it! Great world building and characters. A lot of unresolved plot threads/questions though. Can't wait to read the next book!
Profile Image for Wendy S. Delmater.
Author 14 books14 followers
August 4, 2017
This stunning piece of military science fiction avoids the pitfalls of “take that hill” military-speak hoo-rah and delivers solid characters and intricate plotting. The shiny idea is that an actual war seems to have stalemated but has actually gone underground and is being prosecuted by soldiers with psionic abilities. The soldiers who carry out that war take “war is hell” to some truly uncharted territory. You follow the lives of soldiers on both sides of the conflict—some of whom are related—until they meet in a battle that made me want to read the next book in the series. I’m invested in the futures of these characters, and I am not even that fond of military sci-fi. Do you know how rare that is?

The world building is astounding. There are distinct cultures, cuisines, cities, languages, economies, and customs. It’s well-and-truly thought out alternate universe.

The central backbone of all this conflict is an ancient religion that melds the psionic abilities of the covert soldiers into conflicts of their world’s ancient past. And how it will affect their future.

Profile Image for Christie.
264 reviews11 followers
July 3, 2014
I was given a copy of "Fires of Man" by author Dan Levinson in exchange for an honest review.  Also, I'm participating in a virtual book tour hosted by www.myaddictionisreading.com.


"Fires of Man" introduces us to planet Earth.  The two strongest nations Calchis and Orion have been slowly starting to clash and a war is inevitable.  With the vast desert that separates the two, Calchis has intentions to destroy the desert and Orion.  Deploying their most destructive and capable weapon they have, they release Agent.

Agent, AKA John Black, is the most feared person on planet Earth.  There isn't much known about who this person is.  What is known is that from the age of 6 he was being taught by his father the art of war.  By the time of 7 he had killed his first person.  Discovering that he possess special powers, he is capable of moving at exceptionally fast speed and can burn a man to ashes with just his thoughts.  With all of these skills combined, he has earned a reputation and the most feared man.

Stockton Finn has been recruited by Orion.  The most unlikely person to ever be in the military, Finn struggles with who he has to become.  He's an introvert, shy, and lacks belief in himself.  He is being trained to tap into his powers to kill, but he deep in his heart he knows that there has to be another way other than murder.

Officer Nyne Allen has been recruited at a young age.  Now having been in the Psi corps for 15 years, he is starting to realize that he has missed out on some things in life.  When many of his fellow officers have families, Nyne doesn't.  He is still struggling with the shattered relationship that he had with fellow officer Kay Barrett.  He knows that he still loves her, but he also has to keep his attention on his job...but she is all that he can think of at times.

Officer Kay Barrett has had a tough life and she is set on trying to overcome the memories of her childhood.  Her brother had disappeared when she was a child.  Having been deeply affected by this, she resorted to destructive measures before being recruited into the Psi corps.  Then Nyne Allen came into her life.  He totally turned her world upside down, but being unprepared emotionally for a relationship, things were put on hold with her.  Now she focuses on being the best trainer in the military and make the soldiers become the best they have.

Aaron has been picked up by Agent.  He has the potential to be a powerful ally in the war.  It's just that he needs to work and tap into his powers that Agent knows he possess.  Basically being taken under the wings of Agent, he starts to learn what he is capable of, plus what Agent is about.  Only problem is that Aaron also believes that there has got to be another way to go about this conflict.  Destruction can not be the only answer to this.

Faith Santia is on an expedition and archeological dig in the northern Zenith.  The frozen lands is home to the Zenithian tribes.  With pyramids and mysterious artifacts being discovered, Faith is on a quest to discover the secrets of the people and of Earth.  Only problem that she is encountering is Dr. Durban.  With his hatred for Faith, he is out to sabotage her expedition and make thing impossible for her.

With everything going on between the two warring nations, it's all comes down to these key characters to who this war will turn out.  Will it be the mysteries in the northern Zenith that will help pull this war to one side or another?  Will it be the powers that some of these people possess that help win the war?  Or will there be another option to this war?


This was a great book that introduced so many interesting characters.  The author did a remarkable job creating each person and letting you get a great insight into what makes each tick.

Levinson also did a superb job in describing the planet Earth.  The way he created this new world and how he is so descriptive, you feel as if you are traversing the world yourself.  I found myself being wrapped up in more in what was going on in the northern Zenith than any more aspect of the book.

If you are into epic sci-fi books, then this would be an exceptional read for you to invest the time in.
Profile Image for Paul.
708 reviews63 followers
June 17, 2014
I liked the premise in Dan Levinson’s debut from the get-go. The idea that hostility exists between two huge countries based on super-human mental abilities really appeals. The thought that a cold war/arms race has grown up around gaining access to the previously untapped resources of the human mind is a great kicking off point for a science fiction novel.

