Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Outlaw Trigger

by Lee Stephen


In the dark and imposing Citadel of the Machine, General Thoor is coming over all Darth Vader. From his underground lair he orders his minions to do terrible things, strikes fear into all who lay eyes on him, and generally lacks a sense of humour.

Meanwhile, Scott Remington still finds time for childish banter with the members of his squad, in between bouts of killing aliens. Now a lieutenant, his unit has matured into an efficient fighting machine. They are looking forward to having some new arrivals swell their ranks, and Scott himself is anticipating a visit from Nicole, his fiancée. Things are starting to look rosy.

In Outlaw Trigger we learn a lot more about the members of Scott's unit. In the midst of a fierce war with no apparent logic to it, few of the characters emerge unscathed by their experiences. There is a looming threat of the enemy within, since it's an open secret that General Thoor and his Nightmen plan to take control of the base at Novosibirsk. Scott and his companions face stress, guilt and psychological problems as well as frequent danger, as the realities of war take their toll.

Tension builds gradually throughout this novel, and there's a healthy dose of combat to spice up the story. But it's far from the atmosphere of gung-ho optimism of Dawn of Destiny, as Scott's faith is tested to its limits and he experiences a spiritual crisis. The black and white certainties he starts out with are broken down. Will Scott be destroyed by his own pride and anger?

Change is coming to EDEN Command as the influence of Judge Benjamin Archer makes itself felt. Archer is a British man with an interest in aliens. He is up to something, and doubts about his trustworthiness add a new level of intrigue to this novel.

The Epic series is improving as it progresses, and Outlaw Trigger sees the emergence of a stronger moral dimension and more intimate character development. Scott and his friends begin to look less like ideal soldiers and more like human beings. Unfortunately an exception has to be made for General Thoor, who is still as much of an absurd, over-dramatic maniac as ever.

There is a tendency for appearances to be used as a shorthand for the state of a person's soul, so wild stares can mean a troubled heart and dark armour often translates directly as outright wickedness. These visual cues are sometimes too blatant. Outlaw Trigger is a melodramatic book, and I suspect this will polarise opinions on it more than anything else. Nevertheless, if you don't mind a bit of dark-lord posturing there's a lot to enjoy in this novel.

Book Details

Year: 2007

Categories: Books

  Science fiction
    Male Protagonist  

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Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Cyberpunk body-swapping action.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

Read more about Lee Stephen