Refuge

Refuge Omnibus Edition
(Refuge #1-5)
by Jeremy Bishop

Refuge, New Hampshire, is a small town. When thee Baptist church’s bell starts ringing—on its own, things change. The air shimmers. The night-time sky fills with a burning red aurora. The moon, previously a crescent, is now full. And just hours after dusk, the sun returns to the sky, revealing an endless desert where there was once a mountainous pine forest. Somehow, the town is in another place (or dimension)

This is five separate novellas merged into a single volume. The core characters remain, but with each episode, new characters emerge. With each ringing of the bells, the location of Refuge changes. There are five different stories of action, adventure and horror:

Book 1: Night of the Blood Sky
Book 2: Darkness Falls (with Daniel Boucher)
Book 3: Lost in the Echo (with Robert Swartwood)
Book 4: Ashes and Dust (with David McAfee)
Book 5: Bonfires Burning Bright (with Kane Gilmour)

It’s not clear how the authors collaborated, but the writing throughout is consistent and feels mainly like Robinson.

The advantage is that you get a long book (155k words) and plenty of story. The disadvantage is that while there is continuity between episodes, they don’t accumulate to a satisfying ending. There are also far too many characters and it can be difficult to remember them all. Still, there is plenty of invention and  interest to keep you reading to the end.