1/09/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: TOR/Forge. 412 page hardback. Price: $26.99 (US), $31.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-1904-3.
check out website: www.tor-forge.com
With the death of the Unincorporated Man, Justin Cord, in the second book, The Unincorporated War’, JD Black is far too busy as admiral to become president of the Asteroid Alliance in the war against the Earth Forces. The solution is to resurrect and restore to full healthy vigour with the help of some nanobots, one of Cord’s colleagues, Sandra O’Toole, and make her President. The council from the future see Sandra as more a figurehead than someone who can think for herself and don’t really know what they’ve let themselves in for. During her education, she discovers that the AI avators are sentient and gets their co-operation. Sandra also discovers that as they were responsible for educating modern humans that they had inadvertently created their own monsters from them. She cuts a deal with them as a second military unit and increases her own power base.
Black, meanwhile, is involved in a cat-and-mouse game with her opposite number, Trang, in a space war where the only way to win is to do things that are least expected. Things aren’t helped very much with the Earth President, Hektor Sambianco, ordering things done that would make Hitler seem like a nice guy. If anything, the similarities to Nazism isn’t too far from the mark as the template here with the extremes he orders. Sambianco thinks he must win the war or see Earth’s powerbase diminished.
Much of this book is taken up with the space war strategy and body counts become purely numbers. Even the occasional personal moment tends to ignore the fact that millions of people have been killed with no means of resurrecting them. Even more astonishing, the original reason for what started the war, people not owning the shares in other people is now conveniently forgotten, making this just another space opera which is a shame because it was such a strong element in the first novel.
Having said that, Sandra O’Toole is a delightful character who is unravelling what is going on and proving she isn’t an empty figurehead. Even Black becomes fearful of her power base developing. Having a contemporary human in a future world means that that are references to our times and the Kollin brothers have done this from Spider-Man to Star Wars and Doctor Who which is to be expected.
Despite my criticisms, this is still an interesting book series and better still, you can’t predict what will happen in the book to follow, which is always a good thing. Just be careful where you decide to live.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA