I don’t know why, but this book really confused me. It could be that I was just too tired to be reading when I did and just didn’t concentrate enough on the book, or it just was confusing. I read this book at the same time I read all my books. It wasn’t particularly boring, so I know that it kept my interest just as other books have done, but I’m just not sure what all was going on.
I do know the Kahl are the bad guys and they are very bad. They apparently thing they are the only ones in the universe entitled to live the way they want to and every one else will bow to their will. They usually don’t take prisoners, but when they do, they are turned into slaves to do the menial work that is beneath the Kahl. They are ruthlessly military conquers and they do not like someone encroaching on their territory. And that’s just what happened in the first book. A couple of Earth archeologist were investigating a planet far away from Earth and stumbled into an ancient Kahl religious site. Once the Kahl found out about this, they were determined to kill those who would desecrate such a site regardless of who or why they did so. That’s where Earth go involved, but soon found out we were terrible outgunned.
What the two archeologist did find and kept, was a small box which appeared to be a device of some kind. They did not know what it did, but they were going to find out. Well, Earth’s military was going to find out. So, the Triton has a new mission, which was to help find an older archeologist that knew all about the Kahl and what this artifact my signify. Unfortunately, he was on a far, far distant planet which was the property of the Rhulin.
In the meantime, there exist a faction of the Kahl that are not so sure their civilization is acting in the most beneficial way. They oppose the Lord Marshal who rules with an iron fist. This faction has not only recruited other Kahl, but also people from previously conquered civilizations to their cause. They are not that strong, yet, but with the aid and leadership of the “Prophet”, they will continue to oppose the Lord Marshall’s tyrannical rule.
And, during the last encounter we read about, the Lord Marshal’s Son, General Renz, was responsible for that failed mission. He was lucky this Father didn’t have him killed for this defeat, but he’s been given a second chance to find out who is invading their territory and stop them this time. The son is not the man his Father is. He’s an arrogant, selfish, child in a man’s body and that’s not good for anyone. He wants to find the Prytins, a civilization not yet conquered, and teach them a lesson. He targets another religious site which just so happens to be the site the elder archeologist is also exploring. It seems that all the different parts of this story are converging at the same place and time.
There is another thread that has to do with the Lord Marshal getting a spy embedded with the rebels. She has just about done that, but needs one more job to convince them that she is working for their cause. She has a target that is guarded by Kahl soldiers, but after talking to her Lord Marshal, they agree that killing their own guards isn’t that big of a deal and should convince the rebels she’s truly working for them. I’m glad I didn’t have this kind of leadership when I was in the military! This thread doesn’t go very far in the book, just kind of introduces you to the idea.
There are a lot of battles going on in every part of this book. That might have been my problem with understanding what was going on. There are so many characters and so much happening all the time that it was hard for me to keep track of everybody. I recommend you not attempt to read this book if you are any where near sleepy! Still, it’s a good read, but very different for a John Walker book. He usually sticks to one and only one mission for his group of main characters. This book goes way beyond that one mission theme.
I’m sure there will be more books in this series. I believe I’ll continue to read them as long as Mr. Walker writes them!