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Children of the Serpent
After 4000 years, the kings return to claim their kingdom: Earth
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Teaser:He is a being of inhuman evil, a melding of dragon, myth and machine. He is Lord Enlil, ruler of the Overlords. As the barons evolve into creatures infinitely more dangerous than the egomaniacs who once ruled from the safety of their towers, Tiamat, safeguarding the ancient race, is now the key to the fruition of their plan. Kane and the Cerberus exiles, pledged to free humanity from millennia of manipulation, face a desperate -- perhaps impossible -- task: stop Enlil and the Overlords from reaching the mother ship... and claiming Earth as theirs.
The Dragon Awakens
The nine hybrid barons -- mysterious oligarchs who ruled the fortified cities that emerged after Armageddon -- are no more. Gone, not by the civil war fought by a courageous band of exiles, but trapped in a web of evil 4000 years in the making. As Tiamat, a living, sentient ship, hovers in orbit over Egypt, the nine Overlords of an ancient civilization are reborn. The planet Nibiru will live again on Earth, and humanity will be enslaved, or die.
Serpent of Evil
He is a being of inhuman evil: a melding of dragon, myth and machine. He is Lord Enlil, ruler of the Overlords. As the barons evolve into creatures infinitely more dangerous than the egomaniacs who ruled from the safety of their towers, Tiamat, safeguarding the ancient race, is now the key to the fruition of their plan. Kane and the Cerberus exiles, pledged to free humanity from millennia of manipulation, face a desperate -- perhaps impossible -- task: stop Enlil and the Overlords from reaching the mother ship... and claiming Earth as theirs.
Back in the late 80's there was a comic book series written by Doug Moench called 'Electric Warrior'. The thing I most remember about the series was a point five or six issues in where the entire storyline was turned on its ear, and the character you had assumed was the title character turned out not to be. All at once everything that had happened previously was cast in an entirely new light, and it made for a very memorable and enjoyable read.
With 'Children of the Serpent', Mark Ellis pulls of the same trick times ten. All of the pieces of the puzzle from the previous 32 books fall into place, and with the arrival of Tiamat they create a picture radically different than anything previously suspected. Others have mentioned how this book makes a final break from Deathlands, but that doesn't really tell the tale. By the end of this book the events, people, and locales of Deathlands have no more bearing on Outlanders than the the history of citrus farming has on my own daily life in Florida. It's not that it didn't happen, it just isn't relevent.
But how is the actual story? In a word: fantastic. High action and adventure, exotic locales, stunning plot twists and character revelations, appearances from old allies and enemies; you name it, and if it's good then this book has it in spades. My only criticism is that the book ended, and now I have to wait six months to find out what happens next.
A daring book!
The first word that comes to mind about Children of the Serpent is "daring."
It’s not every ongoing series, especially one that has been published as long as this one, that explodes a bomb of revelations in the reader’s faces and basically starts the whole thing anew without actually starting it anew.
Mark Ellis’s writing is exceptionally vivid in this book, and some of the more violent passages made me wince at times. His imagination is roaring at full speed in this book.
Overall, Children of the Serpent is colorful and at times an almost over-the-top tour d’ force featuring everything that has made Outlanders one of my favorite series for so long.
The main cast of characters are presented sharp enough to cut yourself on and even the villains have understandable motives, if completely self-serving .
Another excellent element of this book is its use of supporting characters. The previously faceless Manitius Moon base people in the redoubt come to life in several well-dramatized incidents that give them personalities. We get to know them, in both their flaws and their heroism, making it truly poignant when they meet gruesome fates.
The plotting of this book is fantastic, and like Talon and Fang and Hell Rising, the action transpires in multiple places (on Earth and off) encompassing a number of characters, yet the writer keeps them all clearly drawn even in a story packed with revelations.
The story has the classic OL elements of humor and pathos, military tactics and science-fiction, mythology, high adventure and an unrelenting sense of impending doom from on high unless the Cerberus warriors can find a way to stop it.
All the characters work on different levels. In particular, the one frequently underused character who finally receives some real development is Balam.
From a standard “Roswell gray”, Balam is presented as figure with the guilt of an entire race upon his shoulders but also with a surprising depth of courage, sympathy and even an appreciation of human humor. His exchanges with Kane are some of the more memorable passages in the book.
