The Tau Ceti Agenda
by Travis S. Taylor
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Steve Sawicki
Baen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439133156
Date: 27 October 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
This is the sequel to One Day on Mars and it picks up on the action after that novel and just days prior to the presidential election when a CIA operative uncovers a plot to overthrow America. The terrorist, Elle Ahmi, is behind the plot, leader of the separatist movement and head of the break away colony of Tau Ceti. Ahmi also has new technology to use--technology that can teleport supplies, people, and entire ships, almost instantaneously. Ahmi's goals are to take over everything and to reform the worlds to better meet the ideals she believes in. Ahmi is also the former president of the United States, having faked her own death as part of her plot. She's also the mother of the wife of the current president. So, as you can see, complications abound. Mix in a lot of military action, a few good doublecrosses, some surprise events and who knows where it all will lead?
Taylor certainly likes to pack a lot of action into his novels and no few plot complications. As if the whole President/ex-President-mother/mother-in-law thing were not enough there's the military angle with no fewer than three major characters involved. Oh yeah, and there are major tank battles, fighting suits ala transformers, and space battles all over the place. Taylor is perhaps best categorized as a frenetic Heinlein although I always find it to be a bit unfair to hang any author with that kind of tag. Taylor is simply himself and producing the kind of fiction that mixes good military action with a dash of politics.
I find this series enjoyable if a bit on the "yehaw" side at times. Still, there's a pretty decent story here and Taylor does a good job moving the plot forward while balancing any number of different story lines and perspectives. The characters are certainly in positions where their decisions have major impacts on the storyline and Taylor does not shy away from letting them go at it.
So, if you like a really fast paced, shoot-em up with big stakes on the line then you will definitely like The Tau Ceti Agenda. It probably would help to have read the first book but Taylor does provide enough needed back story so you could most likely enjoy this one without having read the first.