Exiles (Progenitors #1) – Dan Worth (2010)
Dan Worth postulates a future where humans have become a part of galactic society. Humanity has messed up here and there, such as on one planet where an interstellar human company has been supplying the natives with an addictive and lethal drug.
When the natives revolt and take over a space station Captain Chen is called to deal with it and ends up massacring a large number of innocent aliens. Her ex, a secret agent, Harris, is blamed for the debacle and posted to another system. Meanwhile, two archaeologists have discovered a million year old ship which appears to belong to the highly advanced Arkari. They find mummified Arkari on board and manage to acquire the log before the Arkari duly arrive and confiscate everything.
Anyhoo – the Arkari have been in space a lot longer than they’ve told anyone. The archaeologists get posted to the same planet to which agent Harris was banished in order to investigate the holy city of Maran which, it appears, holds its own secrets. It transpires that everyone is being manipulated by a mysterious enemy from the core of the galaxy.
They have already provoked a war between Humanity and the vicious reptilian K’soth, and now they hope to open a long-sealed wormhole porthole to let through some nasty terminator-style beasties from the end of time.
One can’t deny it’s a cracking read. Some of the dialogue and love scenes are a tad creaky but it’s still an engrossing novel and leaves one wanting more.
Elements of it do seem familiar, however. The concept of people being led to a planet simply in order to unwittingly loose hordes of crazy aliens into the galaxy was used by Hamilton in ‘Pandora’s Star’ and there are other reviews which comment on the similarities to Babylon 5. The Arkari (who have living ships and who are as economical with the truth as a Thatcher government) are the Vorlons here, and the mysterious Shapers appear to be the Shadows.
However, no writer works in a vacuum, and these are archetypal forces – Order and Chaos, which have been employed in various fashions in fantasy and SF since the dawn of the genre.