The Saga Continues, as an Emperor is seated and the threat from the Ca’cadasan Empire grows.
Sean is back, saved from the grasp of the Ancient Enemy. And the Ancient Enemy is going full bore into the heart of all the human kingdoms. The Ca’cadasan Empire has it out for the humans. Their Emperor had ordered the human species exterminated. But the humans got away, at least some of them, and established themselves ten thousand light years away in the Persius Arm. They were given a thousand years to establish themselves, but now the Ancient Enemy has found them, and they are still determined to wipe out over a trillion humans.
Those humans are not so inferior in their tech as they were, only a couple of decades behind the Ca’cadasans. And they have the Donut, the enormous space station built around a black hole, a century in the construction. The Donut generates wormholes, the one major adantage of the humans over their enemies. There are other technologies on the horizon that the canny humans hope to gain advantage from. If they can keep their Fleet together long enough in the face of a mighty foe to deploy what they hope are war winning techs. And in the capital of the New Terran Empire plots are still alive. The plots of other governments, and of humans with their own agendas. Old enemies sharpen their knives, determined to catch the humans in disarray, while new allies come in on the human side.
Will it be enough? Or will humanity be forced to flee once again?
This is another very good book in the Exodus: Empires At War series. I was actually hoping for the humans to do some fighting back in this instalment but the ground is still being prepared for any such event and this is very much “only” a stepping stone. You definitely get the impression that the war have only just begun from reading this book. Not that there is no fighting in this book though. There are plenty of it but it is all quite defensive. Actually, I would say that the humans are more doing a fighting retreat similar to what Russian armies did during the 2nd World War. Also similar to this there are pockets of resistance although this time the resistance have good help from the wormhole technology that the humans developed.
On of my complaints with the previous instalments in this series was the seemingly never-ending story of getting the heir to the throne back and getting him installed as the new emperor before the scumbag politicians (lords) got their puppet in place. Luckily this was over and done with in the first couple of chapters and Sean is indeed proving to be up to the task.
Unfortunately the Ancient Enemy is not Sean’s only enemy. Internal enemies are still lingering, scheming, plotting and generally making trouble. Not all the trouble is coming from actual enemies though. Sean have to battle selfish or simply downright stupid politicians as well since he is after all not a dictator, “just” an Emperor. Although not at all negligible this is not really taking up an enormous part of the book. Enough to add some additional thrill but not enough to make me unhappy about it.
Most of the book is spent in preparing the Empire for being able to strike back without losing too much of it or being totally overrun first. Some stabs and harassment attacks are taken against the enemies but, as I wrote above, most of the action is guerilla actions or quite defensive. If I should complain about one thing in this book is that I would have liked to see a higher percentage of space combat. There is really not that much of that in this book.
There are also some very interesting glimpses of the ancient species that once dominated this area of space and were (are) vastly ahead in terms of science and technology. They say that they will not interfere or help but will they truly not do anything? If they will not interfere, what role will they actually play?
As far as I am concerned this book easily places itself on the top ten list of books that I have read this year. It is well written, have interesting characters, plenty of action etc. It has most of what I like and little of what I do not like in a book. I am eagerly looking forward to the next.