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Cast Under an Alien Sun

Destiny's Crucible, Book 1
Written by: Olan Thorensen
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What if you were thrown into a foreign society, never to see home again? What would you do, and could you survive?

Joe Colsco boarded a flight from San Francisco to Chicago to attend a national chemistry meeting. He would never set foot on Earth again.

On planet Anyar, Joe is found unconscious on a beach of a large island inhabited by humans where the level of technology is similar to Earth circa 1700. He awakes amid strangers speaking an unintelligible language and struggles to accept losing his previous life and finding a place in a society with different customs, needing a way to support himself and not knowing a single soul. His worry about finding a place is assuaged when he finds ways to apply his knowledge of chemistry - as long as he is circumspect in introducing new knowledge not too far in advance of the planet's technology and being labelled a demon.

As he adjusts, Joe finds that he has be dropped into a developing clash between the people who cared for him, and for whom he develops an affinity, and a military power from elsewhere on the planet - a power with designs on conquest. Unaware, Joseph Colsco has been poured into a crucible where time and trials will transform him in ways he could never have imagined.

Cast Under an Alien Sun is a story that's science fiction in premise, adventure in execution - a cross-genre adventure with elements of science fiction, history, hard science, epic fantasy, time travel, romance, alien contact, and space colonization.

©2016 Olan Thorensen (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

It all begins here!

What an adventure... I got hooked on this series and I HIGHLY recommend it. Great story and excellent acting. Try it now, but beware, you'll need the REST as well! ;) #audible1

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent story!

I'm happy to see it's part of a series. A perfect book for people like me who want all the little worldbuilding details.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ron
  • Allons, TN, United States
  • 2017-09-18

Slowly we turn, step by step, inch by inch...

I was searching for a new sci-fi series to explore after the Bobiverse trilogy when I read the premise for the Olan Thorensen book. Reading the reviews, I noticed that one of those reviews having a large number of most helpful votes, referenced this book as having too many details and hard to get through. I must say this reviewer was spot on, and I came very close to considering the purchase a waste, and then everything changed!

The author certainly took his time writing numerous chapters about the back story in infinite detail through the first 5 or 6 chapters, however, the book took on a new life and the characters developed well after the initial history lesson and gauntlet of useless details the reader is exposed to at the beginning.

The story follows the main character Joe Colsco who is plucked from modern day earth after a disaster befalls him through an alien encounter. After the aliens save his life, he is transported to an earth type planet to resume his life. The story transitions at this point into Joseph's introduction into an early earth like society, and becomes both interesting and addicting as he struggles to come to grips with the loss of his previous life, and how he becomes invested into this new life in a land that is much like earth of the 1700's.

Jonathan Davis narrates this audio and is brilliant in bringing the characters to life with various character voices.

I became a huge fan of this story line by the end of this book, and immediately purchased and began reading the next in the series. I still believe the amount of descriptive detail used to convey the story at the beginning was overkill, and a major distraction before the story developed into something special. It reminded me of an old Three Stooges episode where a line was often quoted... Slowly we turn, step by step, inch by inch... which is how I felt at the beginning of this book.

I do highly recommend this book, and the series, which continues to draw my interest in these characters fate.









51 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kurt Schwoppe
  • Alexandria, VA United States
  • 2017-10-06

Subliminal Assimilation

The first book of Destiny's Crucible has a riveting start, immediately followed by more mundane ground-laying, but gradually finds a way weave itself into your psyche. By the end of the first third of the book, you do not want to put it down. Surprisingly, what holds your attention is not fast action or a suspenseful plot. You keep listening because of a genuine bonding with the main characters, love of location in time and space, and the tantalizing potential of what the main character is going to do. You simply become very interested in his new life. This may sound simple, but it's effectively good writing - character development at its finest!

Cast Under an Alien Sun is not quite a literary masterpiece, but it is extremely well written and subtly entertaining. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, everything in this book seems to be just right. It has just the right amount of science, sex, violence, and intrigue to keep things interesting and fresh. The narrative is mature, but not stuffy. And for Science Fiction, there is zero hokiness and believable context The performance by Jonathan Davis is superb and pleasant to listen to.

Because I have strict criteria about what I give 5 stars, I can't quite go there; but would easily give this book 4.5 stars if I could. What I look for in a 5 star book is that element that transforms a well written entertaining story into something deeper and more meaningful. Cast Under an Alien Sun is an entertaining and extremely well written book. Thoresen clearly has the potential to put the other books in the series over the top. I guess I'll have to read them and find out - something I am definitely looking forward to doing!

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnus
  • 2017-06-03

Well worth the credit

What made the experience of listening to Cast Under an Alien Sun the most enjoyable?

Since I've always had a soft spot for Time Travel / Alternate reality books, this was a nice twist on both of those. Well created alternate world and settings as well as all those subtle differences between what we know (knew) and Joe's new reality. I read the Kindle version not that long ago and pre ordered this one as soon as it was available.

What did you like best about this story?

How our MC comes to term with his new reality. He goes through an emotional roller coaster, something that I find other similar books overlook more than not, and eventually carves out a place for himself in his new reality.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I haven't, but I think he does a good job. 4+ stars.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Home is where the heart is

Any additional comments?

I think more than avid TT/AR reader will enjoy this book. It's well written, a lot of research has been done and a huge effort has been put into the world building. This book is actually one of my all time favorites, though surpassed by the third book in this series. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series on Audio.

54 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 2017-06-12

Don't hesitate, get it.

if you enjoy the detail of the Bobiveres and David Webers' Safehold series, invest the credit.

Don't worry, it's not as slow as Webers books, but it'll keep you hooked with a serious narrative and light humor.

If the initial premise intrigues you, then get tis audiobook, you won't be disappointed.


