Charles E. Gannon
Baen, Oct 6 2015, $17.00
After successfully preventing the Arat Kur and Hkh’Rkh alliance from conquering his home world Earth and stopping his angry retribution-seeking Consolidated Terran Republic Terrans from committing genocide against their enemies, Caine Riordan anticipates a respite. Observing what happened in the recent war, another Arat Kur ally the Ktor believes the Terrans are very weak when they failed to eradicate their defeated opponents.
Instead of R&R, a diplomacy opportunity arises when the much more advanced Slaasriithi, impressed by the Terran’s display of controlling the urge of retaliatory mass executions, request Caine to come to their planet to discuss a pact. As Caine and his entourage journey to the meeting, Ktor operatives plan to destroy the Terrans’ first diplomat and his retinue to prevent their adversary from obtaining a powerful though peaceful ally; unaware how deadly first contact with the Slaasriithi can be.
The third Caine Riordan Tales of the Terran Republic military science fiction (see Fire With Fire) is a superb first contact entry, but this time with a friendly yet deadly species rather than a belligerent adversary; though there is plenty of the latter too. Less of a political statement than Trial By Fire, the keys to this enjoyable outer space adventure are the various species that make up the Gannon universe seem real and the protagonist’s wise ability to recognize that each race requires different means of customized diplomacy as one size fits one sentient people only.