The Empire is in chaos. The once-great Imperial Navy has been shattered in battle and lies burning in space, riven by a civil war that threatens to engulf humanity’s future. For the revered Eternal Emperor is not the man his subjects thought him to be—and may not even be human at all. And it is Sten—Imperial bodyguard, spy, assassin, renegade—who now leads humanity’s fight for survival. Taking command of the last rebel fleet, he sets out on a desperate quest to seek and destroy the dark source of his former master’s power. Denounced as a traitor, hunted by forces loyal to the Emperor, Sten must risk everything to annihilate the Empire he vowed to protect.
It was a bit easier for me to read this book than it was with the previous book in the series. This is probably because of the initial disappointment of The Eternal Emperor going bananas and the empire going down the drain had already sunk in with the last book and I was more prepared for that this time. Quite honestly, this is a book that I more or less read only to have completed the series so my expectations were not that high.
The book is just as well written as the previous books, the parts with Sten and his colleagues and friends as enjoyable as always, Kilgour’s supposedly Scottish dialect as annoying and unreadable as before and the parts with the emperor and his cronies as depressing as in the last book.
The path of the story had pretty much been laid out in the previous books so there where bot really much surprises there. The flashback bit where you got to follow the original Emperor on the journey to finding AM2 and how he became “eternal” in the first place could have been interesting to read but the way it kind of popped up in the middle of the book it more felt like it was interrupting the story. It was really detailed and, to me, it felt more like it was there as a filler to get the page count up more than anything else.
I think it was a quite said ending of the series and I cannot say that I liked it very much. The Eternal Emperor, when he still had all his grey cells working, was one of the colorful characters that I really liked in the earlier books and I felt that it took away a lot of the fun in these books when he went cruel and paranoid. Again, the book was not really bad but it was not really much to my liking. I think the rating I have given is a compromise between the actual qualities of the book and my dislike for the path the story took.