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Publisher's Summary

Janae and Ken are part of the remnant of humanity which lives in Dome 17, surrounded by the radioactive, toxic wasteland of a dead Earth.

The leadership of the dome has sent out adventurers to explore the other domes, but all they have found are failed domes, and deadly ruins.

Some of those adventurers have self-terminated upon return from those grueling missions.

Only Dome 17 survives, but now, Dome 17 is facing its own failure.

Looking to history, they come up with a plan to try to find the seven lost generational colony ships which left Earth a century before. Those ships had biomes filled with the flora and fauna of Earth, as well as people who would live all their lives inside those ships. However, the colony ship program was considered a failure. Nothing is known about the condition of those huge ships, but they might offer a possible way to save the people of Dome 17. If they still exist. If they can be found. If the people can somehow get to one of them.

The Committee designs a plan using two unproven technologies, faster-than-light scout ships - which can only carry two people - and teleportation.

Will this attempt to find one of those colony ships work? What will be found? And, what threats are waiting, both from Dome 17, and from the Colony Ship Trailblazer?

Janae and Ken set off to track down the Trailblazer, but will they find hope, or more death and destruction?

This is book one of the Colony Ship Trailblazer series, another exciting sci-fi adventure set in John Thornton's Colony Ship Universe. A parallel series to the Colony Ship Eschaton, the Colony Ship Vanguard, the Colony Ship Conestoga, and Battle on the Marathon.

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Thornton Starts a New Series!

Any additional comments?

Several weeks ago, John Thornton arranged for me to receive a sample audiobook from his collection. Mr Thornton has been very productive. He told me he has produced 18 audio books already (and maybe more by the time of this writing). The book he supplied me with was titled: “Tracking The Trailblazer”. With it, Mr. Thornton starts a project that feels a little like he has created his own private TV show, and that’s probably not far from the truth. He’s established a cast of characters, and a scenario that can play out in stand-alone installments while expanding a larger story line (Earth is ruined. Bio-domes will soon fail and their inhabitants find they are running out of time. A desperate mission sends a man and a woman in a faster than light craft to catch up to a colony ship launched many years earlier. If the team can board the ship, they can assemble a teleporter, and the inhabitants of the bio-dome will be able to escape Earth and start life over on the colony ship, where they could be part of the human race that actually has a future).
The team sent on the mission consists of a man and a woman. What they find when they arrive on the colony ship is not what they expected, and the novel is about their contending with the sudden challenges they face. I don’t want to give away any of the adventure here. It’s a short book.
I’m very limited in my knowledge of Sci-Fi, but my guess is that fans of Larry Niven’s Ringworld and the original Star Trek might like this series, especially if the books stay short. I liked the characters well enough, including a host of individual AI characters. I liked the scenario over-all. I did find some story events that I strongly disagreed with, but that’s the luck of the draw.
A stand out of the project for me was a scene where the two humans meet a security detail of helpful AI. Mr. Thornton does an EXCELLENT job of presenting an AI that appears to want to be helpful, who appears to offer helpful suggestions, but who is never moved one iota from the agenda it wants the humans to comply with. The exchange came across as completely authentic and strangely chilling. I didn’t know how the characters could possibly advance past the security detail, and I was tense while I listened.
The voice artist is Sylvia St. James and she gives a complete and full effort - her performance offers good basic reading, occasional accents, (including robotic AI) and impassioned delivery - though sometimes a little too impassioned for my tastes, (She seems like a pro. I wouldn’t be surprised if she adjusts as the series continues).
I have pros and cons about this novel, but with 18 audiobooks under his belt and with a new franchise starting, Mr. Thornton is absolutely getting things done. If you are in the mood for some light sci-fi, consider giving the series a read.

