I think this is the first time I’ve rated one of Jay Allan’s books less than 5 stars! But, I certainly did this time. Oh, this book was just fine, but can he every drag out a story! My goodness! If everyone did the kind of sole-searching, re-thinking, and self-doubt that everyone, including the computers, did in this book, nothing would ever get done! And that’s what this book is about. Every little doubt of action that anyone takes is thought about and thought about with people asking themselves constantly, “Should I have done that?”. It really got to the. point that I was reading very fast hoping to eventually get to the end of the story!
What this book is about, is the end of either the civilization on Earth Two or the end of the dreaded enemy, the Regent. Max Harmon is the self imposed dictator of Earth Two since as long as anyone can remember. He is the leader of a very maddening bunch of people who had decided to split themselves in numerous different camps. I won’t go into explaining all the various factions, you’ll read about them in the book, but it really boils down to when the Mules, the highly intelligent, built to order humans, will take over and rule the planet. It seems that Max Harmon is constantly waiting for someone to dispose him and he thinks it will be the Mules led by Achilles, his Mule friend and current leader of the Mules. But, of course, Achilles has no intention of taking over and even if he did, he wouldn’t do so until they had defeated the Regent. Still, Achilles was worried about the younger Mules who was slipping out from his control. He didn’t know if they were planning on overthrowing Max Harmon in the immediate future or if they were going to put something right at the most inopportune moment. So, he fretted about this constantly, over and over.
Now, back to Max Harmon. If he wasn’t worrying about the Mules taking over, he was worrying about the Regent and when he would attack Earth Two or if they would be able to find the Regents home planet so they could destroy him/it. He also worried if he was treating his wife, Mariko, fairly by not stepping down from his position. He kept saying he would some day, but she knew he wasn’t going to until he probably died. I didn’t read about Max Harmon doing anything but sitting around worrying! I he also kept repeating that he was very old. That must have been written over a hundred times in this book. Every time he did something, it was noted that he was very old, yet towards the end of the book, he was doing better than a lot of his highly trained warriors.
Then there was the Regent, a machine, a very highly intelligent machine that was obviously insane. His or its main objective was to wipe out these inferior humans so he could reign supreme over the entire universe of…nothing? Not sure what it really figured it would do once the humans were gone. It did build a large fleet and thousands of robots, but that was only to defeat the humans in this universe. If he did when, what then? Well, it actually didn’t worry much about that, but it did worry about every action it did and was going over every one of those actions constantly second-guessing that it should have done something different. This is a machine. I doubt that it would be wasting computing power to worry about what it had already done!
So that’s what the book is mostly about. Worrying. Well, there are some pretty significant battles taking place. It just so happens that the humans and the Regent find each other’s home planet at about the same time. Now, it’s a race to see which can destroy the other first. I think the humans would have had an easier time of it, if they had simply carried some hand grenades with them to the Regents home planet. Apparently they didn’t because all they seemed to use were their rifles and pistols. Not have hand grenades was stupid and got a lot of people killed needlessly! Then there’s the missing “super weapons” that the Mules were supposed to have been working on at the end of the last book. I believe it was mentioned that they had developed a new rail gun which would out distance the Regents current weapons. Why wasn’t it placed on any of the new humans starships? There were other secret developments made by the Mules, but other than the cloaking device, we didn’t seem much of that either. It think the humans were about to advance their technology a lot faster than the Regent, but it didn’t show up in the books.
Still, I liked the story, but I knew how it would end and that probably was why it seemed to drag on forever. Jay Allan is a great writer and I won’t ding him for one book out of the many, many he has written. If you read through the first five books in this series, you’re just going to have to read this book, but get ready for an epic, long drawn-out affair. That’s all there is to it!