Earthling Marc Hawkins joins a multispecies team of aliens and combats evil forces threatening all sentient life in the galaxy in Brown’s debut sci-fi novel.
The space-patrolling Supremacy is made up of diverse Qi-Tahh (“life protector”) warriors, serving in squads called “prides.” These guardians of the galaxy include such aliens as a hulking, T. rex–style reptile, insectoid people, shape-shifting “animorphs,” a panther-person, an “elemental” composed of minerals, and others, all of whom fight for justice and peace under the direction of a council of disembodied alien brains. Some Qi-Tahh are humans, including African-American family man Marc Hawkins, now enhanced with abilities including “mega strength” and heightened senses. After somewhat tiresome combat against the Linksys—fairly clichéd robots and AIs that talk like bullying gangsters as they threaten to exterminate all organic intelligence—the narrative picks up with the onslaught of the Wehtiko, a mysterious contagion that incites once-benign civilizations to wage vicious, genocidal wars on their neighbors. Trying to contain a Wehtiko outbreak results in Marc violating Supremacy rules, setting him up for arrest and severe punishment. With this novel, Brown launches a sci-fi saga that reads like an attempt by Star Wars fans to do a comic-book actioner, starring all the biologically absurd ETs who populated the Mos Eisley Cantina and other Lucasfilm crowds. The end of the book is even taken up with page after page of character/species bios and a glossary of the book’s extensive jargon. Along with the expected Hollywood-style ingredients, though, the author includes American Indian and African cultural lore—a nice touch that adds to the book’s theme of ethnic diversity, which is never handled in a heavy-handed manner. The enigmatic Wehtiko, meanwhile, is a compelling metaphor for ethnic cleansing, and it’s effectively scarier for the fact that so little is revealed about it.
An action-oriented tale of interplanetary teamwork.