Netlink: Well done Science Fiction. I liked it quite a lot.


Netlink (Warstrider #5) by Ian Douglas (William H. Keith Jr.)
My rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Over twenty years have passed since the events of Warstrider: Symbionts. Contact with the DalRiss and Naga and their technology has radically altered human society, as has the constant struggle between the Hegemony and the rebel Confederation for control over the dozens of human-inhabited planets. But the Hegemony has a new technology that could suppress any resistance to Earth’s rule, and meanwhile, Dev Cameron and the DalRiss have discovered a new threat emerging from deep space that could cause the extinction of all life it encounters.

I liked reading this book quite a lot. It is good, solid, fairly hardcore science fiction with a clear focus on the science part. There is a bit of interesting, shall we say “character development”, for Dev Cameron now when he exists as a non-physical entity in the DalRiss and Naga network. Some of the old characters are back of course and a few new ones are introduced.

The book both continues the old story arc, especially the conflict between the Confederation and the Hegemony, and opens up a new one with the discovery of the “Web” mechanical entities. The book is quite well written and the scientific elements are both well done and interesting to read. When the book does not dwelve on scientific matters it usually plunges into equally well written action, mostly in the form of Warstriders of various types. There is not so much politics in this book, something that I consider to be a plus.

Overwall the book is well balanced between the various parts. It progresses steadily weaving together the two main threads into a single story. It culminates in a rather major confrontation between the humans and this new threat of the machines and a massive battle which is decided, not by military might, but by other means. I cannot say that the ending was very surprising. After all there was quite a buildup to this kind of ending. The book was originally published around 1995 so maybe it would have been felt more original then of course.

As usual, the battle may be won but the war might not be over. It will be interesting to see what happens in the sixth and, I assume, final book in the series.

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