Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Review -- Predator: Incursion

Today we have Predator: Incursion, book one of The Rage War by Tim Lebbon.

The story begins in 2351 at Alpha Centauri. Synthetic human Liliya has just released Xenomorphs from containment on board the Evelyn-Tew, a research vessel studying the deadly creatures. She has done this on behalf of a mysterious group called the Founders, who want the ship's data for their own mysterious (but probably nefarious) purposes. Liliya steals the data and escapes in the one remaining escape pod, leaving everyone else to die. She feels bad about this, but believes it's for the greater good.

Flash forward to 2692 at Southgate Station 12. Lieutenant Johnny Mains is commander of the 5th Excursionists, a group of Colonial Marines more popularly known as the VoidLarks. They've just finished repelling an attack by the Yautja (also known as the Predators), losing two of their own in the process. Mains discovers the hunter aliens have been making more and more incursions into human territory, but no one knows why. Nevertheless, the VoidLarks continue on their mission, soon arriving at a Yautja habitat (basically a gigantic ship) they want to observe. A battle ensues, whereupon the VoidLarks end up boarding the habitat and face the battle of their lives.

Meanwhile, xenobiologist Isa Palant is studying the Yautja at Love Grove Base on LV-1529. Her desire to know more about these beings is powerful, and having just gotten two fresh specimens (well, as fresh as corpses can be), she's excited. However, one of her colleagues inexplicably goes nuts and blows the hell out of the place on behalf of the Founders, destroying life support systems and threatening all their lives. They band together and fight for survival, holding out hope for rescue, but it might not be humans that find them...

Elsewhere, a much older Liliya knows what the Founders are up to, and after having a change of heart, she's determined to put a stop to it (apparently, some evil is OK, but a lot of evil is not). However, the Founders (now calling themselves the Rage) are far more powerful than they were in the 24th century, and their resources seem overwhelming. They're coming, and they're not coming in peace.

So the race is on to find out just who's behind a string of terrorist attacks and what's got the Yautja so scared. In the end, it might take an unlikely alliance to stand up to the threat and prevent genocide.

I've read a number of Predator and Alien novels, and Incursion ranks as one of the best. It's well-written and features strong female characters, which I always like in a story (in fact, the VoidLarks are mostly women). I will, however, admit it was weird seeing the Predators at such a disadvantage. The whole appeal of them was they were a nearly unstoppable force, but now everyone's on a much more level playing field due to the advancement in human technology.

Still, the narrative features excellent action and doesn't hold back on the gore, successfully conveying the horrors of war. I recommend this story for fans of both Predator and Aliens.

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