Humanity’s first colony is a project neither the Duchy of Terra nor the A!Tol Imperium can allow to fail. The planet Hope in the Alpha Centauri system has been lavished with resources and attention—but when an unknown alien force attacks the system, all of that is in danger.
An ancient alien artifact is the apparent target of the attack, an artifact older than known galactic civilization. Suddenly, the backwater colony of a second-rate power is the gathering point for a confrontation of the galaxy’s greatest powers.
Duchess Annette Bond might be pregnant. She might be five light years away. She might have another galactic power on her doorstep demanding she surrender their rebels who’ve settled on Earth.
But she speaks for both Terra and the Imperium—and the galaxy will listen.
I pretty much read the three books in this trilogy back to back and I enjoyed them all very much. Having said that, to me, this third book was the weakest of the three.
The Terrans are consolidating their place as a member of the A!Tol imperium. They have their first colony, they are expanding their navy and as a hole they are starting to benefit from their greatly expanded technology base. All is well…until a mysterious new enemy decides to pay their colony a little unfriendly visit.
That is when the Terrans discover an ancient and extremely advanced artifact on their colony and all hell breaks loose. Said artifact are suddenly wanted by several of the “core powers”. Powers more advanced than the A!Tol. To complicate matters one of these “core powers” already have their sights set on Earth since Bond gave refuge to a group of their rebels, or rather to the descendants of these rebels. Naturally these core powers are not taking no for an answer.
The story develops into a mixture of artefact research, galactic politics and fairly spectacular space battles. On the whole a very enjoyable read.
However there are a few things that made me appreciate this book slightly less than the other. The main reason is perhaps that Bond is no longer the central hero. She is pregnant and has a Duchy to run so she is perhaps not a background figure but certainly not the center figure any more.
The author is also repeating himself a bit too much. We understood that James was a descendant of the Duke of Wellington who fought Napoleon, British nobility bla bla, the first time it was written for instance. Also, I do not mind if a few characters in the book are homosexual but not that it becomes the norm nor that it is pointed out all the time.
Anyway, it was still a enjoyable book and a good ending of the trilogy. Well, at least I think it was meant as a trilogy but maybe more books are in the making.