This is the second in the series of Novels by Paul Darrow concerning the adventures of Kerr Avon post Guada Prime.
As in the first in the series we are presented with a situation in which chaos is always on the verge of breaking through, the former Federation is called the Quartet as it is controlled by four individuals, however they have lost control of the Earth to the remnants of the people’s of China which now go by the name of The Empire of Cathay.
Avon is as always playing a dangerous game as having recovered Orac at the end of the first novel he is now the most wanted man in the galaxy, as the various factions all decide that Orac should be under their charge.
During the course of what is a fast packed adventure an old friend Del Grant returns whilst the leaders of the Quartet and The Empress of the Empire of Cathay start to die quicker than the 7 on Guada Prime.
As in the first novel the Avon we find is one that is older more physical in his actions than in the series and is if anything even quicker to kill someone than in the series. I can accept this as he would have changed in the intervening years.
I found this an extremely exciting novel that grabs your attention and is difficult to put down.
However there are something’s that should be taken care of before the next installment, these as in the first novel concern science. Mr Darrow needs to lean some or have an editor to help him with these things as they are the only things that let the novel down.
Firstly Machineguns in space, as these appear to be much the same as today’s … unfortunately they won’t work in a vacuum as without oxygen the propellant cannot react to propel the projectile out of the barrel.
Secondly Island Planets, anything this small that basically resembles the Discworld would not have a strong enough gravity to hold an atmosphere and if it was artificially maintained without an artificial gravity field every time someone took a step they would fly off the world.
Thirdly Helicopters/Aircraft cannot transport you from a space ship in orbit unless it is already very deep into the atmosphere.
Now we come to Pseudoscience and continuity, in the series it is established that to travel faster than light you need either a photonic drive or to enter hyperspace. So cutting engine power to drift to another star system would take you several thousand years.
Also in the series the main weapons for ship to ship combat were Plasma bolts and Neutron Blasters, so why are they now using rockets and machine-guns?
Now if Paul Darrow. Or someone who knows him reads this please I’m begging you sort out the science and continuity issues.
These are the main faults in the novels which are otherwise fast passed gripping stories.