cover image The Fortress in Orion

The Fortress in Orion

Mike Resnick. Pyr, $18 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-61614-990-1

Resnick returns to his Birthright universe with this middling launch title for the Dead Enders series. His take on the military caper novel in space is entertaining, but it lacks the verve of his earlier space westerns. Col. Nathan Pretorius, recovering after a near-fatal mission, is recruited by the Democracy to assemble a crack team, infiltrate the world of the alien Kabori, and replace their top general with a clone. He gathers a strongman, a thief, a hacker, an empath, and a shapeshifter of sorts, and they set off. Along the way, there are surprisingly few challenges, most of them subverted with relative ease, so tension never has a chance to develop. As always, Resnick includes larger-than-life characters and interesting ideas (e.g., Proto isn’t a true shapeshifter because he projects images into people’s heads, but still remains his usual self), but the plot limits their opportunity to shine, and few of the folks Pretorius meets on the way offer interesting diversions. (Dec.)