There is quite a large cast of characters in Fires of Man. Initially, things focus on two psionics who have just come into their powers. Stockon Finn and Aaron Waverly act as our guides into the countries of Orion and Calchis respectively. Through them both Levinson has ample opportunity to explore their differing ways of life. As the narrative expands, chapters begin to include other people involved in the ongoing struggle.

In particular, I’d imagine the character of Agent is going to get a good response from many readers. Part of the Calchis intelligence community he is a psionic with what I suppose could best be described as sociopathic tendencies. Using the public persona of defence contractor “John Black”, Agent moves freely throughout the world using his business as a cover to complete the tasks set by his masters. Agent will do anything to get the job done, and I mean anything. He is the perfect weapon – driven, tenacious, critically minded and totally without any moral qualms when it comes to violence or killing to achieve a goal.

One of the most interesting things that struck me about Fires of Man is that there doesn’t really appear to be any proper villains (even Agent can be forgiven for being merely a product of never-ending conditioning and training). It feels like the author has left things morally ambiguous on purpose. In this war there is no such thing as black and white, only differing shades of grey. I liked that I could see good and bad on both sides of the conflict. It made things feel far more realistic.

Levinson has a writing style that is very easy to get caught up in. The shifts between the main characters keep the pace from flagging and also allows the author to explore every aspect of all the different cultures he has created. The attention to all the little details in the world-building are fun, everything from names of favourite beers to classical music get a mention.

This alternate version of Earth is in some ways very much like our own but in others it is entirely different. Though the two international superpowers of Calchis and Orion are the two most prominently featured societies my personal preference was for the chapters set in the land of Kaito. There is an Oriental flavour to their culture and their interpretation of psionic powers is far more inner-focused and spiritual than elsewhere. I’m a big fan of everything from the Far East so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that this aspect of the plot that I enjoyed most.

All the different races and countries featured have their own flaws and failings as well as strengths. This allows Levinson to touch upon many social issues and injustices that we’re all familiar with and draw them into the narrative. Religious intolerance, racism and class boundaries are all explored. The good news however is that these comments are presented in such a way that it gives the reader the opportunity to form their own opinion.

Overall, I enjoyed Fires of Man. There is plenty going on in the plot, loads of action and some nice unexpectedly thoughtful moments to round things off. I got the distinct impression however that there is a still a much bigger story waiting to be revealed. You’re left in little doubt that this is most definitely the first part of a larger series by the time you get to the final page. There is a narrative strand following a character called Faith and when her story ends in this book, things are still far from over. Don’t get me wrong though, I think the Psionic Earth series is off to a great start, I’m looking forward to the next book already. Now that the first skirmish is over, I can’t wait for the war to properly begin.
798 reviews17 followers
July 5, 2014
firesofmanIn a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in a covert war for global superiority. In the heart of Calchis, a powerful young psion named Aaron Waverly is kidnapped, and forcibly conscripted. To the north, in the capital, a plan is hatched to decimate Orion, to be carried out by the ruthless operative known only as “Agent.”

In Orion, fresh recruit Stockton Finn comes to terms with his incredible new powers, and learns firsthand how dangerous they can be. Meanwhile, officers Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett navigate the aftermath of their shattered love affair, oblivious to the fact that Calchis draws ever closer to destroying the tenuous peace.

Finally, in the arctic land of Zenith, Calchan archaeologist Faith Santia unearths a millennia-old ruin. This lost temple might just hold the hidden history of psionic powers, as well as hints of a deeper mystery . . . that could shake the foundations of all mankind

Sent to me by the author in return for a review. I have done an interview with Dan previously and it is here

Set in an alternative 2012, in an Earth equivalent, there is a secret war being waged, and both sides are training up their psionics in secret to launch a new attack. Aaron and Finn, recruited to their own sides - forcibly in Aaron's case - have to come to terms with dealing with their new powers whilst knowing that they will be used as weapons some time in the future. Both men have a feeling of isolation, Aaron because he has been physically isolated as part of his training, Finn because he is initially bullied in the training camp, and has to be extracted out to another facility for everyone's safety.

There are other strands to the story - Kay Barrett and Nyne Allen are both soldiers that are coming to terms (badly) with the fallout from their affair. It doesnt help that Kay's brother Tiberian has resurfaced after 7 years and seems to have defected to the other side. Nyne gets himself transferred an outpost (essentially Japan) to investigate whether they have any psionics themselves, and this makes him question what he was taught by his own government. Kay, in the mean time, has a rebound affair with Cole, who has been recruited by the mysterious Agent to help execute a plan to destroy the Orion training camp.