Although Children of the Serpent has its share of graphically brutal carnage and violence, the story itself is about true heroism, and individual duty to humanity as a whole.
More than just another book in the Outlanders series, Children of the Serpent is in my opinion, may very well be one of the best in the entire run. If nothing else, the way all the long-running mysteries and plot threads are revealed and tied up is brilliant.
My previous enthusiasm for Outlanders (which has waned over the last year or so, mainly due to substandard fill-in entries like Awakenings) is now completely restored!
The best? Could be!
This was hardest Outlanders book to review because in many ways it may be the BEST OL novel to date and that's really making a big claim.
Children of the Serpent is classic OL, right down to the return of Balam, exotic locales, and a sadistic mega-villain but it also ties up a lot of loose ends (like who is really the father of Quavell’s baby) and blazes trails in new, unexpected directions.
It’s one of the most cinematic of all Mark Ellis’s many books in the series and I could easily picture every scene...it would make a great multi-million dollar movie epic.
Finally explaining about the hybridzation program and revealing the true identity of Sam the Imperator was a bold move with probably the ultimate blending ancient mythology with science-fiction.
Another bold move was breaking away from the set-up of the barons and the villes, but in my opinion, this move deserves the highest praise. It not only provides a new background for the Axlerverse, it also makes Children of the Serpent a surprising and very memorable read.
To add Balam to the storyline for the first time in years to close up gaps was another brave move on Mark Ellis’s part. Yet, it worked out and was a pleasant part of the story which balanced out some of the more unpleasant parts, like with the fate of Quavell, a scene that still chokes me up.
There are many elements to Children of the Serpent which make it great, including the chilling introduction of the Overlords and the dead-eyed Nephilim, the terrifying arrival of Tiamat the Sumerian Chaos-Mother, and the blazing, explosive battle at the end.
Of course all the characters are spot-on, the dialogue among them is great and the ingenuity they show made me want to applaud a couple of times. The situations the Cerberus warriors find themselves in this book would put the DL group of posers in therapy for the rest of their lives.
The core group of Cerberus are portrayed as a mature, intelligent, capable and fast-thinking heroes, almost the complete opposites of the way they were written in Uluru Destiny. Brigid figuring out how to do something with an Annuannaki computer when Balam couldn’t was a classic scene!
Mark Ellis took a lot of chances with this book by going into more solid science-fiction territory but he still remained true to the spirit of the original OL.
Instead of allowing this series to stay as stagnant and predictable for years on end as another series I could mention he has charted a new and what seems like an exciting new course for the Cerberus warriors.
That earns him my praise not only for this great book, but for being a gutsy and innovative author. Chidren of the Serpent is a great novel for many reasons and one that everyone who likes fast-paced, exciting action-tales featuring intelligent heroes and heroines should pick up
I can’t wait for the next clash between the Cerberus warriors and the Overlords!
Pretty freaking fabulous
I've skipped the last few OL novels, turned off by Awakening and books like that.
Children of the Serpent restored my faith in the series. It might be the best one. I thought it was a fabulous adventure story full of everything that made OL my favorite series for so long. I was fascinated by the way all the loose plot threads were tied up. It proves that when Mark Ellis is smokin', nobody can touch him in the area of fast-paced action.
Why Outlanders isn't a movie or TV series is beyond me.
An outstanding entry
by Cerberus Man
Years ago, after reading "Exile to Hell", the first Outlanders novel by Mark Ellis, I quickly learned that his books were to be looked forward to with great anticipation.
“Children of the Serpent” is no exception to this rule. It’s truly an outstanding entry that makes me wonder all over again why Outlanders isn’t one of the top-sellers in the science-fiction field. (Maybe it would help if Gold Eagle actually advertised it somewhere except in the backs of its own books.)
Like I’ve come to expect from a Mark Ellis Outlanders novel, "Children of the Serpent" has an intriguing and exceptional plot; engaging bits of humor, writing that is very true to characters; and so much more, all of which is delivered in great style.
The basic premise is of revelation; the true backstory from the Program of Unification to Balam’s real agenda is finally revealed and the Outlanders mythology turns in a new and fascinating direction.
And I couldn't be happier!
