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Dark ArchetypeThe calculated new bid for planet Earth by the Supreme Council has changed the face of war for the Cerberus rebels. As the enemy's avarice invokes total damnation of the human race, the battle plan now extends far beyond disarming a group of power-hungry god kings. Now it's a fight for survival against powerful interlopers-fully prepared to finish what they started eons ago....
Radiant EvilBuried deep in the Mayan jungle amid a civilization of lost survivors and emissaries of the dead is an artifact that hides secrets to the prize-planet Earth. In sinister hands, it guarantees complete and absolute power. Kane and the rebels have just one chance to stop a rogue Overlord from his furtive grab for glory, but it means joining an unholy quest with an old enemy in a race to stop the skull throne from revealing answers to malevolent factions.
How many ways can I explain the awesomeness that is Skull Throne? From the flash-bang opening with Cerberus Away Team Alpha in Pakistan (including a visit from our old friend Decard from Mask of the Sphinx), through the jungles of South America, and right up to a rousing climax within an ancient Mayan pyramid, this book crackles with energy at every turn.
The action throughout the book is varied and exciting. Giant battles against hopeless odds with high tech weaponry? Yup. Up close and personal battles with nothing but primative tools? Yeah, that too. Beautiful princesses, ancient civilization, high technology disguised as artifacts... it's all there.
I am being deliberately vague, because there are just too many fun surprises for me to spoil them here. Suffice to say, the book is high adventure at its finest and stands proudly with other classics of the series like Tomb of Time and Mad God's Wrath.
Another classic from Mark Ellis
The other reviewers have covered Skull Throne from the point of view of a ten year annivesary book, but as someone who is a Mark Ellis fan first and foremost, I want to point out that his readers won't be disappointed by this book in any way!
He does a wonderful job of presenting the rhythm and "voices" of the characters we've been reading about for a decade, but there is also the tight plotting and and humor that his readers are used to-- in particular the scenes in the city of Harrappa and the grueling trek through the Amazonian jungle.
Mark Ellis brought all his strengths as a writer to this novel and proves that in his hands, the Outlanders series is one of the most enteraining and readable series on the market today.
Excellent ten-year mark
Whether you're a longtime fan of Outlanders or a newcomer, this excellent novel is as good as any in the long-running series.
Longtime fans will love all the little background details with the return of Sindri and Crawler, while newcomers will find themselves caught up with the CAT-Teams, the Overlords, the Nephilim and the quest for the mythical crystal skulls.
Mark Ellis does his usual masterful job of portraying high adventure, mythology, action and vivid locales as Kane, Grant and Brigid embark on a Indiana Joneish mission to the lost city of Xibalba.
It's all a great read, and Mark Ellis has such command of the material and characters he created that Skull Throne smoothly flows from the page into the reader's imagination.
Every detail feels pitch-perfect in this book. The heroes are heroic, even if they're flawed and the villains are menacing, although a couple of them aren't quite as villainous as they first appear.
Ixchel Fawcett, the heroine of the novel is beautiful and sexy like you'd expect in an Outlanders novel by Mark Ellis, but she's also intelligent and resourceful.
Skull Throne is packed with intrigue, action, colorful characters, a vivid setting, and all in all is a great adventure in a great adventure series.
It's an excellent book to celebrate the ten year mark of the Outlanders series!
Happy Tenth Birthday, Outlanders!
by Cerberus Man
Skull Throne is a classic, a fast-paced and colorful thrill flight that careens from the deserts of Pakistan to the jungles of Brazil.
All the regular cast members are front and center, including the very cool Cerberus Away Teams! I love this idea, of surly ex-Mags and the nerdy Moonbase émigrés becoming the Cerberus version of Special Ops.
The entertainment value of Skull Throne is exceptionally high, which should come as no surprise since it is written by the series creator, Mark Ellis…not only that, this book celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Outlanders series and it does all the books preceding it proud.
The story kicks off with a great Indiana Jones/Stargate style opening that introduces (or reintroduces) Overlord Nergal, seeking a crystal skull hidden in an ancient tomb in the city of Harrappa.
This section of the book is full of explosive, military SF style-action in more ways that one!
Then the story moves on to the main plot, that involves the return of the cunning Sindri, this time with the crippled doomseer, Crawler in tow. They have their own agenda, which also involves crystal skulls and trip to a very strange village in the heart of Amazonia, where the people have Mayan first names but very proper British surnames!
The “babe” of the book is Ixchel Fawcett, a beautiful Mayan priestess who leads the Cerberus crew, Sindri and Crawler on a dangerous quest through the jungle to Xibalba, the so-called Land of the Dead.
