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Deathstalker Honor
Simon R. Green
Roc Books, 526 pages

Art: Donato
Deathstalker Honor
Simon R. Green
Simon R. Green is the author of over a dozen science fiction and fantasy novels, including Blue Moon Rising, Blood and Honor, Down Among the Dead Men, Shadows Fall, the Hawk and Fisher series, and the bestselling Deathstalker series. He lives in Wiltshire, England.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Deathstalker Rebellion SF Site Review: Twilight of the Empire Simon R. Green Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Todd Richmond

If you thought the saga of Owen Deathstalker was over when he and his comrades overthrew the Iron Bitch, think again. Just because the revolution was a success doesn't mean that their work is done. The government is in shambles, the Hadenmen have begun their Second Genetic Crusade, the AIs of Shrub are on the move, the insect race is still attacking distant colonies, and to top it all off, something is coming out of the Dark Void that has them all scared.

In typical fashion, Simon R. Green breaks Deathstalker Honor up into a series of stories. The Maze survivors, Owen, Hazel, Jack and Ruby, are split up once again to deal with the problems overwhelming the Empire. Owen and Hazel have been, for lack of a better term, "promoted" to the position of Imperial bounty-hunters. The new Parliament must send them out to track down war criminals too difficult for anyone else to deal with. Their target as the book begins -- Valentine Wolfe -- despised right hand of the Empress and the butcher of Virimonde, Owen's former homeworld. Hazel and Owen find Valentine in residence at the Deathstalker Castle and must use their amazing Maze-granted abilities to break into Owen's own castle. Once inside, they discover the horrors that Valentine has been up to and, of course, there's hell to pay.

There's a brief interlude on Golgatha, the homeworld of the Empire where some intrigue is brewing, plots are set in motion and a few story threads are woven together. Then the heroes are off again. Owen and Hazel are sent off to deal with the Hadenmen -- merciless, augmented warriors who are more machine than men. Rumor has it that the Hadenmen have been experimenting on the population, attempting to produce a new, improved generation of Hadenmen. Feeling guilty over his part in reawakening the Hadenmen and recruiting them to the rebellion, Owen feels that it is his responsibility to rectify the situation.

While on Brahmin II, Hazel and Owen work on mastering their Maze powers. Meanwhile, Jack Random and Ruby Journey have been sent to Loki, a world of eternal storms, to help the colonists fend off the attacks of the rogue AIs of Shrub. Things look grim for Jack and Ruby, but a gross miscalculation on the part of the AIs proves to be their undoing.

After finishing up on Brahmin II, Owen and Hazel head off to their next destination. The Hadenmen's target is the leper colony of Lachrymae Christi and the Mission of Mother Superior Beatrice Christiana. A harsh planet devoid of all animal life but filled with large, mobile and antagonistic vegetation, Lachrymae Christi would not seem to have anything to offer to anyone.

Of course there's a lot more going on than that in Deathstalker Honor. We discover more about the AIs of Shrub as Daniel Wolfe sets out in search of his missing father. There's the conflict between the new Parliament, the old Families, the secret organization known as Blue Block, the espers and clones, and the rebellion leaders. Evangeline Shreck finally confronts her father and Finlay Campbell exacts his revenge. If none of that makes sense, it's probably fair to say that you haven't read the previous books in this series. You really should if you want to enjoy this book to its fullest. Green writes great space opera, with blasters and swords and heroes that kick butt around the galaxy. But there's a lot going on -- more than can be covered in just this book. In fact, our heroes don't seem to make a lot of progress in this book. Sure, a lot of little loose ends are tied up but the big problems are still looming. The Hadenmen are still running rampant, a major battle is brewing with the Shrub AIs, and there's still something coming out the Dark Void. But the end is in sight. As Green says "Owen Deathstalker will return one last time in Deathstalker Destiny."

Copyright © 1999 by Todd Richmond

Todd is a plant molecular developmental biologist who has finally finished 23 years of formal education. He recently fled Madison, WI for the warmer but damper San Francisco Bay Area and likes bad movies, good science fiction, and role-playing games. He began reading science fiction at the age of eight, starting with Heinlein, Silverberg, and Tom Swift books, and has a great fondness for tongue-in-cheek fantasy Óla Terry Pratchett, Craig Shaw Gardner and Robert Asprin.

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