Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Lost Earth

 The Lost Earth by Vaughn Heppner

The seventh installment of author Vaughn Heppner’s Lost Starship series opens with the main antagonists, the Swarm, prepared to launch the greatest invasion ever into Human Space. The main chapters open with Sergeant Treggason Riker intoxicated, having an encounter with a suicidal Spacer that ultimately lands him in an insane asylum. Seven days later, his superior, Captain Maddox, investigates the incident on his home, even thinking about prying into the private files of the Brigadier, who shows him the retained Riker, raving that ships known as the Destroyers are luring the Swarm.

Maddox eventually agrees with Professor Ludendorff to visit a planet he and Strand frequented, with nuclear missiles encountered along the way. They find a desert world once oceanic and more populous, its residents known as the Fishers, with conflicts against the Spacers following, the Spacers themselves led by a woman known as the Visionary, who demands the unconditional surrender of the ancient Adok starship known as the Victory. Another entity called the Ska plays part, with the capacity to drive those whose minds it infiltrates insane, and is consequentially feared by Maddox and his allies and the Swarm.

Fights against the Swarm first erupt in Tau Ceti space, after which comes conflict near the Solar System, with this entry of the series generally action-packed and accounting for a satisfying conclusion that will leave readers wanting more. As with prior entries, there are some stylistic choices the author made with which this reviewer disagrees, such as the terming of supermen “the New Men,” not to mention one of the Swarm leaders as “the Reigning Supreme.” As with most literary series, moreover, readers will very likely want to start from the beginning, and will likely appreciate the course of the series when they reach this particular installment.

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