Saturday, January 21, 2012

Crucible of Empire-Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth

Crucible of Empire

Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth

Baen, Feb 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451638042

A few years ago years ago the Jao invaders conquered the Earth (see The Course of Empire). The two species began forging a united kochan clan. Former resistance fighter Gabriel Tully commands Baker Company whose prime mission is to negotiate a peace between his former resistance allies and the Jao. He attends a briefing concerning the NGC 7293 nebula where three Krant vessels investigated strange data; they encountered hostility with the giant arachnid Ekhat species which ended with the enemy destroyed but the Krant ships not in much better shape.

Terra Governor Aille and Preceptor Ronz assign the Lexington to take Jao and humans to the sector where the Ekhat has violently surfaced and a third race was involved in the recent battle. Jao Captain Danner krinnu ava Terra commands the ship; but she is not in charge of the mission. Instead Wrot krinnu ava Terra runs the mission with Caitlin Kralik as the diplomat to deal with the unknown race and Tully and his unit enhanced by the Krant survivors provide military support against the Ekhat. His team destroys four Ekhat ships with a surviving vessel crippled in orbit around a star; only to learn the Lleix who the Jao assaulted in a previous encounter are on board.

As with the first science fiction “Empire” thriller, the sequel focuses on the species with a deep look at the Jao (especially on board the Lexington) and somewhat the Ekhat. The storyline also introduces a fourth sentient race with its own shtick. Although there is some reiterative commentary that slows down the outer space encounters, fans will enjoy traveling on the Lexington as the combined Jao-human crew go into combat and diplomacy.

Harriet Klausner

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