Review: Trial By Fire by Charles E. Gannon


Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781476736648
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher Description: When reluctant interstellar diplomat and intelligence operative Caine Riordan returns from humanity’s first encounter with alien races, sudden war clouds burst. With Earth’s fleet shattered by a sneak attack and its survivors fighting for their lives, Caine must rely upon both his first contact and weaponry skills to contend with the non-humanoid enemy. And when the technologically-superior attackers sweep aside the solar system’s last defenses, and traitorous corporations invite the invaders to land ‘security forces,’ humanity fights back with its best weapons: cunning, inventiveness, and guts.

Review: Cover art evokes images from the SciFi of the 70’s.

This was a very long novel that was a mix of “Aliens Attack!!”, political thriller and Alien cultural encounters. While not trying to sound trite, the novel is based on a few alien species that are considering offering humanity a seat at the multi-alien Accord table. Other alien species attempt to derail this process by manipulating events that ultimately leads to war. Caine and his cohorts are at the leading edge of war, diplomacy and intrigue with the alien consortium.

Caine is speshul. A little too speshul. Every megacorp wants to kill him for his “abilities”. The military loves him because he can think simultaneously with both sides of his brain, then desperately hate him as he does his job in truthful fashion. The chicks love him. Assassins hate him as he foils all their attempts with his Super duper Shotokan karate awareness-fu. Whatever Caine says is suddenly accepted by everyone around him as the truth. So gosh and shucks you just can’t hate a guy that is right all the time. Can you? You can see it coming from the first chapter. Caine is going to save the universe. Elena, Trevor’s sister is really good, but took too much of a back seat in the story-line. Major Hotness, Caines karate-fu instructor, still has this penchant for destruction and a cloaking passion that subsumes as it burns. Whats funny is both women drop everything, including a child and direct orders, to go off in separate “Caine” rescue missions. Oh, Caine you are just so hunky that all the babes you have banged are coming to your rescue.

This is a sweeping galaxy wide space opera played on a minor, albeit, discerning note. Very pointed in its approach to realism where aliens would most likely interact with each other. There is this magic translator that expedites the story-line and a particular alien species that is warlike and visually menacing. While the inter-alien dialogue was great there were too many pages of human dialogue that cluttered the story-line. The novel had moments of great movement where the action helped to uncover hidden facets of the plot.

A well written epic with some crafted holes in the story-line that further promotes a new installment.

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