Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Crucible of Time (Out of Time #2) (Chaos Chronicles #6), by Jeffrey A. Carver

Starstream Publications, September 2019

This is the second half of the Out of Time story begun in Reefs of Time, and the tension continues to ratchet up. John Bandicut and Li-Jared, together with the robot Copernicus, Tintangle Ruall, gokat Bria, and the cloud Dark, are making progress, slow and frustrating, but progress, in persuading the Karellians and Uduon to stop fighting and focus on the real enemy, the Mindaru.

What helps persuade the deeply suspicious and mutually hostile Karellians and Uduon, unfortunately, is the arrival of Mindaru ships. It's a hard sell for the Karellians to accept that their time distortion field that defends against asteroids from Uduon is what's drawing the Mindaru. And also for the Uduon to accept that their asteroid defense against Karellian missiles needs to be shut down for the Karellians to shut down their time distortion defense.

Meanwhile, Ik and Julie have been sent on a second mission down the timestream, which may be more dangerous than the first. And Antares and Napoleon, having realized that the two missions aren't coordinated because of political conflicts among Shipworld's rulers, are seeking help from the Translator and Amaduse the Librarian to get a message to Li-Jared and Bandicut about Ik and Julie's mission and the importance of not doing anything that migh disrupt the timestream.  That's an extremely quick, superficial description of what's going on...

There is lots of action, lots of intrigue, lots of character development as old friends and new struggle with problems that seriously challenge their abilities, their understanding, their worldviews, and their relationships with each other. Even Shipworld itself takes on more character and complexity. There are people running it, and they are a mix of good and bad, wise and foolish, like people anywhere, even as the fundamental purpose of Shipworld remains good and valuable to the whole galaxy.

The story is exciting, it's fun, it's intelligent and challenging. It comes to a vary satisfying conclusion, even while leaving me demanding more Chaos Chronicles.

Highly recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book, and I am reviewing it voluntarily.

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