Mass Effect: Retribution
Del Rey, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
The Reapers starships have entered the galaxy where earthlings have joined other alien sentient races mostly in harmony (see Revelation). These bellicose outsiders have come with one purpose in mind; “harvesting” the organic.
Few humans understand the extinction danger posed by the reapers. Cerberus leader The Illusive Man not only does, he plans to act by gaining critical insider knowledge of the deadly Reapers to prevent pandemic slaughter though few support his means. He selects his former operative Paul Grayson as his guinea pig. Paul is abducted and implanted with reaper technology so he can be studied like a rat in a lab. Ascension director Kahlee Sanders, who helped Paul rescue his daughter Gillian (see Ascension), is worried about the disappearance and asks Alliance war hero Captain David Anderson to help her investigate as she believes the outlawed evil Cerberus is behind the kidnapping. As they serendipitously sneak inside the experiment zone, Grayson is turning increasingly into a Reaper as the alien make up supersedes his humanity; leading to him being a galaxy-wide threat from within.
Obviously targeting the fans of the Mass Effect gaming universe, Retribution is a fabulous outer space thriller although it helps to have either played the games or read the previous books. The irony within the story line is that the species who The Illusive Man wants to save is the species that claims he and his Cerberus black ops agents are evil. This fun tale warns the audience to beware of science and technology with questionable ethics while also pondering whether ever the means justifies the end as Stalin said "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic", but trillions dead is neither as none will be left to mourn.