The battle at the galactic center had been a great victory for the Federation and the Alliance. But it had tremendous costs. The Battleship Avenger and her fleets had vanished being drawn into a great white vortex at the moment of victory. For over four years, the mystery of what had happened to the Avenger had haunted the Federation. The last two survivors of the Special Five have built a powerful exploration cruiser to go off in search of the lost fleets. They are convinced that the fleets have survived and are trapped in another galaxy. What they find in their search will be a threat to the Federation far greater than the AIs and the Hocklyns had ever been. The fate of thousands of worlds will depend on the Distant Horizon finding those that were lost and stopping this new and dangerous menace.
Raymond L. Weil starts a new story arc in The Slaver Wars universe with this book and it is a good start indeed. The book starts off four years after the events in Endgame (Slaver Wars #7) or immediately after it depending on how you see it. There are two separate threads, one from the perspective of the Alliance in our home galaxy and one from the survivors in the other Galaxy. The two threads do slowly merge together but the first one starts four years later than the other one which starts right after the defeat of the AIs.
As usual with a book that starts a new story arc this one is a bit of a stage setter. It introduces the new threat to our good guys, and in general sets up the new scenario. That does not mean it is slow though. The book do of course already have a lot going for it in that the basic universe is already there. What is new is the new enemy, the new galaxy and the new twist the plot is taking.
As always with this author there are plenty of nice combat, especially fleet action. There are also preparations, research and of course the actual search for “the lost fleet”. Actually it is fleet(s). I am sure that no one will consider it a spoiler if I write that the fleets did indeed survive the traversal through the vortex. After all, there would not be much of a book if they did not would there? However, the Alliance fleets were of course not the only fleets around at the time of the events in the last book so not only do they find themselves trapped in another galaxy but with some nice friendly (maybe ?) AIs as their fellow intergalactic travelling companions.
The book also ties together a few knots concerning the events in the previous Slaver Wars books. In particular as to why the AIs took the course of action that they did. Unfortunately these revelations also brings with them the understanding that the AIs was perhaps not the biggest, “baddest” nastiness around.
And thus the stage is set for a new good book series from Raymond L. Weil. As usual the book is well written with plausible science fiction, well done action and the same bunch of likable characters as in the previous books.
The only small despicable snake that managed to sneak into my science fiction paradise was the usual nonsense in the form of clueless politicians that managed to stick their ugly head above ground and start to advocate pulling resources from the military. Luckily this was really only mentioned almost in passing and took a very small part of the book but still. All life in the Galaxy was almost made extinct, three of the four of the AI’s proxy races are still out there and these idiots wants to declare the danger over so that they can grab the money? Politicians are like Sauropods, lots of bulk but small heads and I do not like them in books unless they get a well deserved spanking. Anyway, I am already looking forward to the next instalment in this new series.