Solar Search

Ross Richdale
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In the last days of an interspecies war, Captain Tara Fye is given control of Yolk 3 a secret spaceship hidden on an asteroid orbiting Earth. She ordered to activate the Earth's final defence system against the enemy of hexapods, six limb insect species and their allies, electronic entities. The planet is sealed both physically and electronically from the enemy by an artificial bubble. No spaceships can land or leave Earth. As well, no audio or visual transmissions can penetrate the bubble from either direction.

Yolk 3 is designed to maintain human life until another world is found to save humans from extinction as an intelligent life force or, if possible to return in the future to reunite with those sealed on the planet. She is ordered to make this journey.

Tara finds several somewhat sinister facts about her superiors, including having a computer implant installed unknowingly in her mind and that the outer pods encircling Yolk 3 contain hundreds of humans in deep frozen hibernation. They include, not only scientists, engineers and medical doctors but also many young women who have been impregnated without their knowledge in the hope that future generations would survive, even if humans on Earth become extinct.

Tara and her crew are alone but the enemy still lurks out there ready to annihilate them. Someone or something is communicating with the enemy from Yolk 3 and they are being followed.

Where is the pre-programmed course taking them and who are the extraterrestrial humans they rescue? Why is an ancient space station important and how can the space-time continuum that causes hundred of years to pass in real time because of their speed, affect the final outcome of their solar search?
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Ross Richdale
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Published on
Apr 16, 2016
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Fiction / Science Fiction / Alien Contact
Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Science Fiction / Space Opera
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In this third novel about Karla Spicer and her teaching career, we find her in charge of a thousand student Joseph Ward Junior High School in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.

This is more than a story of Karla’s career but covers her personal life with her husband Ryan and also life of the teachers and students at Joseph Ward Junior High.

After arriving at her new school Karla finds that Deputy Principal Michael White has been selecting more sporty pupils for his own syndicate. Karla stops this but finds the competition between the four school syndicates is at the expense of co-operation. It is as if there are four mini-schools all going their own way. Her hands on approach in melding the school into one identity is a distinct contrast from the previous principal who appeared to be more interested in being socially accepted in the business community.

Avery Francis, a first year teacher at JWJHS is attacked and stabbed by an intruder late one afternoon but it is not a random attack for she knows her attacker, a prisoner escapee from her family’s past. New security systems brought in, help in getting Avery to hospital quickly. However, there are repercussions that affect Karla later in the year.

Year 10 student Gwen Young, reports to Karla that she is scared for her friend Jasmine who is skipping school to meet a boy she only met on the internet at Auckland International Airport. Karla with police help steps in and stops an abduction by a middle-aged paedophile. With her husband, Ryan and his computer firm she traces the incident to a whole paedophile ring on the internet. Ryan is contracted by the police to help trace students’ pages in a Petal Life  social site that is popular with teenagers.

Other girls have been attacked and Savannah an undercover detective with Ryan’s help sets up a webpage and pretends to be a fourteen-year-old junior high girl. A similar meeting with a fake high school boy similar to Jasmine’s encounter is all set up but are the safeguards  sufficient to stop a tragedy?

With an expanding roll and the popularity of JWJHS, a conflict with Westview Intermediate School to the south over the boundary between the schools’ zones escalates. Problems with the principal there, Peter Niles surface and is the reason for parents wanting to enrol at Karla’s school. The Ministry of Education steps after the Westview Board of Trustees resigns and a government commissionaire is appointed to run the school. Karla is also asked to help out as an Executive principal, a position she held before arriving at JWJHS. 


When the zoning issues are solved, Karla’s school needs extra classrooms to cope in the following year but how can they be built in time? Jon, their Board of Trustees chairperson, suggests they buy a modular block direct from China. Is this feasible?

Throughout her first year Karla moulds her school into one to be proud of but there are always problems with personalities and actions of staff and students. There is also another personal situation for early in the year she becomes pregnant with her family’s second child. Can Karla cope with the huge responsibility of running a large school and that of becoming a mother again?

All will be revealed in this final novel of the Wisps Trilogy.


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This thrilling novel kicks off what Stephen King calls “a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”

NOW A FOX TV SERIES! THE PASSAGE airs Mondays at 9/8c.

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Esquire • U.S. News & World Report • NPR/On Point • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • BookPage • Library Journal 

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.” 

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Look for the entire Passage trilogy:

Praise for The Passage

“[A] blockbuster.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Mythic storytelling.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Magnificent . . . Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them. . . . The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: a story about human beings trying to generate new hope in a world from which all hope has long since been burnt.”—Time

“The type of big, engrossing read that will have you leaving the lights on late into the night.”—The Dallas Morning News

“Addictive.”—Men’s Journal

“Cronin’s unguessable plot and appealing characters will seize your heart and mind.”—Parade
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