Nathan M. Farrugia’s Helix Series

farrugiaAbout the author:

Born: Melbourne, Australia, June 28, 1983

Education

Professional Writing and Editing, RMIT University, Australia

Website: https://nathanmfarrugia.com/

Thriller Sub-genre: Techno-thriller

Future of the series: The next book in the series is entitled Exclave: Episode 6 and has a tentative release date of 6/1/17.

The Simon Review

Recently, I have been neglecting my blog mainly because I have been absolutely captivated by the news. The actions of our newest administration has the workings of a first rate thriller; collusion with the Russians, ‘alternative facts’, North Korean missile launches, denigration of our judicial system, and the list goes on. What more could a thriller enthusiast want? For me, reading thrillers are a form of escapism from the daily routine of life. Through thrillers, I can live in an exciting world and yet be totally protected from the more negative consequences that characters of any thriller might endure. But what I have seen in the last few weeks does make me ponder on what the future will be like for the US and the world. So for right now, the thrillers that I read are a bit more exciting than my own little world especially my latest read which is Nathan M. Farrugia’s high action packed thriller series, Helix.

The series is a spin-off of Farrugia’s Fifth Column series. The Fifth Column is a secret organization that has control of the world’s militaries and governments and the focus of the Helix series is the attempt on the destruction of the Fifth Column carried out by two different resistant groups made up of rogue Fifth Column operatives. One of the groups had a prominent role in the Fifth Column series and is headed by a former operative known as Sophia. The second resistant group is Russian based and the members are known as operative hunters. One of the top hunters is Olesya, who was rescued from the Fifth Column before she could be fully programmed and integrated into the organization.

One of the reasons why the Fifth Column is so powerful is because the operatives that do the dirty work are genetically enhanced.  For example, if a recruit naturally has good hearing, the Fifth Column will genetically enhance that ability. The operatives for the Fifth Column are recruited by handing out scholarships to what appears to be a military style school for the gifted. Once a recruit enters, he or she will either be programmed to do the organization’s bidding or be destroyed.  But a few operatives escape with one goal in mind and that is to destroy the Fifth Column.

This series is action packed and I mean action packed. Farrugia takes his action sequences seriously and he has plenty of experience to back it up. For one, Farrugia did reconnaissance when he was in the Australian Army and even after his discharge he continued his training with the USMC, SEAL, and the Combat Applications Group. And if that is not enough, in his spare time he delves into a bit of urban exploring. Whew! It makes me exhausted just thinking about it.  There is no doubt in my mind that Farrugia is very accomplished at writing action scenes.  

If the strength of the series is the combat and fighting, the weakness would be in the character development. A number of the characters came from the Fifth Column series and perhaps if I had read that series, these characters may have had more substance to me. But Farrugia immediately jumps into this series with the assumption that the reader knows these characters. Even though the new characters may have some development, such as that of Oleysa, it is minimal. I didn’t really develop an affection to these characters until about the fourth installment to the series and my lack of affinity for these characters made it difficult to rally behind them during their battles with the enemy.

Each addition to the series is short but longer than a typical novella with each ending in a cliffhanger. Farrugia’s use of episodes for each novel is appropriate as the series reads much like a television mini-series except instead of waiting a week for the next show, it may be a couple of months before the next installment. Since the storyline is continuous throughout the series, it would be best to read it in order.

Simon’s pick:

Most Favorite Novel in the Series- Inversion: Episode 5because I have begun to relate to the characters and because of that I am enjoying the battle scenes more

Least Favorite Novel in the Series- Helix: Episode 1– because I was clueless to what was going on

What about the science? Most of the science that is mentioned in this series revolves around the enhancement of genes. The concept of genetically enhancing our genes have been speculated for a number of years and the possibility of it happening may just be around the corner. There is speculation that China may be at the forefront for genetic enhancement technology mainly because they do not have the ethical restrictions in place that are found in Western countries. So if Donald Trump doesn’t scare you, then perhaps this should.

The Technical Word in Review: Zinc Finger- sounds like something out of a James Bond movie, but is instead a small structural domain found in specific proteins, particularly in proteins that bind to DNA and are involved in gene regulation. The zinc finger domain got its name because it protrudes from the protein in a finger-like manner which in turn will attach to a specific region of DNA. The function of the zinc is to help stabilize the structure. The first zinc finger protein was discovered by Daniela Rhodes and Noble Laureate Aaron Klug in 1985 which was found in a DNA transcription factor from the African clawed frog. Because of the high specificity of zinc finger proteins to DNA, molecular biologist have found that synthesized zinc finger proteins have been very useful in genetic manipulation.


Denton opened the file. On the first page, he noticed a dark image of the human body, lit brilliantly with green fluorescence.

‘You were successful?’ he asked.

She took a step closer. ‘You seem surprised that my zinc finger module worked.’

‘Impressed. That is different from surprise.’ Denton ignored her stare. ‘And you deliver these inside a virus: adeno-associated virus,’ he read off her papers. ‘Why this one?’-Helix: Episode 1

Books in the Series by Order:

Most Favorite in the series: Inversion with a score of 4.68

Least Favorite in the series: Helix with a score of 4.24

Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles, Library Thing and Amazon (US & UK)

helix#1-Helix: Episode 1- 2016

First Line:

Damien wasn’t meant to be here.


Characters:

Olesya: Russian hunter leader

Ark: Russian hunter

Sophia Novotý: Leader of rogue operative group

Damien, Jay, and Nasira: Rogue operatives


The Setting

Russia, Guatemala, and Columbia


To most, Olesya was an ordinary girl from post-Soviet Russia. But to the covert agency that recruited her she was something much more. The agency is a collector of genetic anomalies; forging gifted children into their most deadly weapon: black operatives.

Seven years later, Olesya leads a team of hunters on a dangerous assignment. Her targets are black operatives: elusive, genetically enhanced, and unstoppable. From the bio-clinics of Brazil to the icy borderlands of Kaliningrad, from the catacombs of Lithuania to the citadel of occupied Prague, Olesya is at the heart of a war against a powerful, malevolent organization that wants total control.

But as operatives and hunters start to vanish, Olesya discovers they aren’t the only players in this deadly game …


Looking for a review of Helix: Episode 1?  Check out:

Humanity’s Darkerside

The Secret Bookshelf

Brian’s Book Blog

Edge of Insanity


Amazon Rating-US: 4.64 out of 5 stars based on 72 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.60 out of 5 stars based on 20 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.14 out of 5 stars based on 365 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.33 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 rating

Total Score 4.24

 

 

exile#2-Exile: Episode 2- 2016

First Line:

The door to the control room hissed open, revealing three enemy soldiers in mid-rescue.


Characters

Olesya, Ark, Sophia Novotý, Damien, Jay, and Nasira

Czarina and Ieva: Rogue operatives

Aviary Keli’i: The rogue operative’s IT expert

Marina: Russian Hunter


The Setting

Russia, Columbia, Lithuania, Las Vegas, and Germany


Covert operatives are disappearing, and nobody knows why.

But Olesya will put everything on the line to find out. After narrowly escaping a subway explosion she was assigned to prevent, she is too late to stop unknown assailants kidnapping her best friend.

Forced away from her hunt by the Directorate, Olesya is exiled to the frozen borderlands of Kaliningrad, where she discovers a new and deadly threat that could destroy them all.

Except Olesya isn’t the only one searching for answers. Rogue operatives Damien and Nasira are caught in a violent raid on a Colombian research facility. They manage to slip away unscathed, realizing the answers they seek lie hidden inside a Las Vegas military base. Getting in will be easy, but getting out will be somewhat challenging, given they’re now high on the U.S. Most Wanted Terrorists list.


Looking for a review of Exile: Episode 2?  Check out:

Humanity’s Darkerside


Amazon Rating-US: 4.74 out of 5 stars based on 23 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.82 out of 5 stars based on 11 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.28 out of 5 stars based on 104 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 rating

Library Thing Rating: not rated

Total Score 4.40

 

 

interceptor#3-Interceptor: Episode 3- 2016

First Line:

Denton drove his knife between the SS-Sonderkommando’s clavicle and scapula, cutting the subclavian artery.


Characters

Olesya, Ark, Sophia Novotý, Damien, Jay, Nasira, Czarina, Ieva, Aviary Keli’i and Marina


The Setting

Germany, Ukraine, Las Vegas, Estonia, Mexico, Lithuania, Ecuador, Poland, Brazil, Czech Republic, and Russia


Sophia was once the Fifth Column’s most dangerous weapon.
Now she’s their greatest threat.

