The sixth and final book in the Antares story arc is quite unlike any of the previous Worlds of Alderbaran books. Most of the action takes place off-world, so the usual alien flora and fauna is stripped away by the vacuum of space. In the past we’ve been disappointed when the planetary exploration is pared back, because there’s nothing Leo does better than throw deadly new life forms into the path of unsuspecting humans. Here, however, there’s so much going on that you’ll barely miss it.
Instead of wild animals and deadly plants, there are revelations, reunions and resolutions. I’m not going to go into any detail – no-one embarks on the sixth volume of a mysterious space opera like this and wants to be told what’s going to happen – but there’s discussion and diplomacy rather than the usual horror and carnage.
It’s a fitting end for the series, tying up some but not all of the plot threads. It nicely sets up further series, too, drawing a road map for the future of several key characters.
The longer, six-volume format of this series has offered a more sedate pace than previous books, though Leo has used the space to create a more detailed political backdrop, critiquing business greed and religious fanaticism as he goes.
Fans should certainly pick it up but it’s not been a great jumping-on point for those unfamiliar with the series. As usual we’d recommend that interested readers should go back and pick up the first Aldebaran book instead.