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!