This book features a very serious and gripping story, action-packed, but also showcases Brigid, Kane and Grant and the other Cerberus warriors so clearly that they do not seem like characters in a novel. They come off as very real; they feel fear, anger and they get hurt, both physically and psychologically.
“Children of the Serpent” is a great story and a major turning point in the so-called “Axlerverse”. It’s definitely worth the time of the few readers who may still not have fully experienced this great series.
The OL where everything is reveiled- at last!
Ok so I have been reading OL novels for a few years now and have enjoyed the mix of post-apocalyptic and alien conspiracy fiction. I had dicovered the series through it's predecessor Deathlands.
Whilst DL was a book series of it's era, the Cold War, it had stagnated somewhat during the mid 1990s. Into the fold came Mark Ellis. He revitalised the basis of the series, expanding it further than just a post-apocalyptic series to that which included a deep darker reason for the Third World War. Aliens!
Using references to past cultures, myths and legends, he created a universe that is thrilling and yet also intellectually based. The use of exotic locations and fast pasted action scenes made the series enthrawling and a really good adventure series. All in all, the way the series had progressed was brilliant, explaining DL mythology and creating some of it's own.
However, with the release of this novel comes, to me, the end of an era in the series. This book wraps up the loose ends of the series and explains in plain English the events the came to pass to create a world as it is in the 23rd century. From the ancient Annunaki- Tuatha De Danaan conflict to the current Annunaki attack.
The writting quality in the books, is the quality that I have come to expect for GE novels in over time, good stories, just bad continuity and grammar. If you manage to get over this, however, and let the story line thrill you, you can really enjoy this novel. A great read.
The bad point of this title, however, is that with it's release come the closure of OL's alien conspiracy theme. That which I had enjoyed for so many years. Now it seems the series may turn into just another sci fi series where Humans fight aliens for their own survival. I may well read a few of the following titles but mainly I have finished with the Cerberus saga now. The richly written characters will live on in my imagination, but I can't read another novel, written by a 'fill in' author, where the character description is off and the characters are not what they used to be.
So, in conclusion, a great novel probably one of the best- just the end of an era!
‘The ship was not of Tiamat but was Tiamat and three thousand years was only a breath in the span of her eternity'.
I was hooked on this novel when I read the first line of the prologue and by the time I was in the mddle of chapter one I knew the anticipation for Children of the Serpent was not hype!
Even for a die-hard fan of the OL series like me, this book is an exceptional gem. Its a showpiece for the talent and imagination of Mark Ellis who can make an eight year old series seem fresh, exciting and brand new again, generating enough great new ideas to carry OL for another eight years—or eighty!
The very first page grabs your attention and sets the stage for the enthralling, action-packed and tragic tale that reveals the real story behind the creation of the hybrid barons, the program of unification , Sam the Imperator and the Anunnaki Empire of ancient Sumeria.
In Children of the Serpent, Mark Ellis has skillfully taken the complex amount of material established in 32 previous novels of the OL saga, simplified it, explained it and still managed to spin a spellbinding and fast-moving tale that clarifies all sorts of mysteries, inconsistencies and small details such as why the Imperator chose such an ordinary name as ‘Sam”.
Best of all, it all makes perfect sense!!!
Ellis absolutely nails the all characters we long-term readers have come to love, which comes as no surprise since he created them all. They all show very human qualities such as fear and humor and even heart-ache, but they’re also presented as heroic and intelligent people who aspire to free the human soul from tyranny. They would no more think of murdering a child than they would think they could breath underwater.
Not only with this book does OL seem to make a final break with DL and soar into bright new territories, it also makes a final break with the kind of low-life scum GE has allowed the DL characters to degenerate into. With Children of the Serpent the Cerberus warriors have NOTHING in common with the DL cast—Thank God.
The tone and pacing of the plot is perfect and keeps the reader mesmerized up until the final page, following a blazing, explosive MAJOR battle of the kind never seen in the OL series before!
Theres a great scene between Brigid and Kane right before the climatic battle that shows the deep feelings between the two of them but also symbolizes why the time isn’t right to act on those feelings.
Speaking of symbolism theres also a very moving bit with Philboyd explaining to Kane the meaning of the American flag, both past, present and future.
