7 July 2016
This is the first in the 2nd part of the Frontiers Saga – Rogue Castes, making it Part 16 in the overall series.
Escalation was a good title for the book when you finally get through it and understand all of the nuances of the story.
7 years have passed since the end of the first series, since Humanity brought an end to hostilities with the Jung. This was achieved by the sacrifice of Nathan Scott, offering himself up in return for an end to the war.
Episode 15 had a fairly startling ending, one that was very well done, not only ending ‘Frontiers Saga Part 1’ on a high note, but leaving it open for the next part of the Saga.
And this is where we start, 7 years on. The story (no spoilers!!) covers a lot of the original characters, Jess, Cameron, Vlad, Deliza and her team, Josh and Loki, President Scott and Miri, Dumar, Lucius and the Ghatazhak, they are all accounted for. Things on the surface seemed to have moved on. Earth is trying to re-establish itself after its near total destruction. Galiardi (yes he is still around) is trying to get the Earth Defence Force up and running again, and everyone else is trying to rebuild their lives after the devastation of the first 15 episodes of the series. I won't go into individual details of stories as I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, Ryk Brown has done a fantastic job of capturing the feel of a system (all the various planets that you visit in the opening chapters) that have been ravished by war. All the characters are doing a bit better, but a lot of them are still going through the motions, they show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the war. Jess is particularly well done, in her usual bravado style, but with so much sadness over Nathan and other losses.
Even Cameron, the Captain of the Aurora, who was originally so annoyed at not being chosen for what she thought was her rightful place, now realises she was never the right person, and you get the impression she will always live in his shadow. The book moves forward, but there is a distinct feeling that someone is missing in this series, felt by the characters, and that seems to reach out to the reader as well. Ryk Brown has down a very clever job of bringing this across.
However, the galaxy just cannot stay at rest long. As per the blurb of the book, the Jung are back. I don’t want to say too much and give anything away, but needless to say, this is the opening salvo in what is sure to be another brutal set of books.
With Earth poised over numerous KKVs aimed at Jung population centres, including their homeworld, this can only go badly for both sides.
There might be some criticism about Escalation for it being a little slow, in that Brown took the time to build a solid base for the remainder of the series. This first book was about letting us know what has happened in the last 7 years, bringing us up to speed so to speak. As such, there is a lot of time spent on character development. That said, the book does not lack for action scenes either, he never disappoints with his descriptions of combat both on the ground, in the air or in space. I am always amazed at the level of detail that goes into the combat descriptions, how well written they, without being overly drawn out or ridiculously complex.
This is an excellent start to Part 2 of the Frontiers Saga, and only affirms that this is an exceptional series that you just have to read. CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE!!