Protector is a direct continuation from where Intruder left off. As such, it is a tangled mess of the continued “Shadow Guild” arc plus some additional crises. Tabini and Damiri relationship has become extremely strained as a consequence of the events of the previous book, yet despite the continuing familial and political strife, Cajeiri finally gets permission for his human friends to visit him. This visit turns out to have some serious political ramifications, due in part to the atevi political climate and also due to increased tensions between Mospheirans, the ship, and the refugees from Reunion station. Continue reading
In Explorer, Bren navigates between ship/station politics and making diplomatic contact with an alien presence.
Just before the ship’s arrival at the space station, he learns the full extent of the information Ramirez withheld from both his crew and the planetary governments he had been negotiating with. It turns out that the space station was attacked as a result of Ramirez completely screwing up a first contact with the aliens he encountered. (Hint: Not replying to an attempt to communicate and then zipping for home can generally be seen as a hostile action by anyone with a brain.) Continue reading
Forge of Heaven takes place hundreds of years after the events of Hammerfall, and takes place on a space station above “Marak’s World,” a planet being “remediated” after having been bombarded from space in an effort to destroy extremely dangerous “First Movement” nanotechnology. The political and social situation in the satellite is extremely complicated, a delicate balance of three governments and two species. Our Hero is Jeremy Stafford, who prefers the name Procyon. He has a very secret, very classified job–he is one of the “taps” who communicate with the inhabitants of the planet. Specifically, he is the youngest and newest of Marak’s taps. Continue reading
In Defender, Bren comes to realize he’s been left out of the loop on some extremely delicate negotiations between Tabini and Ramirez, the executive captain of the Phoenix. He discovers this after having to attend a mysterious memorial held in honor of Tabini’s father. (The memorial is mysterious because Bren cannot quite figure out what the political purpose of the memorial was. The general theme of the memorial gives us just enough information to be extremely alarmed when we find out what is happening.) Continue reading
I read Hammerfall when it first came out in hardback. Our Hero is Marak Trin Tain, a warrior who finds himself in a mass of people being herded to “the holy city.” He is one of a group of people who have been infected by a peculiar madness that “the Ila” the immortal ruler of the holy city finds interesting. Marak Trin Tain is also someone the Ila finds interesting, and despite the fact that Marak is the son of one of her enemies she puts him in charge of an expedition to discover the source of the madness. Continue reading
Cyteen is a Hugo Award winning novel that is extremely difficult to boil down into a simple “this is what the book is about and here are the highlights.” (At least, it’s hard for me to. Someone else might find it to be easier.) There is a lot going on in this novel, with political intrigue mixing with family drama and interpersonal conflicts. (It was a lot easier to review the sequel, possibly because the sequel was much shorter in length and took place over a shorter period of time.) Continue reading
In Intruder, the political machinations continue as Bren works toward creating a lasting trade agreement (and hopefully peace) between the Western Association and the Marid, and the Marid and Ilisidi’s Eastern district. This is a very complicated tangle made even more complicated by Machigi, the lord of the Marid giving Bren a letter revealing a number of things about what had been going on behind the scenes in Deceiver and Betrayer. (That is, if anything the letter says can be trusted as accurate, since Machigi also states that some of the things he wrote in the letter are lies.) Continue reading