The Empire by Elizabeth Lang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Science-fiction thriller (per author); military sci-fi/space opera (per me) Reading Level: Adult
Disclosure: I received a free eBook copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Humanity is in danger of annihilation as a centuries old war with the Andromedans heats up again. The Empire, an increasingly totalitarian society, is the only force that stands in the gap.
Thrust into this chaos of alien invasion, rebellion, and political intrigue, Lieutenant Adrian Stannis is caught between the ends and the means. No one knows why this brilliant scientist chooses to hide himself in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, doing research on an insignificant science vessel. His days of anonymity may soon be coming to an end, whether he wants it to or not.
Adrian's freedom, and his very survival may depend on friends he's afraid of having. Kali, a psi-enabled humanoid who is the only person he gets along with, just barely, and Bryce, his personal assistant and one-time conman and thief, may be his only hopes, if he doesn't push them away, not to mention a mystery surrounding him that may explode in their faces.
Everyone wants to know the truth, but will it set them free?
My Thoughts: My deepest apologies to the author for taking so long to get to this book!
Wow, the Empire is a real piece of work. While many of the actions of the people involved are understandable once you know their motivations, and while there are many good people involved in the Empire, it also seems rather... dictatorial. I mean, the clenched fist and all, it’s rather obvious that the Empire is not meant to be a warm, fuzzy entity. And then you run across people like High Admiral Gretchen van Ruinationofallmankind (or that should be her name). Man, that’s one cold woman. Speaking of the characters, Ms. Lang did a wonderful job of developing the characters – even fairly minor ones like Ture, the computer lab tech, were developed enough so you felt like you knew them. Adrian was an enigma – intellectually brilliant, socially so backward one would think he had Asperger’s, but we learn the truth eventually, and it is much more chilling. Then there is Sester, the psychostrategist...
The psychostrategist reminded me of a character in a Timothy Zahn book I read a few years back, who also had an uncanny ability to read people and reach conclusions that seemed as if he were reading their mind. However, in Zahn’s book, Deadman Switch, the talent was used for a different purpose than the psychostrategists’ purposes, so the story itself really isn’t similar, despite the similar genre and all – it just reminded me of the book because of the similar abilities and the similar themes about protecting people from unscrupulousness. Excellent book if you can find it, by the way.
There are a few editing issues in this book; it could have done with another go-over by a line-editor. It wasn’t as bad as some I’ve seen, but it definitely did need some work in that way. However, the story itself was gripping, the character development was terrific, and the flow was very well-done.
Fans of military science-fiction and space opera should enjoy this book, although it is left somewhat unfinished. That’s not terribly surprising, since she plans for this to be the first book of a trilogy, to be followed by The Rebels and The Andromedans. I can’t find information about exactly when it will be released, but you can find more at her website: here. She describes her book as a mixture of romance, intrigue and humor in a science-fiction thriller, but there are enough battles and action in this book to appeal to readers who prefer the military/space opera form of sci-fi, like I do myself, while the romance is there but not overwhelming, and there is enough humor to break up the tension. Definitely check this one out, and keep an eye open for the upcoming releases.
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