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The war to free post-apocalyptic Earth from the grasp of its oppressors slips into uncharted territory as the fully restored race of the former ruling barons are reborn to fearsome power. Facing a virulent phase of a dangerous conflict, the Cerberus rebels prepare to battle an unfathomable enemy, as the shifting sands of world domination continue to chart their uncertain destiny....
As their stronghold becomes vulnerable to attack, an exploratory expedition to an alternate Earth puts Kane and his companions in a strange place of charming Victoriana and dark violence. Here, the laws of physics have been transmuted and a global alliance against otherworldly invaders has collapsed. Kane, Brigid, Grant and Domi are separated and tossed into the alienated factions of a deceptively deadly world -- one from which there may be no return.
by Cerberus Man
Refuge is beyond bad. Refuge is awful. Refuge stinks. Refuge is third season Star Trek TOS terrible
Refuge is the "Spock's Brain" of the OL series.
Refuge would be a wretched book in any series, much less as an entry in the classic OL series.
The whole premise is poorly thought out and absurd to the point of being stupid. The main characters do not act like themselves at all, they're just names stuck on to people who are in this book. They could be anybody. My feeling is that this was an unpublished manuscript by Milan that he rewrote over a week to make a deadline.
I won't mention the childish plot since that's already been covered, but there's no chance a book this fundamentally stupid and poorly conceived would have ever been produced by the series creator, Mark Ellis.
The sooner Victor Milan is off OL, the better. It's apparent he not only doesn't care anything about it or even doing a professional job, but he's deliberately trying to wreck the series.
A Butt-Pull Bonanza!
Instead of this review leading up to my final opinion on Refuge I’ll put it right up front and work backwards, with no punches pulled:
This book is a complete loss, unbelievable, it is silly, boring, and undoes all the right steps Milan made with his previous OL book, Successors.
It is also a Bonanza of Butt-pulls, full of ridiculous stuff he made up that has no connection with what has been established in the OL series for so many years.
After four previous books, three of which overflowed with continuity and character errors, the only conclusion I can come to after this fifth novel is that Milan is just a lazy writer and just doesn’t give a damn. This is something I’ve never said about any OL book but I will about this one:
It just outright sucks. It is terrible.
The basic plot of Refuge is this—for some reason, Lakesh (once again called Dr. Lakesh instead of Dr. Singh) gets a bug up his butt about the Overlords coming back and decides they need a place to run to in case it happens.
He decides going to a parallel world makes more sense than Thunder Isle (which has already been mentioned in earlier books as a possible Alpha site) or the Moon base or even Ireland where they have allies.
So Brigid, Kane, Grant and Domi pop into an alternate world without questioning him about it. How do they get there? Its never explained.
A vague referenace to the mat-trans is mentioned, but there is not single solitary word of explanation about how such an interdimensial journey is accomplished!
That would be like on Stargate SG-1 if in an upcoming episode they decide all of sudden without any background about the operation, the gate is now a time-machine too. Ridiculous? Yes. Lazy? Definately!!
Out of all the silly butt-pulls that have appeared in Milan’s OL novels, that particular one was the ultimate, the absolute zenith of butt-pulls.
The parallel world they travel to is very much like the kind of worlds in steampunk s.f., where technlogy never advanced beyond the 19th century. You’d think dropping the Cerberus warriors into a setting like this would be kind of cool and interesting, but its handled so clumsily and confusingly you never get a clear idea of the set-up.
An alien race of intelligent reptiles (called “Reptoids’) have invaded Earth 20 years in the past and have set up their own colony. They’re not like the Anunnaki, instead they’re closer to the good old Sleestaks from Land of the Lost but they’re about as scary and menacing as the Geico gecko.
Within a couple of pages of the group’s arrival on this alternate Earth, Grant is apparently murdered. Then Kane, Brigid and Domi and taken into custody by opposing factions and seperated for the entire book. Nobody seems too upset over Grant’s death. They seem more annoyed by it than grief-stricken. Nobody spends any time mourning or angry.
Brigid expresses a little bit of worry about how they can ever get back to their home casement, but since there’s never any explanation about how in the hell they managed to leave it in the first place, you can’t understand why she cares.
