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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
I have never before embarked on reading a trilogy, and I might not have lasted the experience if it weren’t for the excellence of Carl Lakeland’s writing. What an amazing imagination Lakeland has, one that steers clear of anything predictable. So refreshing. Each book stands alone, but all three are connected and the characters we meet in the first book, Eagle Shield, appear and disappear in the second book, Project Amber, and resurface in a new way in the final book, The Lost Ones. Along the way, readers are treated to a marvelous mix of characters, both good and evil, and unpredictable plots that never stand still. Eagle Shield focusses on the tough military soldier with a heart of gold, Nathan Masters, who battles hell and high water to fulfill his mission to bring a very special child, Angel, to safety and ultimately to what is her pre-ordained, glorious destiny as a savior.
Where Masters’ covert Eagle Shield mission concludes, the now-adult Angel, a journalist, picks up the narrative in Project Amber. What a narrative it is...a mixture of science fiction and a not impossible future for planet Earth should nuclear warfare ever become a reality. Perhaps the current interest in living on Mars isn’t all that far-fetched if what happens in Project Amber eventuates. The world readers experience in the final book of the Milestone trilogy is vastly different from that in the first two books, and I’m sure it’s one I would never want to live in. Through a new narrator, Lakeland depicts the future of a radioactive planet Earth, where cannibalism, cruelty, and survival of the fittest rule. His rendering of this world is horrific yet oddly credible. One cannot come away from reading The Lost Ones...indeed all three books...without feeling you have just completed a fantastic and unforgettable voyage.
Style-wise, Lakeland expertly uses every literary tool: excellent descriptions that appeal to all the senses; colorful and touching characters with whom we can easily identify; superbly rendered dialogue that captures growing tension one minute, deep love the next; and for those who enjoy military rationale and details before, during and after battle, riveting plots. By allowing each protagonist to narrate his/her book in the first person, Lakeland adds to the immediacy and credibility of the events and those who make them happen. Having lived in Australia for several years, I was particularly drawn to and intrigued by Lakeland setting this trilogy down under. Those unfamiliar with the Aussie “lingo” might need a few minutes to catch on to some turns of phrase, but by using these, Lakeland adds even more color to the narratives. And for readers who believe in the Bible and its stories of angels and devils, Lakeland offers another most unexpected touch, fulfilling his own mandate to keep readers guessing and asking themselves, “what if?” Indeed, what if?