As usual with a book by Mark Ellis, Skull Throne is very well written in all respects, and he does a great job crafting a very intelligent, entertaining and even epic story. It is full of unexpected twists, turns and very funny dialogue. The final scene, a brief one between Kane and Brigid shows the depth of feeling between the two of them without becoming sappy.
Mythology, history, violence, military SF action and great characters are blended to make a memorable, spectacular novel, the perfect ten-year birthday present for the fans of the Outlanders series.
It’s been a long time since I read a book that I could recommend without hesitation and Skull Throne is definitely one of them.
If you're a fan of Outlanders, or just quality SF in general, the only reason not to buy this book is you’ve either gone blind or broke!
10 years of high adventure.
Skull Throne marks the 10th anniversary of the series Outlanders. Who knew that a spin off series from the original Deathlands would not only have made it this far, but gained such a varied and - at times - a very rabid fan following?
I remember when I picked up the first novel, Exile to Hell. At that time I was a fan of Deathlands, and read the novel with a great deal of trepidation. I didn't really, at the time, know what to expect.
I remember that I was disappointed at how the Deathlands had evolved, the whole idea of semi-divine Baron's now controlling the Deathlands, the return of a sort of civilization and the iron fisted rule enforced by the black armour clad Magistrates.
Little did I know that I was going to become a staunch defender of this series that I originally didn't care for.
As with most series, I typically give it three or four books to get the feel and decide if I'm going to continue to read it or not.
I am most glad that I stood by my self imposed rules. To this day, I haven't regretted it.
I found that the characters rapidly grew on me. They were human, flawed, but heroes none the less. They had conflict with one another, but when it came down to the crunch, they could rely on one another in life and death situations.
Most of all, they cared for each other, even if they didn't show it often.
The sign of a great writer is when the reader can relate to the characters, feel for them when they are in pain, cheer for their triumphs and - most importantly of all - watch them grow and evolve.
But, that's not the only reason I kept buying the novels as time progressed. As I have stated in reviews, in private, and on public message boards, there are several other very important reasons I kept reading.
Exotic locations; sexy, intelligent, strong female characters; villains who are not only interesting, but you want to see return; and mythology seamlessly woven into the series.
But, most of all, Sexy female characters! Sex sells, and I'm a sucker for a pretty face and a bright mind.
Skull Throne embodies every single aspect of the points that I brought up here, and in many of my previous reviews. The novel is set in not only in India, but South America and deals with the Crystal Skulls, the reborn god Nergal, a young, beautiful physical embodiment of a goddess, and best of all, a well loved, long missed villain. Yes, a villain.
Best of all, the friendship between the main characters is stronger than ever, and they have grown yet again. Kane has taken on the mantel of leadership for the exiles and they have created a whole new away team, the C.A.T. teams. I'll leave the reader to discover more about these teams on their own. All you need to do is read it.
And, the return of a character that means a great deal to me in the first 50 pages as well.
Ten years of global, dimensional spanning adventure with dynamic character that change and never stagnant.
Thank you, Mark. Thank you.
Like so many other books in the Outlanders series, once you start it, you can't put it down! Skull Throne is a spellbinder!
It's a great entry in the series but makes me anxious to read more...after 10 years, thats quite a feat for any writer of such a long running series to pull off!
In some ways Skull Throne is a celebration of everything that has made the OL series so entertaining for so many years but it also marks a kind of new point of view.
I loved The Cerberus Away Teams idea...can't wait to see more of them!
There are treks through jungles and giant crocodiles, pursuits, evil villains, bloody battles and attempted rape, murder and treachery.
Mark Ellis's action scenes are so vivid that you swear you are right there.
So theres not much I can add but to just say that Skull Throne is a GREAT book among many other GREAT books!
Never a dull moment
by The Phantom
With a return of Sindri, what's not to like with this novel? Here we have another outstanding adventure in the series, this time taking place in the Pakistan area to kick off the story, and later in South America. The imagery in this book is one of my favorite aspects of Skull Throne, with exotic locations and a blend of modern and ancient structures and lands, as well as characters.
This novel features the Overlord Nergal and his crazy schemes. No surprise, since he was once the crazy Baron Sharpe. Even his old sidekick, Crawler, is one of the main characters in the novel. Kane and his friends are in the middle of another thrilling adventure, with good characterizations and science-fiction adventure. The plot involving the skulls was very cool, and the action keeps the pages turning, with a good plot twists at the end. Great stuff.