The conclusion to A Psilent Place Below finds Dirck and Creena in shock as they realize they missed the entire point of their shared veridical dream. Their oversight results in a treacherous situation where their father, Laren, is ambushed by Integrated forces and charged with treason. He's immediately sentenced to permanent exile and placed onboard a spacecraft that will deliver him to the galaxy's prison planet, Bezarna, a blackhole from which there is no escape.
Refusing to accept the situation, Creena is more determined than ever to uncover cristobalite's secrets as a means for bringing him back. When Deven discovers yet another crystal that can bend time hope returns, but their joy quickly turns to horror as Integrator commandos discover their cavern sanctuary and they have no choice but to flee to the Clique base at Apoca Canyon. Using their latest discoveries, they risk contacting Laren which succeeds. He relinquishes command of Clique forces and directs them to accept his fate.
In spite of what he told them, however, he has discovered the exile vehicle's dirty little secret which he hopes to exploit so he can return safely to Cyraria. Using his c-com he hacks into the ship's systems but his intrusions are discovered which infuriate his nemesis, Augustus Troy, who decides to exterminate everyone onboard in a matter of minutes. Bryl's connections to Esheron reveal some surprising information that may help Creena and Deven, who still haven't given up as a race against time ensues, not only to save their father but their own lives as well as the Integrator closes in with the ultimate weapon.
The first book in the Star Trails Tetralogy, "Beyond the Hidden Sky", is free on most online sales channels which you can find here: https://books2read.com/u/bOr8j0
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Marcha Fox was born in Peekskill, New York and has lived in California, Utah and Texas in the course of raising her family.
Her passion for science fiction began as a child. While her first stories were written in 6th grade describing her teachers' planets of origin, her determination to write seriously in that genre knew no bounds, such that she went back to college in her 30s to obtain a bachelor’s of science degree in physics. After graduation she spent over 23 years working in the aerospace industry, most of which was at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas where she held a variety of positions including technical writer, engineer and eventually manager.
Science and engineering experience notwithstanding, it’s the unexplained mysteries of the cosmos, such as psi phenomena, time travel and the concept of a universal consciousness, which fascinate her the most and provide the setting for her Star Trails Tetralogy. Centered on the Brightstar family who has been torn apart by a storm of political and scientific intrigue, they will stop at nothing until they are reunited.
She is currently retired and living in the Texas Hill Country.
Refractions of Frozen Time by Marcha Fox is the fourth installment of the Star Trails anthology. It’s one of those unique compilations in that each story is able to stand alone without the assistance of the others, and therein lies the magic. The Star Trails Tetralogy followed the journey of the Brightstar family as they were scattered to the farthest ends of the galaxy trying to avoid the manipulations of the evil Integration program. We watched Merapa Brightstar take a stand against the terrible trio of Governor Woeyel, Augustus Troy and Rohtik Spoigan, having to flee from the persecution of his noble Ledorian Order. His struggle anticipated the plight of his children Creena and Dirck, who abandon their own plans for self-fulfillment in finding their father and joining in the struggle against the evil empire. Now we’ve come to the turn in the road, and all we can hope is that it leads to more Brightstar tales from this prolific sci-fi novelist.
What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill space operas is Fox’s experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a ‘what-if’ perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon. Devenite and its chronoviatic properties may allow the Brightstars to travel through time and change the future. Yet Merapa chastises Dirck in pointing out how mankind would end up destroying its own destiny, forcing outcomes while forsaking the natural order of things in the process. How many times do we look back at what might have been, not realizing how much better off we are according to God’s perfect plan? Life is full of choices, but if our choices are preempted by those who act for the greater good, we may find ourselves ultimately having no choice at all.
It’s something to consider, and definitely a book all sci-fi fans need to check out. For series followers, the addition of Professor Denale and Eulon Argo are my dark horse bets as major players in the cataclysmic confrontations ahead. Pick up a copy of Refractions of Frozen Time by Marcha Fox and treat yourself to a visionary adventure you won’t forget.
As the fourth and final book in the series Refractions of Frozen Time a fitting end to the struggle against INTEGRATOR. I have been drawn to this series since the first book and have quickly become a Marcha Fox fan. She integrates actual science into science fiction, creating worlds, customs, and life forms outside the world we live. Her creativity and imagination never fall short but always leave me wanting more.
In the final book we see Laren Brightstar arrested and on a one way ship; destination Bezarna- a black hole. His children Creena and Dirck, work overtime to come up with a solution to save him, but the forces and time are against them. Their hiding place and recent home have been discovered leaving them no other option than to vacate whilst their younger brother Deven has just made an awesome discovery. Each character has been carefully crafted and developed. As a reader I enjoyed watching the children develop and grow from bickering teens to collaborative young adults.
The suspense builds from chapter 1 as the Brightstar family fights against all odds along side allies and friends they have found amongst their journeys. The evil Troy and Spoigan create havoc as their goal is geared towards the destruction of the Brightstar family and anything that represents “good”. The final climax had me shivering as the forces of dark and light came hurtling together into an unexpected and shocking end.