*Note to staff at Audible.

Don't you dare not publish the sequel, after buying over 230 plus books from you, owe me this much.

thanks in advance.
Tom.

85 of 94 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sailfish
  • 2017-08-04

A bit too slow-paced for my taste

The story proceeds with a lot of time spent on digressions of a war council where long discussions were held on past campaigns which were mostly eye flyover sections since little discussed there ever really had any influence to subsequent unfolding story.

Joe's introduction to the society was subdued in the beginning which made for mostly uninteresting observations of the society he was placed into. Eventually, he began to become familiar with the people, at first, learning the language and then to using his 21st century, highly specialized chemistry discipline to introduce advanced technologies to the locals. So much so that he was able to expand from basic chemistry to things like paper factories, medical surgical procedures, mercantilism and even oil refinery, even though he nor the society's tradesmen had no previous real-world knowledge on these technologies. For the length of the novel, I was disappointed that except for the phenomenal ability for Joe to advance technologies, the actual story itself had not progressed very far.

The novel was written well enough but the story itself was rather uninteresting and uninspiring. The narrator did a good job in performing the various characters, be it male of female.

I'll not be continuing with the series.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2017-06-10

Loved it. Please Continue the Series

I have no particular insights. I love this genre -- society building and discovery or rediscovery of science and technology. A bit like David Weber's "Off Armageddon Reef". But I like Thorensen better than Weber. This book is particularly well done, with excellent characters. I just hope Audible gets the next two novels in the series soon. (And with the same narrator.)

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Howard
  • Concord, MA, United States
  • 2018-08-27

Thank GOD for Audible Reviews

For without the many reviews telling me to "hang with the story" for the first 45 minutes I would have given up, demanded a refund and missed the glorious adventure awaiting me in this series.

Thoransen clearly needed an editor for the first 45 minutes- all of the background information on the Narthani could not only have been easily conveyed as the series unfolded- it actually IS conveyed as the story unfolds. This is why I give it a four star- although I would really like to give it 4.5!

Okay with the ONE complaint out of the way- what a series and what a great first book. It really does force one to imagine what would happen if we woke up in the early 18th century. The excitement of watching Joe share discoveries with the Kielanders, with the Narthani always in the background, plus the super character development and descriptions of Kieland culture make this a top choice for not only fantasy fans, but those, like me, who love the sweeping histories of nations and culture.

The only other nag (not complaint) I have is the chances of another planet, inhabited by transported humans, almost exactly (but not completely) replicating the culture of early 18th century northern Europe right down to a monotheistic religion similar to Judeo-Christianity. Of course since the peoples were apparently transplanted from Earth by a yet to be revealed alien culture, the timing of which has not yet been revealed, that may indeed be the explanation. Maybe the place was constructed twenty years in the past and everyone given a brain implant. Oh well- this does not detract from the superb series.

Jonathan Davis is a superb narratory and mimic. He is pitch perfect!

If you like sweeping sci-fi, military and/or fantasy series this is absolutely a must.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick Hora
  • 2017-07-05

First Review Ever!

First a little about me....I have been a listener on Adubile since 08/01/11 and have never felt compelled to write a review. I just finished listening to Mr. Olan Thorensen first book "Cast Under an Alien Sun" and was very impressed. There is science, world building, adventure, and characters that you truly care for. I listened to this book over the course of 5 days. I can not wait for the next audible book. (I know that the next 2 books are out in written format). I can say without hesitate to stop reading the reviews and use that credit....you will not be disappointed.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen W. Beitzel
  • 2017-08-04

Do you love meetings?

I wanted to like this. The premise is fun -- modern specialized youthful academic gets transplanted to a down-tech milieu. The execution is mind-numbing. 45 minutes and 5 chapters in and the only actual *action* happened in the first chapter. Everything else has been clumsy exposition masquerading as dialogue and paper doll character development. Seriously, all of chapter 4 is a staff meeting among the military leaders in charge of the conquest and subjugation of a large island, wherein they tell each other the entire history of the campaign up until now. They're in charge! They know this stuff already! We readers are supposed to believe that these guys really don't have anything better to do than have a two hour meeting that could have been handled in five minutes? "Admiral, Doctor, General, I've received and read all your reports. We're moving out." There, job done.

Then, in chapter 5, we get a *recap* of the meeting as the guy who ran the meeting goes home to his wife and talks about his day. He lists to her all the meetings and paperwork he did all day, and he feels happy and satisfied about it, and she feels proud of him for being such an assiduous worker.

Really?

Meanwhile, the characters have no depth. I've spent a commute with this book and so far everyone is a paper doll. The author spends a lot of time telling us about details of appearance and characters' resumes, but nobody does anything. Therefore, all this description serves exactly the same purpose as coloring in fine tip pen on a paint-by-numbers mosaic pattern: plenty of details, but it's still flat.

The narrator does what he can, giving different voices to different characters and trying to shade the text with appropriate emotional nuance, but it's a losing proposition. No matter how dramatic the reading, an unrealistic status meeting where nothing actually happens is not going to be interesting. I feel angry about the waste of my time.

89 of 110 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 2018-03-09

I wish I hadn't waited so long!

Lately, I have been trying to either delete or actually buy and listen to, the books that have been lingering on my wish list for too long. This is one of those books that sounded interesting but I just wasn't sure about. I am kicking myself for not purchasing this sooner! This is exactly my kind of book. I can see where some would not be as interested in, or would be bored by, all the world-building involved in bringing the reader into a complete new world with all its social and political machinations. Personally, I love it! This is a smart, well thought out, perfectly plausible time travel sci-fi epic. I listened to all 4 books in less than a week and was still left wanting more. The narration by Johnathan Davis was excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful