Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Garvey Dire was a US astronaut on a covert mission to Mars during a troubled time on Earth, he crashes into the surface of the red planet thanks to a malfunction and no other soul is due to arrive for a year. No one outside of a small circle of NASA and US military/state personnel know he was onboard the mission so his discovery of ruins and technology will go to waste but in twist of fate he is thrown back in time to around 47,000 BC when Mars was populated and is discovered by Lana Shar a native Martian from the local Muvari tribe.
Thus Garvey's adventures on Mars begin, he gains the favour of Lana who healed his wounds and with his superior strength thanks to the weaker gravity he is able to prove his worth to the local tribe but if he is to make a life on Mars and with the Muvari he will have to marry (maybe more than once) and father children while accepting the limitations on the males of the tribe but when the tribe are attacked he throws himself into combat and well then the fun really starts as he learns of the threats on Mars first hand.
Dire Planet is a rip-roaringly good story, there are no apologies for it's pulp nature and if you are not familiar with the genre that isn't a negative as all you need is a willingness to go along for the ride and be entertained. As the first book in the series it sets the tone very well both in terms of creating the origin story and providing the reader with the tools to visualise Mars nearly 50,000 years ago as well as events as the play out in the year after Garvey vanishes from Mars of today.
Dire Planet is highly recommended as are the other novels in the series.
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