Betrayer of Worlds
Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
Tor, Oct 12 2010, $25.99
The Puppeteers sort of lead the mass exodus of the “Fleet of Worlds” away from the supernova spreading increasingly wider at an accelerating speed from the galaxy’s core. Even in flight, some choose fight. Achilles though humiliated with his failed machinations proving embarrassing still believes he is destined to rule the Puppeteer worlds.
The feral genocidal Pak also flees the core; they willingly stop to attack other species especially the weak Fleet of Worlds running for their lives. The Gw’oth whose technological advances in the past two centuries (local time) is impossible yet continues to exponentially grow; they stand in the way of the fleeing Fleet of Worlds. Finally, the rebellious pathetic humans on Nature Preserve Four embarrass the cowardly Puppeteers as these apes are barely out of the caves. Desperation breeds strange bedfellows as insane Puppeteer scout Nessus recruits pill addicted human prisoner Wu and joins with megalomaniac Achilles to forge a partnership to end the war of all wars between three diverse alien races at a time when everyone needs to herd together to leave the galaxy post haste.
The latest prequel saga to the Ringworld Known Space science fiction series (see Destroyer of Worlds) is a strong complicated entry (even with a glossary, names are a mess to follow) as four sentient species are on the verge of when worlds collide. Ironically in spite of the obvious superiority of the three alien races, the human Wu and the insane puppeteer Nessus understand that cooperation is the only means of survival with the supernova coming; as either all four races endure together or die. Fans will enjoy learning why Wu was wooed years later in Ringworld as Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner provide a strong entry; newcomers need to at least read the prequel tales like Juggler of Worlds to ascertain the galaxy meltdown.