Series: DarkTrench Saga #3
Published by Freeheads, Enclave Publishing on February 1, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Speculative, Fantasy
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Having escaped the storms of Betelgeuse and the schemes of Jannah's inhabitants, Sandfly and HardCandy make their way back to Earth. They have a message to deliver. A society to free. And A A3 is with them. Their mission is simple, and just. What could possibly go wrong? Unexpectedly, DarkTrench drops into normal space. He is malfunctioning, wounded, and the only people who can fix him are still hundreds of light years away. Sand and Hard scramble for a solution while catastrophe hurtles blindly toward them. They reach Earth to find a different world, an unexpected domain. One they can no longer connect with. They are stranded, hopelessly separated beneath a wasteland of death and a planet of rules. Debuggers amidst a cloistered community. Ultimately, Sandfly is alone, and Earth's freedom relies on him and his newfound faith. But does his mission even matter anymore? He's a misfit, and a throwback. A symbol for all that's evil. Perhaps he's the last freehead?
In early 2011, I picked up the first two volumes of the DarkTrench Saga at the suggestion of few other reviewers whose reviews I trust. I was not disappointed. Unfortunately, I never came back in late 2011 to finish the series. The Superlative Stream was by no means a bad novel, but it didn’t resonate with me the way the first installment, A Star Curiously Singing, had. But eventually, I found myself drawn back to the Saga and into the concluding novel Freeheads. As the concluding volume of a trilogy, I do not recommend you read this novel before reading the preceding books. In truth, this is not a series of adventures, but is rather one big story told in three parts.
After the debacle in Jannah, Sandfly and HardCandy barely escape and make their way back to earth. Only because of the their speed and distance of travel, they come back to a world many years in the future from when they left. One even more under the rule of a futuristic religion that makes no qualms of presenting itself as Islam. And it’s into that world that Sandfly and Hardcandy must take the message the A~A3 is a God Who Stoops.
The whole Muslim-endtimes story has tried to be told as a political thriller (and in my opinion, did not work), but Nietz repaints it in vivid, futuristic, and supernatural colors that follows the storyline enough to draw the obvious comparison and resultant message. Also, by painting it as futuristic fantasy rather than political reality, Nietz is given freedom to work with the constraints of his endtimes mythos. The theology of DarkTrench is beautiful, the simple phrase “the God Who Stoops,” gives me chills every time, and I’m haunted by the line in Freeheads that reads:
“Those who knew the truth got lazy, or worse, refused to share what they knew…They cloistered. Failed to do something when they had a chance.”
The action is fast-paced, the message blatant but never preachy (unless demanded by the plot). Sandfly and HardCandy are developed more as individuals and as a couple, and there are twists that abound throughout the adventure. In theme and in story, Freeheads is a tour de force, and a stellar conclusion to an amazing trilogy.