Customer Reviews for

The Fifth Man

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    I’ll admit, I’ve been a distracted reader lately. To

    I’ll admit, I’ve been a distracted reader lately. Too many things pulling for my attention. Consequently, “The Fifth Man” took me much longer to complete than I expected. Even so, it was an easy book to pick up and read a page or two at a time.

    Starting out where the preceding book left off,” this tale finds the crew of the Ares 10 now on Mars and well into their first calamity. The action takes off, and goes from one tension-inducing situation to another—all the way until the end. It is an enjoyable ride.

    I give the authors credit here for is adjusting the speed of the main romantic relationship back a few notches from where it ended in the first book. I think the characters needed that readjustment to make that portion seem believable.

    I also credit them for their authenticity and attention to detail. The habitat on Mars, the lingo, the technology, and control procedures seem very NASA-like. I also quite enjoyed the action and intrigue on Earth this time. Probably more so than in the previous book. There are a lot of fun mysteries there, and some really great twists.

    I only have two caveats with this book. The first is—as someone who used to dream of travel to Mars—I could’ve used a bit more of the scope and grandeur of Mars early on. I mean, you took me there, now show it to me! A little more exploration or even some sweeping vistas would’ve been neat, I think.

    The other thing that I wondered about is the ending. Though there is enough closure, there is also a bit of ambiguity lurking too. I liked the idea of “Fifth Man” and I even liked the identity of that “Fifth Man”, but I also could’ve used a few more pages of conclusion.

    Regardless, “The Fifth Man” is a fun book. If you enjoyed “Oxygen” then you have to read this too. It is a worthy addition to the story. Not to me missed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Keeps you guessin!

    A party of 4 is doing exploration on Mars when unexplained accidents start happening. The team on earth is also having problems. Will they ever be able to make it home? I enjoyed it . It kept me wondering what would happen next. The characters could be real people.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Even more exciting than the first

    A terrific thrill to read, even better than the first, Oxygen. The tension remained high through most of the story, with few points for a breather. Best of all, I really didn't know who the culprit was until the reveal, a true surprise. This story has the added bonus of being set on Mars, an ongoing fascination of mine. And the appendices hold a bonus for new writers, with excellent advice I've already applied to my writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006


    What a wonderfully spell-binding book! I couldn't put it down! Written in a way that grabs anyone's attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2005

    Rich and Rewarding

    A fascinating tale of near-future Science Fiction, the skill and brilliance of the writing of this pair of books more than compensates for a couple of technical, logistic oversights. This is a rich and rewarding read with high drama, incredible risks, competing political and career goals for both individuals and for Multi-Billion Dollar industries. It combines competing ideologies, elements of romance, and a raw survival instinct in a harsh and completely unforgiving environment. Some logic problems become more pronounced in this second book, yet it kept me turning pages. A delightful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    Two Thumbs Up, Five Stars And A Bag Of Chips!

    As good as 'Oxygen'? Nope...Better! This has everything that 'Oxygen' did and more. If you liked 'Oxygen', sci-fi or space thrillers don't let this one pass you by.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2004

    Fifth Man is the 'Best' Man!

    Is there evidence of life on Mars? That¿s the question the four-person crew of the Ares 10 needs to answer. However, while looking for life on the red planet, the astronauts discover proof that life is a lot more complex than even scientists imagine. This book is the sequel to Oxygen and continues to follow the expedition of this two man-two woman crew. After a rocky voyage, the astronauts have an even more difficult time surviving in this alien land. Strange things begin to happen with their equipment, yet diagnostic tests don¿t point out the source. Could there possibly be a fifth man among them? Is this survival mission actually someone¿s idea of a suicide mission? The authors have placed characters in dual settings for this story that spans the universe. Readers will closely watch the happenings on Mars, and also be allowed into the confidential conferences at NASA. This inter-galactic view gives readers a more complete understanding of the issue of ¿life¿. The mysterious static in their communication system and the unearthly happenings with some of their equipment, all point to ¿someone¿. Things like that don¿t happen by themselves. It is here that the authors make a strong, yet subtle, case for ¿intelligent¿ life. Just as the crew knows that the reason for these malfunctions comes from a logical and traceable source, so will readers see that connection applied on a larger and more universal level. NASA¿s powerful technology is indeed a character in this drama. The authors¿ conscientious research shows readers the astonishing capabilities of the space center. Readers will be amazed at what their technology can do. However, the underlining theme points to an even greater source of power. The magnitude and scope of this mission highlights the intelligence of man, yet what is the source of that intelligence? The Fifth Man may be the missing link between belief and hope. (Review used by'Courtesy of Love Romances')

