The First Salik War is underway, and the Alliance is losing—their newest allies must find a way to win, or everyone will be slaughtered.
Though committed to helping their V’Dan cousins, the Terrans resent how their allies treat them. The V’Dan in turn feel the Terrans are too unseasoned to act independently. And the other nations fear that ending the Salik War means starting a Human Civil War.
Even as Imperial Prince Li’eth and Ambassador Jackie MacKenzie struggle to get their peoples to cooperate, they still face an ethical dilemma: How do you stop a ruthless, advanced nation from attacking again and again without slaughtering them in turn?
This book takes of right after the cliffhanger ending of the second book in the trilogy, The V’Dan. It is a fairly good ending to the trilogy. As usual with prequels my enthusiasm for the book is somewhat dampened by the fact that you already know the future and what will ultimately happen to the Salik. Still, it is a enjoyable and read worthy book.
As with the previous installment in the series there is a lot of focus on the cultural differences between the humans and the V’Dan and the difficulties created by the V’Dan’s stubbornness in viewing the humans as children due to the lack of the “Jungen marks”. The spoiled and bigoted V’Dan princess managed to screw things up rather dramatically at the end of the previous book and at the beginning of this book she is none the wiser. I actually found this character the most despicable of the characters in the book, including the Salik. Luckily, although not very surprising, there are wiser V’Dan’s around and with their efforts the reign of the princess becomes a short one.
Although a lot of the book revolves around cultural issues there is quite a lot of action as well, both in space and on the ground. This is not exactly hard core science fiction so the technology part and tactics are somewhat on the simple side but still good enough. The action is spiced up by the psychic powers of Jackie and Li’eth as well.
There are some annoying moments. For instance when the humans and the V’Dans have to fight to make some of the other galactic species accept the fact that they are separate nations.
On the whole this book is, as I wrote before, a enjoyable and read worthy book although I have to say that the original Theirs Not to Reason Why series was definitely better as far asI am concerned.