A review of Desert Swarm by William Manches

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Desert Swarm:
Book 3 of the Tarizon Saga
by William Manches
Paperback: 354 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1935722823

Desert Swarm, Book 3 of the Tarizon Saga opens with an accident. It was March 1959, Jack had promised his son Jake they would go hiking along the Armagosa River and perhaps do some fishing. It had been a rough week, but a promise is a promise, and since his divorce Jack has been determined to not disappoint his son. A quick burger and fries and he is again on the road, the trip is going to take at least 5 hours and Jack is already dead tired. Before long he began to yawn, and despite the caffeine he had drunk during his supper, Jack inevitably began to doze. Jolting awake by the sound of his tires drumming on the shoulder of the highway Jack over corrects and his truck begins sliding down the side of the mountain.

Waking up in the blackness of desert night Jack, disoriented began walking away from the highway and into the desert toward Bat Mountain. Set into motion were the events which would ultimately change Jack’s life forever. A foundation out in the desert created of material concrete contractor Jack did not recognize, and seems to have enlarged between his first viewing and the next, beginning a new romantic relationship, a teaching assistant with a penchant for geology, and a peculiar structure that continues to increase, in addition a large circular area devoid of vegetation, a Park Service Ranger, as well as a member of the Department of Defense all figure in the developing tale.

A series of deaths, each more bizarre than the others seem to center around the odd crystalline material forming the growing construct Preacher Little insists is a cathedral sent from God for his congregation. The geology Professor is amazed at the rate of growth of the mysterious structure which is beginning to resemble a cathedral, the pastor of a local congregation is certain the structure IS a cathedral, in process of being built by God Himself as a sign of the second coming of Christ, the US Army fears the structure poses potential national danger, and then more structures, miracles, healings, sink holes, mystery and a bit of a surprise.

Manchee sets down underpinnings for his tale, peoples it with believable characters, fills in holes with credible dialogue and moves the narrative forward in an acceptable manner. Muddying the water is an overzealous deputy who is searching for a conspiracy, and wants to implicate Jack. A living microorganism, an astonishing attack by relentless bats, a preacher with an agenda, and those ever increasing walls move the reader toward realization of unfamiliar life form, an unknown craft and satisfactory resolution of the mystery entailing the who, what, when and where penned adroitly.

As the fifth in the Tarizon Series, Tarizon: Desert Swarm allows the reader to continue the narrative begun in others of Manchee’s Tarizon series including Tarizon: The Liberator, Tarizon: Civil War, Tarizon: Conquest Earth, and Tarizon: Shroud of Doom.

Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years classroom teacher