Meanwhile, Faith, an archaeologist hand picked by Tiberian, is investigating a pyramid packed in ice, but whose dig is interrupted just as she finds out something she still cant comprehend. Apart from the link to Tiberian, she has no other link to the psionics or what happens next, so it'll be interesting to see where her story goes next.

The last part of the book is the attack on the Orion training base, that is executed well, and demonstrates the heat of battle, where you have both psionics and non psionics fighting together. Damage is done, people are lost, and grieving begins. We also begin to get an indication of the significance of the Figure In Red.

Anyway: I thought this was a great first in a series, with all the main characters being well rounded individuals, with some being placed in difficult situations. Training didnt get bogged down in too much detail, and some people might be disappointed with that, but I thought it was pitched at about the right level. It would have been too easy to make everyone like Agent (the cold, calculating, agent of death), but this brought that even experienced soldiers are still human.

Would easily consider reading the next book in this series (at least!).

Published by JollyFishPress

Additional information about Dan and his books can be found at the interview done previously on my blog (nordie.wordpress.com)

Profile Image for Jessica.
1,161 reviews80 followers
September 11, 2016
It's been quite a while since I carved out a block of time to read a Science Fiction Epic. Once upon a time, these were a regular part of my reading regime. It's the huge worlds that are built, the ample amount of characters that come to life on the page, and the stories that feel bigger than anything I could imagine, that keep drawing me back into books like this. What caught my eye specifically about Fires of Man, was that it dealt with psionic powers. Imagine the ability to harness the energy around you, and channeling it to perform amazing feats. Summoning balls of fire in your hands, creating personal shields, and even throwing a person across the room without ever touching them. It's hard not be caught up in the idea of that. Which is why, quite honestly, I wanted to get my hands on this book.

It bears mentioning that it took me a while to become invested in this story. Fires of Man is told from multiple points of view, and it felt a little jarring to be shuttled back and forth between so many minds. What I liked about this, was that I had the ability to see the war from both sides. Levinson includes characters from the two camps of this war. All of which have their own flaws and vices. It was nice to see these characters through the eyes of others. The problem was, at least for me, that there were a lot of them. If I counted correctly, there are 7 different people to follow in this book. That's tough for anyone to keep track of.

The other issue with this layout, was that not every story overlaps. While the good majority of these characters at some point have converging stories, Faith's felt completely out in left field. She was the only character who had any resolution, not counting any who may have met gruesome ends, and so I when I reached the conclusion of the book I was confused. Did her story have a point here? It's possible that she'll make a comeback in the second book, thus making it necessary for her to be introduced here, but I don't know. For now, she felt out of place. Add in the fact that I felt the ending to be rather abrupt, and I was left feeling a little lost.

What this book does well though, is the storytelling. Fires of Man is rich with descriptive writing, drawing the reader into the world that Levinson has built for this psionic war. While most of the settings are similar to our world, they take on a life of their own. I found myself intrigued by the idea of two separate groups of psionic warriors, two sets of people who have unlimited power, as the only thing stopping the other side from harming the rest of the world. It's a large concept, and one that I'll happily follow.

So although I had a little bit of trouble with the way this story was presented, it definitely captured my imagination. I'm happy to have been introduced to Dan Levinson's writing, and I can't wait for more!
Profile Image for Marissa Pedroza.
Author 1 book8 followers
July 8, 2014
Fires of Man is a blend of Sci-Fi, YA and Dystopia. If you like any of these genres, then I’m certain you’ll enjoy this novel. This novel takes place on an earth-like planet and the story unfolds through the view point of many characters. For me, the best part of the novel was the Psionic abilities and techniques that the soldiers were trained in.

The possibilities were endless as far as where this series could go in regard to a war between nations using psionic powers. For both of the nations, Calchis and Orion, you delve into the story through the eyes of various characters. One of the things that bothered me was that there were so many characters and background stories, that it was easy to loose your way. You never got a clear understanding of why Calchis and Orion are at war… was it politics, border disagreements, evil vs. good… it is hard to decipher because you are given the viewpoints of both sides and neither of the sides seem wholly committed to a way of life - they do however, seem committed to being prepared and winning the imminent war.

The pacing isn’t consistent, there were parts of the novel that seemed to drag slowly by. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, but in my humble opinion it does not leave you with an unfinished novel. I personally hate it when a novel in a series does not have a contained plot and I have to go to the next novel to see what happens. With Fires of Man you do get a complete novel, but it ends in such a way as to make you question reality (kind of like the Matrix).

This is book 1 of the Psionic Earth series and I am looking forward to the next edition. Would I recommend this novel? Absolutely. Although it is a little wordy, Dan Levinson is a good storyteller and has painted a future that looks somewhat like Star Wars (but without the space travel & Wookie). There is subplots of romance and the training (or warping) of young minds in an attempt to harness their psionic abilities. The later half of this novel is spot on and the battle scenes do not disappoint. I would read the next edition because I want to know… If this is earth, what happened to all the countries that currently exist? Who are the indigenous people, and are they our descendants? How did man evolve into beings with pscionic abilities? The plot is persuading enough to make me want to delve further into the new world of Psionic Earth.

Profile Image for Conal.
316 reviews9 followers
August 9, 2016
I received this book as an ARC copy from the author.

I was excited to read this novel as I am a big fan of stories that encompass mind powers along with plenty of action and wasn’t disappointed in this aspect of the book. The author crafted a well designed story that effectively uses psionics by the characters. The story is set in an alternate Earth but the technology, social activities and entertainment all seem to mirror the current western and eastern societies of Earth in the 2010’s. It details the conflict between the two current major powers (Orion and Calchis) of the planet and the on-going struggle for supremacy.

It contains a lot of characters that are each detailed in separate chapters regarding current activities. These characters are well written and I found myself interested in each one. My belief was that the author would add some convergence to the character stories being told but I was disappointed in this. The characters (at least in this first story of the series) stories never really overlap and even those who have some connection seem to be written to separate them from those they already know. I can say that this did lessen my enjoyment overall in the book.

If you have issues with the above, I would probably wait for the series to finish before trying this. As I am already engaged, I will probably continue as they come out.
3.5 stars for a good story.
Profile Image for Ally Shields.
Author 25 books482 followers
August 10, 2016
Fires of Man is the first book in a scifi war series by Dan Levinson, and I can't wait for him to publish the second. Epic science fiction stories aren't hard to find, but the Psion stories are a worthy and unique addition to the field. The author knows his craft, combining a smooth writing style with a flare for story-telling, an interesting fictional world, and characters you'll care about.

Two great nations currently in a cold war standoff are on the brink of open warfare. Both have amassed and trained secret specialty units of psions, those humans with the ability to manipulate reality, delivering death and destruction with their minds. Into this landscape are dropped a cast of fascinating characters, including two young men who are both reluctant warriors; a long, lost brother; a woman afraid to fall in love; a soldier who believes there can be a better way, and a robotic-style human killer named Agent. But what I found the most unique is that likable characters are presented from both sides of the conflict, forcing the reader to root for the characters rather than the cause.

The only complaint I have is the book ended on a cliff hanger, and I wanted to know immediately what happened to each of the characters!

Fires of Man is fast paced and reads quickly. Highly recommended. Well worth your time.
July 16, 2014
A page turner-- can't wait for the next installment! As a "Trekkie" (from the original 1960s Star Trek series, not the other "generations"), this was a great read for me. Unlike the simplistic, monochromatic extra terrestrial cultures of many sci-fi stories, Levinson has crafted a complex, multi-cultural world in The Fires of Man. However, it should be noted... this is present day Earth, somehow familiar-- yet an alien, alternate world nonetheless.
The book is beautifully written with characters that are fully fleshed out and true to life--psionic powers not withstanding. Levinson does an excellent job of portraying female characters who, like their male counterparts, feel the ravages of war. Characters-- and countries-- for that matter, are neither evil nor good; but rather shades of gray along the spectrum of good and evil.
I did enjoy the literary device of chapters devoted to single characters. Although the thread that connects the characters is not fully explored in the first book of the series, I suspect the thread will be tighten in the next two installments.
This is an imaginative, well written novel that would translate well to the big screen, in my opinion. Until that happens, I'm eagerly awaiting Book 2 of the series.
Profile Image for Bennett Reiss.
34 reviews
February 3, 2016
Fires of Man is engaging from start to finish. As a person who loves history, follows international relations and global news - the author, Dan Levinson does a great job in creating a world which seems to mirror a modern reality of nation states. The two major powers in the book, Calchis and Orion remind me of the US and China, or perhaps the US and Russia. While there are other nations mentioned and introduced we still do not know too much about them from the first book, but the seed has been planted which makes me look forward to the future books to learn more about the world the author has created. The characters draw you in and you yearn to know more about their past and where their POV (point of view) stories are going. The Psionic powers they employ are a unique creation by the author in which select elite can channel their Psionic ability into almost magical attacks and defenses. The Psionic powers almost mirror secret technologies in the real world which can both protect and destroy. All in all its a great book which introduces a world which I feel I enter as I read the book. I only wish I could explore more of the world Dan Levinson has created and I look forward to the future books.
11 reviews
April 21, 2015

The book was decent, if not playing on some cliche parts. It was....well rather interesting. It had a lot of cool stuff (powers and crap!) and some other sweet goods all in the package of the book.

