Malila of the Scorch

Book Three of Old Men and Infidels

Fiction - Science Fiction
263 Pages
Reviewed on 12/06/2019
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Author Biography

Born in Chicago and raised outside Philadelphia, Clark, a physician, has taught and practiced intensive care for newborn infants on four continents and eight countries, as he continues to do after more than forty-five years on the job. He lives with his bride of over 40 years in Alabama. He has been an avid solo hiker, backpacker, and climber since he was a mere lad of 11. Some of his stories are even true.
He has traveled extensively to Rwanda, Kenya, India, Ecuador, Zambia, and Ghana as a volunteer physician.
"Outland Exile," a Pinnacle award recipient, (iUniverse, Oct 2015) and Exiles' Escape (Indigo River Feb 2018 and also a Pinnacle awardee) are the first two of an expected five-book series called "Old Men and Infidels" centering on aging, medical care, drug use, cybernetics, society and faith in a future dystopian America.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

Malila of the Scorch is Book Three of a series called Old Men and Infidels. I did not read the first two books in the series, but I intend to remedy that as soon as I can. I like the way W. Clark Boutwell thinks. I like the way he writes. I like his idea of who or what America really is. We see America changing all around us every day and, let’s face it, that makes some of us afraid. W. Clark Boutwell sees this fear and imagines the chaos that might come out of it. The result is one of the best science fiction novels I have read in a long time. Malila of the Scorch is full of new scientific concepts and next level technology. It also shows how this technology can be abused in the wrong hands.

I liked the science in Malila of the Scorch. I liked it a lot. But when I think about what I enjoyed most about this great novel, it is hands down, the old-fashioned American characters. W. Clark Boutwell puts his own spin on them, but these characters are as American as apple pie. I loved Grandpa Moses, he could have been plucked straight from the pages of several classic American novels. I liked Malila and I liked Jessie. They have a lot of good people working with them. They inspire each other and depend on each other rather than let one hero do all the heavy lifting. The plot in Malila of the Scorch is good. I could easily see America being fractured in this way and events playing out this way. This is a great effort and a very good book.

K.C. Finn

Malila of the Scorch is a compelling work of science fiction penned by author W. Clark Boutwell, and forms the third novel in the Old Men and Infidels series. Set in a world of the very near future where the death of America has come and gone, the Unity now survives it and dominates a continent. In a world where so-called retirement results in a vegetative state of servitude to the Unity, Malila Chiu has broken away, but now she finds herself fighting for survival in the abandoned land of the Scorch. But the Unity is determined to invade and conquer, and with both lands on the brink of war, Malila is tasked to serve as messenger and freedom fighter for the American side.

This was a truly fascinating world to step into, not least because of the political and social mirrors which it holds up to society today through its intuitive science fiction lens. Author W. Clark Boutwell faithfully keeps to the world he has created, utilizing powerful tools of atmosphere, dialogue, and well-guided exposition to navigate central heroine Malila through a tumultuous path that skims the edges of war. I found it easy enough to join the series mid-way, investigating the fascinating culture and social control of the Unity as well as Malila's and Jesse’s emotional journeys and their connection to different characters on different sides of the argument. Overall, Malila of the Scorch is a superb conceptual novel with plenty of action, adventure, but also food for thought in a socio-political context.