There’s a very weird comment on page 106 about an experimental interphaser Brigid “had carried in her back.”
Disguised as a hump?!?
None of the characters do very much on this steampunk Earth except let themselves be pushed around by the various factions, going to parties, meeting one uninteresting character after another and listening to long boring explanations of how the technlogy works and its history.
This has to be one of the least-action and adventure oriented of any so-called action-adventure book I’ve ever read in my entire life. Trying to finish this book, I found myself nodding off at the sheer boredom of the narration.
Brigid ends up in a place like Victorian England, living in the land of Gloriana, hanging out with stuffy British characters who all have double-barreled names like Sir William Miles-Burnham.
Gloriana is ruled by a standard issue bleep queen named Queen Fiona I, who is so over the top evil, she makes Baroness Beausolile seem like a complex character.
Although Domi doesn’t act like a psycho-slut in this book, Milan turns Brigid into a soft and dewy-eyed heroine from a historical romance novel, all enraptured by court intrigues and going to balls, dancing with dashing soldiers who have mustaches and sideburns.
Brigid does a lot of primping, pining, whining and screaming, letting herself be pushed around and used. This Brigid Baptiste is the absolute exact opposite of the fast-thinking and resourceful Brigid Baptiste of Evil Abyss and Children of the Serpent.
As for Domi, she’s a nasty little brat who shows her maturity and cunning by sticking her tongue out at the queen and pulling childish pranks like setting off stink bombs at social functions. I didn’t blame them for smacking her around.
By the time this book at long last stumbles to a pointless conclusion, one of the characters tries to blame the whole mess on Colonel Thrush, but since the Anunnaki didn’t have any thing to do with shaping this particular Earth and it was revealed in Children of the Serpent that Colonel Thrush was Overlord Enlil all along, how can there be a connection? Huh?
Everybody ends up reunited and they return to Milan’s version of the “Axlerverse’, but once again there’s no explanation of how they did it.
Refuge is a terrible book, worse than Uluru Destiny and I can no longer find it in myself to give Milan even a few points for making an effort.
This book is about nothing, it’s slow-moving and boring, it has no point, everybody is hopelessly out of character, there are no memorable characters featured like Catamount or Benedict Snow and nothing new is introduced.
If you want to compare Refuge to the Lost Earth Saga, Mark Ellis extended himself to come up with a plausable seeming way of how the Cerberus warriors could travel to alternate Earths. He had respect for his readers.
Milan apparently has none for the readers of his OL novels, since he couldn’t be bothered with anything even approximately like an explanation, plausable or otherwise.
He might as well have said they got to this alternate world by rubbing a magic lamp or clicking the heels of ruby slippers together.
I don’t even understand why he set this piece of crap in an alternate world in the first place. There was no reason to go in that direction at all, except to say that this entire book from beginning to end seemed to take place an alternate world, barely resembling the OL world the long-time readers know about. So it was about alternate world Cerberus warriors going to an alternate world. d
There is no way this book could be considered part of the official continuity of the OL series.
In my opinion Milan should be ashamed of pushing Refuge on us OL fans. It is a complete waste of money, time and effort. Although One Eye Chills gave Refuge a high rating on Amazon, he did it only because of his pyschotic resentment of the “OL-Only” club. He’d give an OL book written by Osam Bin Laden a good review as long as Mark Ellis didn’t write it.
In the past I’ve tried to find some good in all of Milan’s OL novels as looking at my reviews of his previous books will show. But with this one, where by rights he should’ve only improved, he lost any sympathy or support for me.
Refuge rates one star and if I could figure out to insert a minus-sign , I would.
All I can do now is look at the cover for Rim of The World, remind myself its by Mark Ellis and keep my fingers crossed for the return of the real Cerberus warriors and not the lame-ass fakes from Refuge.
Couldn't even finish it!
What a load of crap!
I have read stuff written by a 10 year old that made more sense than this load.
From this point forward I will never even purchase a book written by Milan the Loser even if it means my collection of Outlanders / Deathlands will be incomplete.