1. Finn thinks-(drafted into elite program to hunt traitors or whatever) Oh no, what if I hunt down my love (don't even remember her name), for no reason AT ALL. *ahem ahem trying to forecast the events of her turning rogue which is totally gonna happen once he gets rekt* then he gets rekt, she gets mad that no one will ever find out what happened (terrible reason if you reading the book)
and she....TURNS DAMN ROGUE!!!

(Basically. The 2nd book isn't out yet but he made it WAY too obvious).

Uh, the bully who bullies Finn=weak build/base.

Agent=A more unique character.

Uh, the archaeologist and that weird elite guy who works for Calchis with a sister in Orion=Both cool, personalities and stuff are great :)

The last two. Meh.

So, I know this is a terrible review, just wanted to throw my thoughts together and write this..


Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?
Profile Image for Ann Meyers.
Author 1 book14 followers
July 25, 2014

Fires of Man takes the reader on a whirlwind journey into a world governed by people who have control over their psionic powers and those who don’t. There is a war going on – not only between nations, but it’s good vs. evil. Each side wants to recruit as many people with magic as possible in order to gain the upper hand. And the bad guys don’t care how they do this.

The story is fast-paced and is a quick and entertaining read. The success of Fires of Man does not rely purely on its magical or fantasy element, but on the range and diversity of the characters themselves. There are quite a few ‘main’ characters, which is at first disorienting, but each one is well-defined and thought out with strengths and weakness that weave into and around each other in a mystical and intriguing dance.

Dan Levinson seems to be laying the ground for something huge and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Profile Image for Teri Harman.
Author 17 books127 followers
June 30, 2014
I grabbed this book off my nightstand one morning, not wanting to get out of bed yet, and started reading. It grabbed me so powerfully that I ended up staying in bed much longer than I should have. Honestly, though I've watched a lot of science fiction, I haven't read that much. But I'm so glad I read this one. It's complex and intelligent, so well written, and a thrilling ride from beginning to end. I loved the multiple character point of views and how the science fiction world felt rooted in ours and yet unique to itself. A well conceived plot and emotionally driven characters make this novel a must-read.

And this is the first book in The Psionic Earth Series, so lots more to come from author Dan Levinson.
Content note: Moderate use of foul language, including the F-word, sexual references and a couple slightly descriptive, short sex scenes, moderate violence.
Profile Image for Nicholas Rossis.
Author 20 books115 followers
September 18, 2014
One of the best books I've read this year. If you like sci-fi with a paranormal twist, then you'll love Fires of Man.

I'm a prolific reader, having bought over 100 books in 2014 so far. Hands down, this was one of the top ten. Heck, one of the top three. Everything was perfect, from the concept to the writing to the characterization. The main story arc (a cold war flaring up) was presented through a myriad subplots, each narrated through the eyes of a different character. They all had their own motives, fears and hopes; from the chilling villain to the child Messiah. One could not help but empathize with them, eagerly reading on to find out what happens to them.

Fires of Man is the first book in a planned series of five. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next installment in the series. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for R.K. Emery.
928 reviews32 followers
November 12, 2015
An explosive start to a new Sci-Fi series. Dan Levinson manages to draw readers into his world and captivate us with his writing and characters. I think my main praise for Levinson would be his ability to use vivid descriptions to make the reader feel like they are in the world with the characters.

Being that this is the first in the series, there is a lot to wrap your head around. I loved the way that he is able to introduce us to all of the new places and things without us feeling bogged down with detail.

A smooth plot that keeps readers engaged throughout really rounds out the writing for me.

This is the first in a series and we have a bit of an abrupt ending, but I'm definitely looking forward to what comes next.
Profile Image for Dalene.
482 reviews12 followers
July 22, 2014
First, I would like to thank the author Dan Levinson for giving me this book for an honest review. I enjoyed reading this story. The world building is great. The story-line is very good. The characters are well developed and written. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Profile Image for Ariel Heller-sabet.
1 review1 follower
July 22, 2014
This is the kind of book that you want to read during every spare second of the day. You feel for each and every character as you race through his or her story in the hopes of satisfying your craving. Fires of Man not only pulls you in, it keeps you in its grasp until each and every plot twist is revealed. I will not feel complete until every person I know has read this book.
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