I have read a lot of Isaac Hooke books and for the most part, they are pretty good if not long in the series. His “Argonauts” series, has just about run its course so I guess it was time to start something new. Well, here it is and it’s a very long first book in a “quadrilogy” which is a term that I haven’t seen before. In fact, my spell checker doesn’t have a clue as to if it’s spelled right. So, if a quadrilogy is what I think it is, there are three more books in this series. Of course I would have known that if I had looked inside the book to his list of previously written works. The titles of the next three books are clearly shown.
Now that brings me to a problem. I’m not sure I’m going to continue reading this particular series. The writing was fine, it’s just that I don’t go in for the mystical stuff that can be part of a writer’s universe. In this book, we have a young hydroponics engineer who has a modest and boring life on the city of Kalindor on the planet Galtede Serpentis. Yes, humanity has gone far, far from Sol and our small universe. We have colonized and settle entire universes other that our original and have found that things are not as stable as they once were. It is the year 3134 and our main character, Tane Ganeth, has just gotten his “chip” implanted in his cerebral cortex, which would make him permanently connected to the Galnet and all the information in the universe. It was something every young adult coming of age did if they had the necessary funds to afford the minor operation. The chip allowed for the recipient to upload new skills and abilities without the need to actually learn these new skills or abilities. Of course, everything has a price and everyone usually starts out at skill lever 0 and progresses from there. Of course, if you already had a skill, it was rated right after the chip was implanted and you started from there.
Getting “chipped” was a significant thing. It usually confirmed whether the newly chipped individual had the ability “to touch the Essence”. Now this is where I get off. According to the book,…”The Essence is a life-giving energy that flowed through the universe.” I suppose it’s something like the Force we all know so well from the Star Wars universe, but it also sounds a lot like something found in Harry Potter books. You either had it or not. You’re either magical or a Muggle. Tane, our main character, didn’t have it. Or so he thought and was told.
Right after Tane gets chipped in the big city, he heads back to the family farm. There he starts to work on this mundane tasks his father has laid out for him when the farm is attacked by aliens! Now aliens in this universe are not something unknown. In fact, a very serious war had been fought a while back that successfully sent the aliens back to their universe. Now they appear to have returned and right at Tane’s family farm. Even stranger is the knowledge that these aliens are specifically after Tane, yet he doesn’t known why.
Then comes the Volur. These are humans for sure, but they have a very strong ability to siphon the Essence to do amazing things. They can create indestructible weapons and armor and are the reason humanity has spread throughout the universe. Volurs can create temporal distortions which are tears in space time allowing starships to cover vast distances in bare moments. Two Volurs show up at Tane’s farm just after the Thorran Star Navy arrives to put down the alien incursion. For some unknown reason, the Volur also want Tane and will take him and his family away from the farm and eventually to the Volur home-world of Talendir.
From here everything in the world happens. Tane gets separated from his parents and is stuck on a smuggler’s ship heading for Talendir. On the way he makes some interesting discoveries one of which involves his ability to siphon. He also finds out the aliens are still after him and will not stop until they have him. This chase leads him and the smugglers ship into another dimension or the home of the aliens.
There is a lot of fighting and running around in the story. There’s also a love interest that gets started when Tane meets a young jump specialist name “Sinive”. They don’t immediately fall in love or anything. Tane is too inexperienced with women to know what to do around Sinive and it’s doubly hard since she is also very pretty. I don’t know of any story that doesn’t always lead to something like this romantic thread. It’s interesting, but not very exciting.
Ok, so there’s a lot of this siphoning stuff going around that is used for all sorts of purposes. Mostly it comes in handy when you can’t fight you’re way out of a situation. It seems a lot like the Force and down-right magical at other times. Of course Tane’s ability to interact with the Essence is the focus of the whole story and it can get pretty predictable. Not sure I find all this that interesting. This book was also very, very long or it seemed to be to me.