The storyline moves along steadily, but there are certain chapters which appear to be excerpts from a future organization called “Values, Ethics, and Society”, or at least it appears to be an organization, or a book, or… it really isn’t very clear what the author’s intentions for the excerpts were gleaned from. And when those excerpts appear, they slow the flow of events to a dead stop.
The action otherwise is very smooth and refreshing. The conflicts between the different Empires are described simply and effectively, with different aspects of their philosophical differences given as needed, and masterfully worded for easy understanding.
The characters and their backgrounds are described in enough detail to give you a pretty good idea about how they look and interact with their surroundings and other people.
The overall feel of the book was that it could be about a possible time in our own future, and it deals with social issues that exist in our current cultures. It is very believable that we as a race could be in the same situation as the storyline presents to us, and it is definitely a novel to read for those that are optimistic about our modern world.
If you knew that the starships in the novel could change their energy signature as you began reading the story, then you may have been suspicious of a combat that occurred very early on.
As it is, if you go back after completing the book and read the initial conflict chapter again, you will see that the author did give enough information for the reader to guess what happened on their own.
The main question is in the ethics used by humans that had spread out into the galaxy and how they applied their own version to the other systems that they are bordered by.
The question “Does the end justify the means?” sums up the primary plotline and presents it in such a way that the readers are not lectured, but rather given an opportunity to decide for themselves.
Different forms of discrimination are presented throughout the work, with just enough background and description to give the reader an opportunity to see what might happen if taken to extremes.
Although not as rough as some of the novels that we have received, this novel did have a significant number of proofreading and editing errors. Minor ones, if they are not in quantity, are generally not presented as a major point. But when you find yourself ‘catching’ on these errors more than a couple times, it needs addressing.
Missing words that complete an action by a character such as on page 502 “He got and stretched, walking around the stateroom and cooling off.”, and spelling errors, occur regularly. There are times when the author changes tense within the same paragraph or chapter, when clearly there should not be any change made.
The novel is heavy on ethics, religion, and discrimination. They are presented in context as reasons for aggressive actions throughout the story, giving the impression that the author is making a point about today’s society, guised in a work of science fiction.