Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Lost Destroyer

The Lost Destroyer by Vaughn Heppner

The third entry of author Vaughn Heppner’s Lost Starship science-fiction series opens with the franchise’s eponymous space vessel Victory in an ion storm, in the middle of which someone launches a jumpfighter from the ship. The book tests the loyalties of Professor Ludendorff, with protagonist Captain Maddox inquiring Doctor Dana Rich about her past mutiny against the scientist, who has a fixation on ancient aliens like those who had constructed the Victory. Its crew attempt to return home to Earth to inform their officers of the victories against the New Men in the Tannish and Markus Systems.

In the meantime, aliens are attempting to subdue the Wahhabi Caliphate, the space systems controlled by the Muslim nations of Earth, and the Victory diverts from its earthbound destination, the professor warning about a threat greater than the New Men. Furthermore, New Man agent Kane is undergoing rehabilitation punishment for failing to aid his superiors sufficiently, with another enigmatic group of ancient aliens, the Builders, coming into mention, with their drones attacking the Victory. Kane ultimately frees himself from rehab and plots a commando raid against the Nerva Tower in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Earth.

Maddox and his crew continue to explore the nooks and crannies of the Victory and ponder over a silver egg-shaped object the professor procures during the novel’s events, with the vessel’s alien artificial intelligence Galyan helping occasionally. When the Captain and his companions finally return to Earth, they receive warning of a doomsday device headed for the planet. A few twists about the professor, and Octavian Nerva, suspected of espionage against Earth, has his tower stormed by marines. The remainder of the story focuses on the battle against the cataclysmic device and its aftermath.

Overall, the third entry of Heppner’s series is on par with its predecessors, which is a good thing as it has plenty of action, mystery, and twists, although again, he could have come up with a more original name for the superhuman antagonists other than “the New Men,” and the various Star Trek television series and movies are an obvious source of inspiration for the science-fiction author. Even so, some of what many consider the highest forms of art are in some cases derivative, so one can definitely excuse the slight unoriginality of the sci-fi series, and those who enjoyed its precursors will definitely find The Lost Destroyer to be an engaging yarn.

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