Children of The Serpent ties up very nicely sub-plots that have been running for years but its not necessary to have read earlier books to completely enjoy and appreciate the story in this book. Even with all the revelations, this novel is full of high adventure and introduces a fascinating new group of adversaries…hint—the Overlords and their soldier-servants, the Nephilim, make the barons seem about as dangerous as the Village People.
Children of the Serpent is a phenomenal story in and of itself and a fabulously entertaining way to wrap up all these years worth of plots and kick into a new, and judging by this book more exciting phase of the Outlanders saga!
Serpents of Change
by One Eye Chills
Why on Earth is this series NOT on the bestsellers list is way beyond me.
But nevertheless, Mark Ellis again shows us how he continues to grow as a writer, both in world-building and characterization of his awesome series.
As he id in the duology Talon and Fang and Sea of Plague - Ellis goes even further here and presents us lucky readers a glimpse of the series seemingly new turning point.
Major changes abound here in Children of the Serpent, closing some unanswered mystery questions of the last 31 books, and creating a new dynasty of Annunaki Serpent Kings that are now ruling the new world order.
Mark Ellis, I gotta hand it to you. This is not only bold and brave, but very interesting. Now the loyal readers have to deal with major change, and new readers can always follow along this new storyline path. The question is...will the old fans like the change? Most likely with Ellis at the writing helm - most likely.
I for one like the 'feel' of the change here. It is good to have closure of a sorts, a cleansing, so to speak. Now, I feel like this series can be even more of a star-spanning sci-fi/action/adventure series like none other out there.
Hell, it really already is. But this new direction is really gonna be fun to explore.
The only reason I didn't rate this a 10 is because of some of the obvious weakness's I spotted in the overall plot. And also this was chock-full of editing mistakes. From words being in reverse order to using the wrong word all together. I can ignore 1 or 2, but the whole novel was riddled with it. (Editing Dept needs to wake up a bit here.)
The glaring problems I read here was the obvious mis-use of all the newly-changed barons. There were over nine newly-emerged overlords with new powers here, along with their newly-made armored Nephilim. When they had the main three Outlanders where they wanted them - outnumbered and out-gunned - they don't even put up much of a fight. Kane and company seemingly get away much too easily a couple of times here in this novel. With large lizard men with extraordinary powers are there, along with robotic-like ASP blasting coldhearts - how can three under-armed people get off with merely sratches and bruises?
No, I'm sorry, but with nine powerful barons just having supposedly turned into bigger, meaner creatures - with a small army of near-indestructable armored warriors - they could have made mince meat of our illustrious heroes.
And without having a bargaining chip at the time, it was glaringly obvious that all the sepent kings were doing nothing, except for Enlil-Sam. In fact, he seemed the only one to be battling it out with Kane and group. Why was that? You have a maniac woman like former baron Beausoliel now a more powerful sepent king called Lilitu, but she does nothing along with the others as the companions escape quite too easily.
But other than those small problems, Children of the Serpent was a tremendously delicious and never boring read. Chock-full of exciting and even alien locales, Tiamat was awesome and should have easily taken care of Kane and Grant in their TAVs. Even if the weapons systems were not online, it could have easily outrun them until they were on. Just to let the enemy inside without a fight was a little too convenient.
But there were many things to keep the reader inthralled, especially finding that the world of the Outlanders that we have come to know - is ever-changing into a newer, and hopefully even better world to explore.
The stigma is gone
First and foremost, let me state that with this entry in the ongoing Outlanders saga, the series has finally removed the shackles that bound it to the ultimately inferior storyline that spawned it: Deathlands.
Gone are the barons; gone are the traipsing and stench of a series that should have been laid to rest years ago, instead of rotting into something that is vile beyond belief.
In a nutshell, the series has received a rebooting, so to speak. Plans set out thousands of years before have finally come to fruitation with the arrival of the massive living ship, Tiamat.
This begins a change in the hybrids, specifically the Barons, Sam, and the Quad V hybrids.
The old god-kings and their personal soldiers have been reborn. Enlil, supreme leader of the Annunaki and the council of nine are back to reclaim their previous kingdoms.
So much so that they've abandoned their old Baronies, seeing them as totally useless in the schemes they have planned for the world.
That's the plot in a nutshell.