Writer, Marcha Fox takes us on a fast-paced adventure through time and space in The Star Trails Tetralogy. Strong themes of family unity, genius, loyalty, and tenacity drive the action in all four books. The story involves the Brightstar family from the planet Mira III. When Laren Brightstar, the patriarch of the family, is arrested, his wife and three children are caught up in a drama that will affect each of them on every level of their being. The Brightstars rely heavily upon their Miran logic, but in this final book, Refractions of Frozen Time, nuanced ideas concerning personal integrity and karmic responsibility are explored and tested. Once the Brightstars realize the greatest power they possess is already within them, everything changes and possibilities they once considered impossible come to pass.
Marcha Fox is a good writer transitioning into an excellent writer and Refractions of Frozen Time is the pinnacle of her published efforts at this time. Scenes are vivid and I can see these books being made into movies. I enjoyed all four books, but Refractions of Frozen Time is my favorite Fox book so far…
This last installment in the series is my favorite of the four! The peril is heightened so the suspense is, too. I love seeing the threads from all the books come together, and the climax is so amazing and unexpected, I kept waiting to hear a huge pipe organ chord! Wow! I love this family and how they all grow in unexpected ways, even when facing death. This series has made me remember why I love science fiction--it stretches my brain in mind-bending ways and opens new ways of seeing the universe. Thanks to the author for a great read and a wild ride!
The Star Trails Tetralogy is the classic story of good versus evil seen through one family’s struggle to reunite, an endeavour that draws in a number of lonely souls along the way. The three Brightstar siblings are the young heroes of this story and, as they observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling. It’s when they break old habits in order to survive the hostile planet they must now call home that they open their minds and hearts to the mysteries of the universe and achieve the incredible.
This is a beautifully written story, developing themes of loyalty, tolerance, understanding, and patient study. As I have alluded to in reviews of the preceding stories, the thoughtful pace is broken up by moments of intense excitement, but the narrative has to be savoured and enjoyed for gems like this, “...a vast and abrupt precipice, the sheer sides a trickle of motion...” Each character makes a discovery, about themselves and their friends and family, except for maybe Deven, the little boy, who intuits everything in the most lovely and unassuming manner. I so want to see what he gets up to when he’s older. The more alien characters are equally fascinating and the subtle hints of their background cultures enrich the story with depth and colour.
Finally, author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science in an interesting and original way. The detailed world she creates is genius, so well thought out and crafted and sci-fi fans who love properly developed cultures backed up by hard and well understood science will devour these stories. The quiet thread of an entity stronger than either individual or corporation runs throughout this series and I believe reflects many faith systems once semantics are put aside with its impact only fully understood in the uniquely fitting and uplifting climax.
I highly recommend this series for adults and young adults.
(I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
I really liked this book! It reminded me a little of Timothy Zahn’s ‘Star Wars - Thrawn Trilogy.’ The Brightstar family have helped to form a rag-tag alliance of multi-cultural rebels (robots, alien bugs and vegemals!) against a planet-dominating conglomerate of men who are evilly ambitious. I think the evil characters, especially Augustus Troy, were my favorites, because I liked that they were these ambitious middle-manager types, but their ‘corporate initiatives’ involved genocide.
In order to defeat these villains, the Brightstar children and their diverse ‘Clique’ of friends have to think their way through a whole world of complicated problems. Much of the struggle revolves around ‘intelligence.’ Either analytical intelligence from scientific data, or ‘SIGINT.’ It’s cool to see a space sci-fi book play up the importance of monitoring (or cloaking) signals and energy signatures, because this would obviously be a very important aspect of any conflict in space. Unfortunately, the Brightstars are faced with figuring out another source of intelligence—or destruction. Both the good guys and the bad guys are racing to understand how to harness psi energy for their purposes. It’s a powerful quantum force that could locate, listen to, or kill a sentient being, instantaneously, from lightyears away.
So very big stakes! At the same time, some of the Brightstars’ more ‘questionable’ allies have secrets in their pasts that might draw them closer, or may rip the family apart, just when they need each other most!
I purchased the Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set, but am reviewing each book in the series as I finish reading. This was the last and I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes learning a bit of science, while they are following great characters through the trials and tribulations of their story.
I think each of these four books could stand alone, but felt fortunate to be able to get the box set when it was introduced, for the price of one book. If you haven't had the opportunity to read any of the other books, The Brightstar family continues to fighte against an evil, power-hungry consortium, which wants to strip individuals of free choice and free thought. In this series, the characters and science mainly drives the action. And, aside from the Brightstar Family, there are many great characters. Troy, a main nemesis is even understandable, but some of my favorite characters are intelligent aliens, many of which are not humanoid. For instance, throughout the book, Thyron, a clever poetic plant with psychic abilities was one of my favorite characters.
I look forward to reading more of this author's work.