authors / book reviews

Book Review: The Gate

I’m excited to be part of launching Staci Troilo’s latest book, The Gate (under her pen name, D.L. Cross).

“If you like Ancient Aliens, this is right up your alley. Think of it as Indiana Jones meets Falling Skies. There’s travel, mystery, lore, ancient artifacts, government agents, a nefarious cabal, and (you guessed it) aliens.”

The Gate is the first of five books in the Astral Conspiracy series, part of the popular Invasion Universe. The next in the series should (hopefully) be out in Fall 2019.


He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

My Review

Dr. Landon Thorne is an archaeologist who specializes in the potential for (or presence of) alien visits to earth. But his career has been on a downhill slide for quite a while. His only published book was panned by every expert who read it and avoided by the rest. He couldn’t get a job because he was considered a ‘nut’ and the one friend who did hire him to teach history at a private college eventually fired him because Landon wouldn’t stop sharing his alien theories as part of the history syllabus. Even the girlfriend he considered a soulmate–the only one who really believed in him and his work–turns out not to be what she seemed.

As he wonders what to do, alien invaders are detected five days away from landing on Earth. Suddenly, Thorne is in demand by both the U.S. government and other nefarious characters intent on using his knowledge of aliens for their own purposes, specifically, what he might know about an Earthly portal to outer space. But there’s more to it than simply decoding alien invaders. He must also unravel a mysterious secret that has been hidden away since the mid 1940’s. Turns out, Thorne may be the only one with the key to both.

The Gate starts fast and never lets up. There are a couple of really clever twists that I won’t reveal but they made this a satisfying read. And this is just the beginning. The books ending is simply the start of the next phase. Highly recommended for fans of sci fi and alien plots. Rating: 5/5!

Where to purchase

Kindle or Paperback:

Universal Purchase Link | More Information | Invasion Universe Newsletter

Social Media




Amazon Author Page:


About the Author

D.L. Cross (Staci’s pen name) has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website:

Find out more about the author at her blog, Staci Troilo.


I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Gate, Book 1 of the Astral Conspiracy series in the Invasion Universe.

“Use all your words,” Dev said.

“He was on the jet they flew me here in.”

“So you saw him. What’s he look like?” Dev asked.

Landon shook his head. “I had a hood over my head. Then they knocked me out. But later they mentioned he’d been on the plane. And Wolf said if I was able to open the gate, his boss was going to come and see what we found for himself.”

Nadia shook her head. “That doesn’t mean anything. This guy clearly has resources. He could be long gone by now.”

“Maybe.” Dev stared at the gate for a moment, then he turned back to her. “Not that I wasn’t thrilled to see you, but what are you doing here? I thought you and Zegarra were looking for something.”

“We were.”

“Did you find it?”

She didn’t answer.

“Okay. Well, where’s he?”

“He won’t be joining us.” She turned away from Dev and looked at Landon. “So, are you ready to use the disc?”

He shrugged. It hardly seemed like it mattered anymore.

“Landon, this is what we came for. A doorway to the aliens, or at least a way to talk to them. I’m sorry if you blame yourself for any of this. None of it is your fault, but me telling you so won’t change how you feel. I can’t change what happened. Neither can you. But you can control what happens next. Think how bad you’ll feel if you do nothing and discover next week or next month or next year that putting this disc in that slot could have made all the difference in how we are treated by the aliens.”

As much as he hated to admit it, she had a point. Landon couldn’t bring Eduardo or any of his family back, but he might be able to stop more deaths in the future. He held out his hand. “Give me the disc.”

She placed the artifact in his hands. It felt right there. Comforting. Sturdy. Familiar.

He walked over to the T-shaped gate and stared at the circular carving. The lock for the key he held.

Landon glanced back at the agents. Dev chewed on his lip. A bead of sweat dripped down his temple. Nadia’s face glowed. Her smile was so wide, it was almost maniacal. She nodded.

Turning back to the gate, he took a deep breath. The Solar Disc shook in his trembling fingers, so much that he struggled to seat it in the carving. Finally, it slid into place. A perfect fit.

A low rumbling sounded from deep within the rock structure.

Then blue light poured from the outline of the door.

#bookrelease #scifi

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, The Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning


146 thoughts on “Book Review: The Gate

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Posts — and Most Commented — for 2021 |

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Posts — and Most Commented — for 2020 | WordDreams...

  3. Pingback: 2 GREAT Sci Fi Novels | WordDreams...

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Book Reviews in 2019 | WordDreams...

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Posts — and Most Commented — for 2019 | WordDreams...

  6. Pingback: D.L. Cross Visits Jacqui Murray with a #BookExcerpt from THE GATE #scifi #aliens – Staci Troilo

  7. This sounds like a fantastic read. Thanks for sharing your review, Jacqui. I have this waiting for me on my ereader and this makes me desperate to get around to reading it! 😊

    Liked by 3 people

      • I’m really not privy to their marketing efforts, but I know the original series built up a following and the publishing company sends them announcements with every release. So there is a built-in readership. Plus, we have story meetings all the time and a forum where we can discuss our work 24/7, so we’ve all been able to hide little Easter eggs in our stories from each other’s works, which entertains readers who crossover into other authors’ stories. I wish I knew more of the behind-the-scenes efforts, but I know writing this has been fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like an interesting story for the conspiracy theorists, Jacqui. You gave it a good recommendation. I think I’ll wait for the movie, which is where I get most of my sci-fi and aliens. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.