Alexander has founded the Terran Empire, Humankind’s dream of ascending to the stars is a reality. Yet even as Alexander retires from the brewing political battles of the new empire, the Galactics are plotting to bring down the fledgling Terrans. Alexander discounts the Galactics, until Chem, the greatest of the Galactic Empires becomes embroiled in civil war. Alexander’s old enemy Bureel rebels against the Elder, seeking to lead Chem into a new age of expansion and glory; his goal is the death of Alexander and his prize is Terra.
This is a book that I enjoyed very much despite it perhaps being quite a bit implausible. Let us be clear about it. This book is pure fiction of the style you would normally find in fantasy book. It is certainly not a book for hard-core sci-fi fans. At least not if they care much about the science part of it because there is really not very much of that in these books.
Already when I read the first book I came to think about Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter series of books. Just like in those books the hero is ripped from his home planet, thrown into a strange world on intrigue and adventure. He can alternate between dinner chatting, amazing speeches before the “senate” and killing just about anything, dinosaurs included, with knifes and swords if need be. Unlike John Carter, these books are further into the future though and the scene is not bound to a planet but the entire Galaxy.
I had some issues with the first book in that I found the background story with the entire Galaxy trembling in fear of another Alexander The Great coming to power on the backwater, underdeveloped planet Earth. This book tries to tone that down a little in explaining that the alien race, the Scythians, created and built that myth for their own purposes. It is still a bit dodgy to say the least but it is something I am willing to overlook for this type of book.
Normally I am not at all very happy about books containing a lot of political intrigue and treachery and this book has quite a big share of that. However I did not really mind it here. Perhaps that is because it somehow feels too far detached from any real situation. It is the kind of grandiose fantasy style politics with speeches of battle and honor, or the lack thereof, that we find in this book. Also the bad-guy-politicians do get their behinds slapped which makes it easier to digest of course. Naturally Alexander is as good at this as he is at combat or fleet strategy. Not that there is any lack of action in this book. It has its fair share of that as well.
As I said, I found this book very enjoyable. To me this is the kind of likable old-fashioned adventure story with fairly stereotypical heroes, bad guys and “fair ladies”in distress (although the latter ones are quite a bit more capable than the screaming-for-help-from-the-castle-tower ones that the stereotypes dictate) that lets you escape the everyday reality for a couple of hours.