Finished The Cold Forge
Now, it wasn't perfect.
Doctor Marsalis is someone I'm going to remember in the years to come, when I look back at the good Alien stories that have well defined protagonists and antagonists. Something that's started with Walter in Covenant for me personally and continues with Marcus in this is, a feeling that these Synthetics deserved better, they were more virtuous and humane than the humans they tried and failed to help.
I really didn't expect Seegson to play as large of a role as they did, whilst being totally compatible with the story being told- not feeling like a tie in or just a cameo, in this way it almost feels like a quasi-sequel to Alien Isolation.
If Alien Isolation is "closing the book" despite taking place between Alien and Aliens, is more appropriately viewed/played after Alien 3 is taken into context- then The Cold Forge is absolutely best read after the reader has at least experienced one of Ridley Scott's prequels.
It must be commended for really being a white-knuckle-type gripping book, especially near the end where it's using it's established use of POV changes to leave you on a never-ending stream of constant cliff hangers. Even though I have some contention with Dorian, namely the Alien admiration is becoming old hat with now individuals (David, Dr Church, Tribes Scientist-) and cults, although the latter is more tolerable, he still is excellently fleshed out and exquisitely despicable. Almost gets off too easy if you ask me, although I wouldn't rob that ending as it's written. The real gem of the story isn't really the Alien itself, but the way it causes tensions to turn to stampede and the Snatchers serve an excellent purpose in that regard, where in any moment they may shear their way through the paragraph to the character you've been following and unless you've got a magic matchstick up your sleeve, well...
The story ends satisfactorily on it's own terms and if it doesn't get a sequel, it at least deserves a hardback.