Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Lost Colony

The Lost Colony by Vaughn Heppner

The fourth entry of author Vaughn Heppner’s Lost Starship series opens with Admiral Fletcher and Lord High Admiral Cook conversing about battles that occurred at the end of the prior book, with the former tasked with fighting the antagonistic New Men. The action then advances seven months later, with the New Men taking advantage of whom they term “sub-men,” with the Methuselah Man Strand and New Man Pa Kur further plotting, the latter leading a Seven, the New Men’s equivalent of a sub-man’s squad, and taking over a Commonwealth vessel.

The action ultimately moves to Captain Maddox, who is at a casino and confronts whom he at first suspects to be fellow humans, only to discover them to be androids, with this particular plot point prevalent throughout the story, the captain himself suspected to be an android. Maddox receives a holoimage communication from Professor Ludendorff, who tells him to visit the Xerxes System. Sergeant Riker, in the meantime, worries for his friend and superior, with the Adok AI of the starship Victory, Galyan, working on getting clearance to a restricted area Dr. Dana Rich is visiting, as well.

Riker too receives a holoimage communication from the professor, with Maddox imprisoned in an underwater prison facility below what used to be Greenland, damaged ecologically by nuclear warfare in the past. His companions plot to break him out and regain control of the Victory, with the protagonists eventually finding themselves far from the Solar System thanks to a wormhole, transported near a Dyson sphere that holds key to the mysteries of the Builders, an ancient civilization. The franchise’s secondary antagonists, the Swarm, also receive some elaboration, the captain eventually meeting the leader of the Builders.

An epilogue settles the fates of the characters after the book’s main events, ultimately accounting for a satisfying read with plenty of thrills sure to satisfy most fans of the science-fiction genre. As before, however, there are some parallels to the Star Trek franchise, such as the genetic supermen, and the author could have again named the hereditary superiors something other than “the New Men.” Many of the twists later on in the story also seem somewhat redundant and predictable, although this reviewer definitely enjoyed the fourth installment and would recommend it to readers who liked its precursors.

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