A big, brash sci-fi epic about the destiny of warring planets and their respective inhabitants.
As the first part of a planned series, the book’s title is a double entendre; there are many planets and races in Laborde’s fictional universe, but they share one cosmic destiny. The first pages hurl the reader into a torrent of myth and prophecy and then drive headlong into a fiery cluster of futuristic aeronautic warfare. The author only briefly touches upon the story’s time and setting for a few passages as readers surge through the tense atmosphere created by a commanding prose style and the author’s precisely martial imagination. Eventually, though, between the intense training sessions of space warriors with names such as Hunter and Prowler and interstellar fleet conflicts between the Pack and the Swarm, the novel’s mythos takes shape amid a barrage of barking admirals and powerful queens. Between two worlds, evocatively named Lycera and Nefera, lies the Void, a mysterious abyss in space that separates the planets and makes travel to each system’s borders costly and protracted. Surrounding the nothingness are the anxieties and myths of the warriors, as many assume that the Void devours all who attempt to transverse it. But when a passage is found through the Void and a group from the Pack are forced to abandon ship on the surface of their target, the war, and perhaps eventual peace, between the worlds takes on a new dimension. It’s an unapologetic space opera and even the habitually italicized dialogue doesn’t distract from the legitimacy and gravity of the novel’s epic events. As with most science-fiction series, the finale is bittersweet, but Laborde answers just enough questions and coaxes out just enough mystery at the conclusion to leave readers wanting more adventure, more revelations and the crowning resolution.
A successful and compelling space opera full of grit and imagination.