At Empire’s Edge
William C. Dietz
Ace, Oct 6 2009, $24.95
The Uman Empire has never been challenged by any of their conquests as they increasingly rule the stars; colonizing planets along the way. However, recently a planet has been found containing violent prone shape-shifters; to control the nasty Sagathis, the Uman scientists biologically reengineered a special forces unit the Xeno Corps who has the skill to see past the bodily changes into the essence of these aliens.
A battle with the Vord forced a Xeno Corps ship escorting a captured Sagathi to land on former prison planet Dantha for repairs. The crew including Jak Cato gets smashingly drunk. When Jak regains consciousness with a splitting headache, he learns to his horror that every other Xeno cop he served with was slaughtered during the night. Filled with survivor guilt and fueled by rage, Jak vows to hunt down and kill everyone involved with the slaughter especially the person who betrayed them.
This is an entertaining police procedural (loosely that is) space opera for fans who relish blood, gore and blood. The story line is fast-paced as Jak and the villains emote overly dramatic while bystanders are killed at an alarming rate. Fans who enjoy a blood-spattered science fiction thriller will want to read the first of a two part saga as William C. Dietz provides an exciting but out of control opening act.