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2004

    An excellent sequel to Oxygen

    This sequel is as good as Oxygen. It keeps you guessing and is a real page-turner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2003

    Excellent sf

    The crew has reached its destination Mars after a harrowing near death space trip from earth (see OXYGEN). Now a new survival test begins with the crew trying to live on a planet that makes Antarctica seem like a sauna and no rescue flight possible. Nothing should be able to survive in this frozen inhabitant................................. The four member crew struggles with the harshness of life while trying to meet NASA¿s detailed expectations in which every nanosecond is booked. Meanwhile, deeply religious microbial ecologist Dr. Valkerie Jansen finds proof that life once existed on the angry red planet, but swears she has also seen a ¿fifth man¿ sabotaging their mission. No one else has seen this ET so Commander Dr. Bob Kaganovski worries that she is cracking up under the strain. Illness has hit the team too in what seems like a War of the Worlds reversal. Martian madness grips the crew, but is that why Bob cannot stop looking at Valkerie while they wonder if infected, can they go home?............................... The second book in John B. Olson, and Randall Ingermanson marvelous Martian mission, THE FIFTH MAN, is a great Christian science fiction thriller that enables the audience to feel they are living on the frozen tundra along with the crew. The exhilarating story line hooks the reader on several levels including the obvious survival adventure and whether THE FIFTH MAN exists or is imagined and if the latter who is sabotaging their chances of enduring the severity. Fans will wonder if bacteria could live on this ice cold orb while applauding the two authors for once again proving that science and religion are compatible................................. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2003

    A Solid, Believable, Gripping Hard SF Story

    This is such an excellent book - I'm guessing it is volume 2 of 3, now that we've had 'Oxygen' about getting to Mars, this book about being on Mars.... hmm, what is next? Ah, going home, of course. This is a solid, hard science story about what it might be like to be on Mars. What would be the consequences of discovering life? What are the psycho-dynamics of a mission of four people over a period of YEARS. National and international politics. And a very realistic portrayal (in this book and the last) about NASA problem solving in Apollo 13-type situations. Oh and there is romance - and moral issues of good and evil. The real shame is that this book is pretty much consigned to the 'Christian fiction' ghetto, when it should be up there scrapping for a Hugo or Nebula. I wish Bethany would cut a deal with TOR or DAW and get these books in the open market!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2003

    Mars is a Cold, Dead, Haunted Planet

    What I liked best about The Fifth Man is that it isn't 'from Mars.' In fact, I slowly began to recognize Mars, not from anything learned at the NASA Web site (although that is a good place to begin), but from my own life as a child in a cold (sometimes horribly cold) climate, where everything is reduced to surviving the cold. Only life forms equipped to survive a level of cold that is essentially anti-life will make it. Predictably, the four astronauts of the previous book, Oxygen, begin to experience the strain of such a life, now that they have ended up on Mars. They begin to imagine -- or are they imagining? -- that there is a 'fifth man' around who is doing terrible things. Could the fifth man be an extraterrestrial? Extraterrestrials might not want Earthlings bashing around Mars. Or are the astronauts slowly going mental under the strain? Think of this: If someone is on Mars, and you suspect that they have gone bush crazy, you cannot just pick them up and fly them out, the way you can fly them out of the Arctic or Antarctic. Can one person's craziness infect all the others? Or is that the answer to all the strange events? Something to think about as you read ... I won't spoil the fun by revealing the ending, but I will say that this story should appeal to sci-fi and mystery buffs alike -- as well as to fans of novels of the North.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2003

    Stranded on Mars?

    The crew is alive on Mars..for now. Getting home might be the most difficult part yet. Aside from discovering past microbial life on Mars, Valkerie is having trouble with Bob. Kennedy is being his usual paranoid self, while Lex is talking to blank walls. A mysterious illnes is striking the crew members one at a time. Without giving away all the plot, just watch out for Mars bacteria, killers for friends, NASA bean counters, and freezing to death. Ingermanson and Olson make a great team. The chraracters feel like real people who are not completely certain who their true friends are. The plot had me wondering where it would go next. I couldn't put this book down until I finished it at 2 in the morning. Excellent work, as always.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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