Iron Scepter by Andrew M. Seddon

iron scepterIron Scepter by Andrew M. Seddon

(Four stars out of five)

Warning: spoilers follow.

We have met the evil empire, and they are us. While the human Hegemony unravels and humans make first contact with sentient aliens in the background, on stage our protagonist—a minion of said evil empire—has a crisis of faith in the Hegemony, his leaders, and himself when he’s supposed to be subduing a rediscovered human world and starting a galactic war. He’s helped over the edge by an irritatingly wholesome local, who expects better from him than does he.

The story is great; the storytelling is just a bit “on the nose.” Even though told in a first person point of view, the tale need not explain everything to the reader.

Few of the scientific gaffs which so often mar contemporary science fiction.

Quibble: if the locals plan to ambush the Hegemony space fleet by surprise, why alert them to continued resistance by attacking them on the ground? I know, they had to make the attack for the alien ambassador to accidentally fall into their hands, but it comes across as contrived.

Lots of soul searching. Think: Hamlet in the Twenty-sixth century.

A good read.

(I think it’s out of print. I obtained a copy directly from the author.)