Intercepting Fifth Column operatives before they can complete their deadly missions, Sophia is deprogramming them and turning them against their masters. But a powerful, new type of operative tips the balance against her, and she barely escapes with her life.

The rules of engagement have changed, and Sophia is forced onto a collision course with the one person who will save her or kill her—Olesya.

They’ve crossed paths once before. This time, only one will walk away.


Looking for a review of Interceptor: Episode 3?  Check out:

Krissy’s Bookshelf Reviews

Humanity’s Darkerside


Amazon Rating-US: 4.63 out of 5 stars based on 16 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.88 out of 5 stars based on 8 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.42 out of 5 stars based on 69 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings

Library Thing Rating: not rated

Total Score 4.51

 

 

anomaly#4-Anomaly: Episode 4- 2016

First Line:

The girl in the crumpled uniform slumped in her chair, opposite DC.


Characters

Olesya, Ark, Sophia Novotý, Damien, Jay, Nasira, Czarina, Ieva, Aviary Keli’i and Marina


The Setting

Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and Hungary


For Project GATE recruits, success is everything, failure is death.

After Marina washes out of training, she’s sent for termination. But when a rebellion rises, she escapes to join Olesya on the icy coast of the Baltic Sea. Here, she finds the popularity and power of a violent anti-genetics movement spreading like wildfire. They’re called Purity, and they want people like Marina to burn.

While Marina and Olesya are ensnared in a battle against Purity zealots, another rebel, Sophia, discovers more about Project GATE than she bargained for: every recruit carries a genetic kill switch, and someone is planning to use it.

Now it’s a race against time. Marina and Olesya must overcome impossible odds and Sophia must fight to save her fellow operatives from their own bodies. Success is everything, failure is death.


‘My name is Illarion,’ the older man said, his accent stronger than Olesya’s.  ‘And you’re the anomaly.’


Looking for a review of Anamoly: Episode 4?  Check out:

Krissy’s Bookshelf Reviews

Humanity’s Darkerside


Amazon Rating-US: 4.79 out of 5 stars based on 19 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.92 out of 5 stars based on 12 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.48 out of 5 stars based on 56 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 ratings

Total Score 4.61

 

 

inversion#5-Inversion: Episode 5- 2016

Listed #440 out of 549 on Goodreads Best Technothrillers Ever Book List

Listed #113 out of 168 on Goodreads Best Sciencethrillers Book List

First Line:

The forest blotted out gray clouds, except for a sharp strip of sky above the road.


Characters

Olesya, Ark, Sophia Novotý, Damien, Jay, Nasira, Czarina, Ieva, Aviary Keli’i and Marina


The Setting

Poland, Russia, and Lithuania


Olesya faces her biggest threat yet—a devastating attack that will shatter Europe.

As the Purity Party celebrate their victory with a march through Wrocław, Olesya learns of a covert death squad lying in wait, poised to slaughter thousands.

Their objective is simple: blame Olesya’s team for the attack and rally support for Purity. To thwart their plan, Olesya must call on the last person she wants to ask for help—Sophia.

Together, they discover the death squad is just a diversion from a larger attack—a powerful Russian weapon that will incinerate Wrocław, killing millions. With the stakes now higher than ever before, Olesya and Sophia have twenty-five minutes to stop the weapon before it’s too late.


Looking for a review of Inversion: Episode 5?  Check out:

Humanity’s Darkerside


Amazon Rating-US: 4.87 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 6 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.58 out of 5 stars based on 43 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 ratings

Total Score 4.66 (updated 4/14/17)

 

 

#6-Exclave: Episode 6 (Expected Release Date 6/1/2017)

A common enemy will unite Olesya and Sophia.
And a traitor will tear them apart.

In the wake of a devastating Fifth Column attack, Sophia’s team are picking up the pieces. They find refuge from an unexpected ally—Olesya. But their fragile alliance is threatened when they discover a conspirator in their midst.

As Olesya struggles to deal with the threat from within, Jay is offered the chance to get his abilities back. But to do so, he will betray those closest to him.

Olesya and Sophia must put aside their differences and pursue Jay deep into Purity territory. Their goal: get him out before it’s too late.

 

 

#7-Purity: Episode 7

 

#8-Kill Switch: Episode 8

 

#9-Countervail: Episode 9