By: Kevin J. Anderson
Caught in the middle of a titanic struggle between two alien superpowers, the factions of humanity and their allies, the Ildirans, are under siege. Can they resolve their differences to fight a common threat?
For the leader of the Roamers, survival means extending a helping hand to others, while the chairman of the Terran Hansa plans to use a new, untested alien weapon regardless of the consequences. And for the new Ildiran Mage-Imperator, survival involves throwing off the choking traditions of the Empire – even if it might trigger a civil war.
As old intrigues and dark secrets come to light, a man who is believed to be long dead returns with an ally who may save mankind. But this new fragile hope will be threatened by a fresh betrayal – the most bitter and brutal of them all…
Horizon Storms is the third installment of Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I read the second installment to the series, A Forest of Stars (review) but I love how easy it is to slip back into the universe that Anderson created. Contains some spoilers ahead!
If A Forest of Stars revealed how badly things can go for the different civilisations, Horizon Storms takes those fractures and those problems one step further. In this installment we begin to see factions emerging within the major civilisations. Some of them are on-going, like the Terran Hanseatic League and the Roamers (I’m grouping them here under the human species rather than as political entities) while others are new that threaten to tear entities apart, like within the Ildiran Empire with Jora’h’s brother Rusa’h declaring himself the true Mage-Imperator and denouncing his brother as false. At the same time groups are reaching out to each other in different ways; for example, the Roamers have reached out to the people of Theroc after their planet was almost decimated from the hydrogues’ attack on the worldforests.
What’s really fantastic reading as these shifts are taking place is not only how realistic these political maneuverings are but also the sense of danger that presses the overarching stories forward. There are characters that are being affected by these developments to one degree or another. For example, it looks like Tasia Tamblyn is in a very tight bind as a Roamer serving in the Earth Defense Forces as tensions escalate between Roamers and Hansa and I reckon things are going to get really bad for her if these tensions reach boiling point (I feel there’s still room after this novel for things to get worse before all-out fighting starts).
I did feel that some stories were moving a bit slower than others in this volume. I have a sneaking suspicion that we’re at a turning point for King Peter’s storyline, that it’s only a matter of time before he totally breaks off from Basil’s grasp and lead the way he wants to lead for the best interests of Earth. He’s learned much but it feels like it’s taking forever for him to find a way of exerting his own authority and influence. But with Basil starting to fray a bit under pressure, I think Peter will find his opening soon enough.
Speaking of which, I cannot wait to see everything backfire on Basil. For a man trying to control everything, it’s only a matter of time. I wish there was something sympathetic about him to make his fall look tragic but ehh =P
If there’s anything that irked me in this volume, it’s that we’ve gotten a few new character chapters. For the most part I don’t mind this–it’s a large universe, after all–but it felt that most of them at the end of the day didn’t really add much to the story. This might change later on in the series but in this novel, it almost felt like they were operating rather separately from the larger storylines.
Overall I highly enjoyed reading Horizon Storms, it’s another entertaining installment in the Saga of Seven Suns. People and civilisations are being pushed as events continue to escalate and I can’t wait to read how everything continues to unfold in Scattered Suns.