Thank you,
-- Rik Ty

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  • CAP
  • Alabama
  • 12-07-17

Post-Apocalyptic Meets Space

This was an interesting take of a Post-Apocalyptic world where space travel becomes necessary. A woman finds out the truth about the people in power, and she has two choices. Do what they want, or die. She reluctantly goes on a space mission, away from the Dome on earth, the last surviving dome with human life, in search for a space station that has the potential to hold them all. Time is short. The bio-dome her companions are in is failing, and they need somewhere safe.
My biggest problem with this story is the dialog information dump. The author has a creative world set up, but cannot find a way to trickle pieces of information about the world we're in throughout the book. A lot of times it's done in dialog, overheard dialog, or over the top dialog. A lot of the time, I can't see these characters talking in a history lesson sort of way when they all know the past already. It doesn't feel natural. That aside, the world building, situations and the characters are a lot of fun. However, with this one, don't expect a perfectly happy ending.

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Narration could be improved, but okay overall.

Earth's environment is toxic and Dome 17 -- home to more than a thousand people -- will soon be rendered uninhabitable. After becoming unwitting pawns in a malicious plot, two adventurers from Dome 17 set off in search of a colony ship where they hope to find aid in saving the inhabitants of the failing Dome. Aboard the behemoth colony ship our travelers discover a culture full of strange customs and technology. Can the people of Dome 17 depend on these two adventurers for rescue before time runs out?

Tracking the Trailblazer was my introduction to John Thornton's body of work. I hope someday to start at the beginning and work my way through each series. But for now, I was able to enjoy this title without knowledge of the content from the preceding series sets. My only suggestion concerns narration; Trailblazer's narrator spoke in a somewhat monotone, robotic manner for the duration. While this type of narration could be intentional, I've personally found that a natural, more conversational tone can create a relaxed listening atmosphere that fosters increased comprehension. Overall, Trailblazer remains a clever, enjoyable scifi adventure title.

I was provided a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for my unbiased review. Many thanks for this opportunity!

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  • Norma Miles
  • 11-12-17

They deserve the truth.

John Thornton's Colony Ship world centres around seven ships sent from earth over an hundred years previous when it became obvious the the earth itself was dying. The ships, hopefully, would eventually find new homes for the colonists who, meanwhile, were given habitats within which to live out their generational lifetimes. For those left behind on earth, comes were built to protect them from the ever more toxic and radiation laden atmosphere. But the domes have been dying and only one is now known to survive: Dome 17.
With news that even this Dome is doomed to fail in a few months, a plan is formed - to send out two people teams, one to each of the seven Colony Ships, to see if one would be a suitable home to take the Dome 17 survivors, a plan made possible only because of technology developed since the launching of the ships.

Tracking the Trailblazer is the first of the books about one of these attempts to find the new home. As with each of the other series books, the first section is dedicated to explaining the situation and introducing the couple who will be embarking on the perilous journey. But this time it is different, with more discord and sinister undertones which makes all far more intriguing especially for anyone who has followed the Vanguard and Eschaton attempts, and the two main protagonists, Ken and Janae, are also unusual in that they do not have the close friendship of the earlier adventurers. For this reader, this was the most interesting of the series world so far.

Unfortunately, although her voice is clear and seemed to fit with the female character portrayed, narrator Sylvia At. James read with little expression: excellent when portraying the computers but not so good for humans. Janae especially sounded robotic when not throwing emotional fits. There is an excellent production section, however, some three quarters of the way into the book, in which an event is given with full crowd soundings as well as a distant announcer to the masses. Sadly, this is an isolated event.

Overall, a good S.F. adventure with a very intriguing subplot, not all of which is fully explained, and with reasonable characterisation for the two main protagonists. I have already purchased book two. But if new to the Colony Ship world, do not start with the Trailblazer - try, instead, Finding the Vanguard.

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  • Layla
  • 11-07-17

Space opera adventure.

I liked the description of this book and thought I'll give it ago. I have to admit that the characters really annoyed me at the beginning but I liked them more towards the end. They changed in how they talked and acted to each other towards the end, but I liked them more for it.
There is a few twists and turns and I kept wondering what is going to happen next. There was enough mystery and suspense there to keep you listening/reading the book. It ends on a sort of cliffhanger. I am hoping the author has a book two coming out soon. I want to know what is going to happen to the characters now that they know things they didn't before. My one negative is we don't really know why ken picked that paricular ship. Even Jen questioned it yet we don't get an answer. It was one of those things that stayed with me after I finished listening to the audio book.
There is violence, no sex scenes but there was a lot of innuendos.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.