The Savior (General (Drake))
by Tony Daniel and David Drake
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476736709
Date: 02 September 2014 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In The Heretic, Abel Dashian was able to hold back the Blood Wave. Several years later, the planet Duisberg faces a new wave orchestrated by Zentrum, the artificial intelligence that has maintained technological stasis. Abel has continued to learn and fight with the help of Center's probability extrapolations and Raj Whitehall's military knowledge.
Zentrum has recognized that the Lands it controls are due for a purge. It plots opening the land up to the barbarian horde. But when Abel finds a way to prevent the initial horde from starting to cleanse, Zentrum finds new ways to destabilize the lands. Replace the leaders with those less capable.
Abel has the love of a capable woman who is, unfortunately, married to another. She is important to her family and will be in a position to help Abel before he even realizes he needs it. But with Zentrum being viewed as a god, it might not be enough, especially when he loses a key advantage.
The story unfolds with several long flashback scenes interspersed with the current action. The past scenes show important events that have led to the current situation. Some of the best scenes were the confrontations with Zentrum. I also enjoyed the exploration of the limits of the AI interactions with humans. The AI's must have the cooperation of humans. This limitation is shown in several scenes.
The Savior is a new entrant into The General series. As a sequel, it isn't the best starting point. I like the series and the ability to explore different worlds that can be at completely different points of development but are still tied together. Raj and center are a glue that binds the disparate stories together. The setup also allows for continuity in characters as new worlds are explored and saved.
Fans of the earlier entrants in the series will be pleased with this one as well. I would also imagine fans of David Weber, Eric Flint, and Gail Z. Martin will find something here to enjoy.
This is a good relaunch to the series and addressed a few concerns that I had. Center's probabilities too often work out. When Center made a prediction, it seemed to happen. This seemed to be a little too convenient. This fallibility is something I hope to see continue in any future tales.
Another issue for me is that characters become too dependent upon Center and Raj. It was great when they were taken out of the equation. It was nice to see a character have to stand on his own. This broke the basic formula and made for a more exciting conclusion.