The first four books of the series constitute an interconnected tale covering the hero’s activities as they learn of the rise of a new Taryn (their problem to be solved) and the various difficulties they encounter, decisions they have to make and dangerous adventures they have to survive over the following weeks as a result.
In each of the books additional story threads beyond the main hero’s are pursued on an as needed basis to carry on the tale. These additional story threads provide many opportunities for foreshadowing, to provide the reader foreknowledge in order to amplify the tension and a steady supply of compare and contrast situations. Whether the contrasts or comparisons are between individuals, lifestyle choices, species or the various problems of life in general the net effect is to provide an enormous amount of depth and entertainment value to the Planet Sarnia series.
First group of four books:
Book 1 — “Welcome to Sarnia”
The first book literally serves as an introduction to the planet Sarnia with life on the world explored primarily from a Terran perspective. The core four hero’s are returning from another journey across the frontier to the Stoney Peninsula and the towns and cities inhabited by their fellow Terrans. As the hero’s resolve various problems and dangers the reader is provided an interesting and entertaining education as to the realities of life on Sarnia.
The reader will also have the opportunity to compare life in a fairly comfortable city close to the Nu’homish administered spaceport with life in smaller towns scattered across the Stoney Peninsula inside the Terran Preserve boundaries or with life across the frontier far out in mid-continent. Not only will the reader be offered the opportunity to think about where he/she would live on Sarnia, but they will also be faced with issues about the wisdom of collaborating with the alien conquerors of Sarnia. And if they would choose not to do so, just how does one live ones life given the realities that exist?
At approximately the quarter way point the primary opponent for the hero’s in the first four books is introduced. A new Taryn has risen amongst the Golden Sarnians living across the Yenisey River from the Terran inhabited areas. The rest of the book relates how the hero’s decide to respond to the new challenge, come to grips with the fact that a high percentage of those who join the party will die in the process of killing the Taryn, go about recruiting the additional members required according to a plan Lionel has devised and the various problems and dangers that arise as they assemble. Mixed into the tale’s action is a steady stream of character building, concerning party members as well as a wide selection of additional characters, including some aliens, that the reader learns about. The final section of the book is a ‘pass in review’ as they cross back over the frontier and begin the approach to Taryn’s Hall, their destination.
Book 2 — “Through the Hills”
The second book picks up two mornings after the events of WtoS. The tale of TTH is on one level a straightforward road story. The party led by Lionel has left Terran inhabited lands and is marching by a circuitous route cross-country to Taryn’s Hall. The party encounters a steady stream of problems and dangers; things that they successfully deal with as they reach Roaring Gorge, the crossing point over the Yenisey River and where they will begin their final approach. In addition to the plentiful action, the tale provides the reader with a steady stream of character building about all manner of individuals on Sarnia.
On a separate level the depth of the tale steadily deepens as the initial tale expands beyond the personal level. As the party progresses the reader will learn a great deal more about life in any number of Terran inhabited locations. The many supporting threads of the tale, particularly information about the various alien races also present on Sarnia, provide multiple opportunities for the reader to compare and contrast. Who are we? What are we like? It will also be possible to begin to answer questions such as: Who are they? What are they like? There are also multiple opportunities to wonder about why it is we humans value courage so much.
Nor are the husband and wife team of Rhys and Li Na quite the clear-cut hero’s initially described. There is a great deal to learn about each of them. Information each reader will have to process and evaluate for themselves as the Planet Sarnia series as a whole unfolds.
By the end of TTH, Lionel’s party has successfully crossed the Yenisey River and is preparing to make the final approach to Taryn’s Hall. The first casualties have been suffered and the muleskinners that were to quietly return to Rangers Cliff after the crossing at Roaring Gorge have been ambushed and the survivors scattered.