Deep Time (Star Carrier #6) by Ian Douglas
My rating: 7 out of 10 star
Once rebels fighting all-out civil war with The Earth Confederation, over the demands of the Interstellar Sh’daar Collective, the United States of North America is now the dominant force in negotiations with the Sh’daar. But as the Marines root out the last violent dissenters, an alien ship of unknown origin suddenly flees Earth’s orbit. Is it mere coincidence . . . or a terrifying omen?
President Alexander Koenig watches with great interest as USNA forces give chase. But upon first contact, it’s not apparent where they are headed or, terrifyingly, even when. For this bizarre species has somehow mastered the power to manipulate time itself. Now Koenig must decide whether he’s dealing with angels of astonishing technological prowess . . . or the agents of humanity’s destruction.
I am having quite some difficulties making up my mind about this one. Parts of it are really great, parts of it are not so great.
The writing in general is excellent. The authors knowledge of scientific matters is well established. When he digresses into scientific, biological or social discussions they are always quite well founded in actual science. Unfortunately here is where we encountered an issue that I have with this book. Personally I think it is way to often that the author simply stops the flow of the story to digress in something that, more or less, amount to a philosophical discussion about science, biology or sociology. It was entertaining the first few couple of times but after a while it just became too much, at least to this reader. What annoyed me in particular was that these digressions often happened in the middle of the action.
Speaking of action. This is indeed one of the strong points of this book and of this author in general. The action is excellent and well founded in science despite it being science fiction. The way the action is described and how the laws of physics impact the decisions as well as the outcome is just great.
The characters in this book is very well done, even the nasty ones. I have to say that I really, really did not like one of the nasties (and that was not the aliens) and I quite felt that this part of the book was more dragging it down than anything else. It kind of settled for the better in the end but I am still a bit put off by that part of the story.
The general story is sometimes a wee bit difficult to keep track of in the sense that it flows over both space and time. Maybe it is just me though and maybe it is because of these, previously mentioned, constant interruptions by lengthy digressions. I would not really like to put someone off by saying that the story is difficult, it just requires a bit of effort to read this book (if you want to get as much out of it as possible), that is all.
The end, well I have to say that it was a wee bit of a surprise. I fail to see how the end explains the why Sh’daar Collective tries to prevent the “singularity” but I still quite liked where the book went. Obviously I am not going to give away any spoilers but, despite a few gripes with this book, I have to say that I am really looking forward to the next book in this series now.