The Phoenix DescentThe Phoenix Descent by Chuck Grossart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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When three Astronauts; Lucas the scientist, Hunter the captain, and Sif the pilot, wake up on a malfunctioning ship that is supposed to be headed to mars, they are completely disorientated. They are unable to assess anything until they are able to restore ship functions. The ship is a mess and their AI is scrambled. When they arrived at a theory of what happened, they are disturbed and disbelieving.
Getting disturbing findings and unsure of what time they are in, they set out to map where they are, how much fuel they have left, and what their options are. When they discover a large dark mass taking up huge amounts of the earth and abandoned and destroyed cities they set out to figure out what happened and if there are any survivors. With little choice they decide to land.
The people left on earth have been scattered, divided in to clans and driven underground, Fighting the Riy. A black organism that devours and assimilates anything it touches, after being assimilated you become a hive member to the host, spreading spores that facilitate more creation of hive members.
“Twenty years, her teacher told her. Only twenty years passed from the time the Riy first appeared until all was lost, and the old world was dead.”
The clans are barely making it and every time they are attacked they move or risk fighting and trying to kill off a host. They operate like a dictatorship with no real cooperation or communication between clans. The only weapon that they know works against the Riy is fire and they have to be close enough to cause injury but also close enough to inhale spores. The human population is decimated with no end of extinction in sight. 168 years later and this was all that was left of a populated earth and civilization.
This story takes you on a journey, that can appeal to all kinds of Sci-Fi junkies. Time travel, aliens, apocalyptic, dystopian and space exploration genres. An adventure with multiple points of view and plenty of off shoots. An absolutely unexpected and enjoyable book. Excellent storytelling, great female leads and all well rounded characters. I will be recommending this one to all my Sci-Fi geek friends!
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