The V’Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species—save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp.
Now that the Salik’s ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li’eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon—a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li’eth’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction…
This book is more about politics and social interaction than most of the other books in the First Salik War as well as Theirs Not to Reason Why series of books from this author. As such it falls a bit outside of my comfort zone which is why I was surprised at how much I actually liked this book.
Jackandra MacKenzie is sent to the V’Dan homeworld in the capacity of both military commander and ambassador for Earth with the mission to negociate a treaty between V’Dan and Earth. The mission is complicated by the fact that the V’Dan are stuck in a very traditional mind-set and, in particular, views the people from Earth as children due to the absence of the markings that all V’Dan gets when they come into puberty.
Although there are some action, especially towards the end, the majority of the book revolves around the negotiations, the social interactions and the political games. I would normally not have liked a book with so much focus on these parts but I have to say that I quite liked this one.
The mixture of the social and political parts with the psychic abilities of Jackandra, the Gestalt between Jackandra and Li’eth and perhaps the fact that, for once, it is not Earth politicians that behaves arrogantly and screws things up made for a very enjoyable read as far as I am concerned. Well there is one exception to what I just wrote. One Earth human manages to screw things up due to his arrogance and bigotry but he does get what he deserves afterwards.
Although the Earthlings are technologically inferior in many aspects they do excel in some areas, especially their psychic abilities, and the V’Dan are in for a few surprises along the way. Unfortunately, as I wrote above, they have a very traditional (arrogant) mind-set and insists on viewing and treating the Eartlings as inferior which makes Jackandra’s task quite difficult. Jackandra is not the person that takes any shit though and puts the V’Dan in their proper place on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately the Salik have their own (lunch) agenda which it can be safely stated is not exactly including the well being of neither the V’Dan nor the Earthlings. They manage to throw quite a bit if gravel into the machinery towards the end causing the more short sighted, bigoted and downright stupid V’Dan to, temporarily I hope, screw things up even more. It is safe to say that the book ends in a bit of a cliff-hanger and in a dire situation for the continued relations between V’Dan and Earth.
The book is well written with quite enjoyable characters in the same style as the first book as well as the books in the Theirs Not to Reason Why series. This means that, in addition to the negotiations and action, there are some mysteries, ancient prophecies and people that have been hanging around for hundreds (thousands?) of years to spice things up.
I am quite looking forward to the next book in the series.