Orbit | 2019 (28 November) | 453p | Review copy | Buy the book
Dominion completes Jamie Sawyer’s trilogy The Eternity War and so you certainly wouldn’t want to read it without having read the earlier books, Pariah and Exodus. This review assumes you’ve had the pleasure.
The Galaxy is at war. The terrorist organisation Black Spiral, led by Warlord, has unleashed its virus across the Maelstrom, infecting the Krell in an act of ethnic cleansing, planets are being cleansed of life. It is time for a last desperate attempt for the Alliance to defeat Warlord and among the forces will be Lieutenant Jenkins and her Jackals, SimOps troops whose deeds have become legendary. They are also envied by other troops, few of whom would let a little thing like a full-out war get in the way of a bit of retribution. There are scores to be settled on both sides now as old enemies confront one another in an arena of war that is itself the stuff of nightmares.
I am a huge fan of Jamie Sawyer’s science fiction and loved his The Lazarus War trilogy, featuring the most famous SimOps troops of them all, and I have enjoyed The Eternity War every bit as much. But all good things must unfortunately come to an end and this second trilogy here concludes in spectacular, explosive fashion. If you enjoy your science fiction with aliens, spaceships, strange worlds, space stations and battles half as much as I do then you will thoroughly enjoy these books and you can rest assured that Jamie Sawyer writes them very well indeed. He is such a good writer and this is clearly seen in these wonderful characters that we’ve got to know and care for (occasionally hate) through the series.
The concept of the SimOps is brilliant. These are men and women who (and I quote from my review of Exodus) transition into ‘skins’, ‘organic and enhanced bodies that can fight and die as supersoldiers, time after time, while their vulnerable bodies stay safe in their tanks. Each violent death, though, leaves a painful stigmata on their real bodies. Life such as this takes its toll.’ These are suicidal troops who die time after time after time. Just imagine how this affects the soldier – Jamie Sawyer explores this and it’s fascinating. It’s also extremely exciting! Almost every mission ends in disaster and death and, even though these bodies are ‘skins’, the deaths feel meaningful. They’re certainly painful. It takes a certain type of person to be a SimOp and so they are all incredible, especially Jenkins and her Jackals, each of whom has built up quite a back history by now. But Dominion is a little different from the previous two. The fighting now is desperate. It’s not always done on the Jackals’ terms. It could be disastrous for real.
And then there’s the Krell. These aliens feel so real to me after the two trilogies. I can imagine them and I fear them. But we’re also taught to respect them and, if you’ve read the earlier Eternity War novels then you’ll know how this has been brought about. You really need to read these books if only to see the relationship between Jenkins and Pariah.
The action hardly lets up for a moment. When it does, it’s just so Jenkins and the others can rebuild their emotional strength or to understand the political background to the fight. The fight sequences are utterly gripping, tense and engrossing. This isn’t a book to put down lightly. But it’s not all action. The story is a really interesting one and everything is pulled together satisfactorily in this grand conclusion. I’ve loved this trilogy. I can’t wait to follow wherever Jamie Sawyer take us next