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Deathstalker Coda by Simon R. Green

01/02/2009. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

Buy Deathstalker Coda in the USA - or Buy Deathstalker Coda in the UK

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pub: ROC. 278 page hardback. Price: $23.95 (US), $35.00 (CAN). ISBN: 0-451-46011-1.

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The front covers of Simon R. Green's 'Deathstalker' novels always proclaim in bold type that he is a 'New York Times bestselling author.' Whenever I come across his work, I always wonder how he managed that feat.

'Deathstalker Coda' is the last of the author's series of space operas following Owen and Lewis Deathstalker and their outlandish collection of companions as they grow ever more powerful to combat ever bigger foes. In this final book, the heroes face peril on two fronts. The Terror, a giant multi-dimensional monster devouring worlds, is revealed to be the psychic collapse of Owen's lost love, Hazel D'Ark and Owen must travel back in time to stop her devouring the galaxy.

Meanwhile, the other characters including Lewis Deathstalker, singing diva Jesamine Flowers, cowardly rogue Brett Random, psycho killer Ruby Saturday and usurped King Douglas all join forces to overthrow the evil Emperor Finn Durandal. Finn grows steadily more insane as his attempts to control the galaxy are resisted by humanity and he resorts to ever more barbaric measures to retain his powers.

Green produces forgotten characters every few chapters in an attempt to tie up loose ends and some chapters have enough plot events for entire books. Entire populations of cities and worlds are slaughtered on a frequent basis for no apparent reason and the book seems to be forever searching to beat its own excesses.

Lines involving creaking leather from swelling bosoms don't exactly help this feeling of over-charged testosterone. Green displays the occasional imaginative piece of world-building and some of the fight scenes are enjoyable but much of the rest is crass. The often ungainly omniscient point of view and irregular pacing constantly jars the reader and some of the conversations are laughable.

The storyline is readable thanks to its fast pace and you could never argue that there's not enough happening. The overall effect is of being hit with a sledgehammer, much alike to watching a Jean Claude Van Damme action film - all action and innuendo with no subtlety.

There must be a reason why Green has found success with his 'Deathstalker' novels but I struggle to find it. 'Coda' tries to squeeze in endings to all the ridiculous plotlines of the series and the result is a mess of confused viewpoints, rushed battle sequences and school humour. Stay well clear.

Tomas L. Martin

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