In this novel, the reader is given - very clearly - the emotions and the reactions of the main characters. There is no longer any reason for authors other than Mr. Ellis to ‘misinterpret’ how a character acts or reacts.
Domi isn’t a sex-crazed maniac. Grant isn’t Kane’s yes Man. Brigid Baptist isn’t a motherly member of the ‘ya-ya sisterhood.
Each character shines in their strength and weaknesses in the novel, and more than ever do you see the friendship and the feelings that exist not only between the main characters, but the supporting characters like Bry, Philboyd and even Decard.
Respect is shown, and it’s earned. It’s not demanded among the characters.
With the massive changes that have taken place in this book, things are no longer what they might seem. Old enemies might become allies. Entire vistas can be explored in a way that they couldn’t with the old series.
Once again, it’s all because of the severing of ties with the founding series.
With each new novel written by Mr. Ellis, the reader will see how he originally intended to write the series, but due to formulas and rules, he wasn’t able to full exploit.
I just hope that he’ll stick with the series, or if and when he finally does leave, that GE will have enough foresight to bring in a writer who’ll continue on in the tradition that Mr. Ellis is setting up with it, instead of using staff writers who’re only interested in receiving a paycheck, instead of putting the effort that the mythology and universe that Mr. Ellis created deserves.
The other reviews have said it all. I just want to add that the last half of this book are the finest most exciting I have ever read in an Outlanders nove!!
A Harrowing oddessey into a reborn reality.
I used to remember when I was a kid, how disappointed I got when I picked up a team comic book, and on the cover, they announce EVERYTHING CHANGES!
Those changes were either small, or only temporary.
This had no such false advertising on the cover. And wow. The changes are dynamic! The world suddenly becomes smaller, the Villes are stripped of the Baronies, and the hybrids themselves become something fantastic.
Of course, other bits are touched upon here in the changes among the Cerberus warriors. We are reminded of how much Domi has grown (at least when she's being written by someone who cares). We see the closeness of Kane and Brigid, and the true depth of their emotional closeness. Lakesh has shone in his growth over the series as well, and we get to see the amount of respect he and Kane have grown for each other, without Kane dismissing it under suspicion of manipulation.
But the Overlords, and the Nephilhim, and their sheer power and magnificence as villains, has vaulted them from minor, flimsy annoyance (whereas previously the hybrids needed Magistrates to be a physical threat to Kane and company) to something dark, powerful and ominous.
The section of the book that takes place on Tiamat is as epic as any in the series so far. The flight of the Mantas to Tiamat, in its description, was magnificent and dynamic.
The final battle? Likewise.
If anyone had tried to make this book into a movie, you'd need at least the same budget and excellent effects teams as three or four episodes of Stargate Atlantis or FarScape, and about the length of a Peter Jackson film to get this novel to the same scale as it plays out in the imagination of the reader.
Truly a fantastic book.
by The Phantom
This book is a major event in the overall story arc of the OL series. From the beginning, in Exile to Hell, Kane and his friends begin to discover the tip of the iceberg about the presence of aliens and a history of humanity and alien that goes back thousands of years. Here in Children Of The Serpent, is the story of the return of the Annunaki overlords to reclaim earth.
This is a good entertaining episode in the OL series, but what seperates this book from the norm, not just from OL, but from the standard boundries that Gold Eagle sets for their many action series. Mark Ellis has taken his series to many exotic lands, far out places, super high technology, both modern and ancient, and has a wide variety of interesting and memorable villans. Children Of The Serpent kicks this up another notch. You might say it tips over the apple cart.
In this book we see the Barons, who have been part of the storyline since book one, are no longer what they once were. They are now something much more. Sam's true self is revealed at last. The fate of Quavel and of her baby is revealed. Who the barons were and have become is revealed. The return of the Annunaki mothership, and what it is, is awesome. Balam plays a major role, and everyone in Cerberus will eventually have to work together to face the new threat of the Annunaki return. This is a book where a lot happens in the resolution of the story arc, and it is entertaining along the way, with Kane's infiltration of the mothership, the adventure in a giant temple in Iraq, a final battle at Cerburus, this is one of the best books in the series yet.
If you are reading any books at all in the series, this is one title you don't want to miss!