Let’s start with the plot as even though it is just a base under siege style story it is able to use that story style to make the story extremely tense and terrifying. Imagine The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, but if the horror was one hundred times more intense as one of the villains of the story turns out to be a being called Legion which is exists in seven dimensions which is a terrifying concept. The plot sees the Doctor, Ace and Benny arriving at a space station in the Lucifer system where people have started dying mysteriously, but the plot continues to thicken when IMC, the mining company from Colony in Space, come on the scene with evil plans as they usually have led by Legion. There are creatures called Angels and everything is a massive plot to try and gain time travel through the Doctor by using Ace as their agent. So yeah this story has a plot filled to the brim and what really suffers is the Angels as their portions of the plot are the vaguest which brings down the overall plot. The plot with IMC however is the best as it tests the relationship even more between the Doctor and Ace, who again has had three years being hardened by Spacefleet. Ace betrays the Doctor here and finally is able to tell him exactly what he has been doing to her and those around her. She practically gives him a taste of his own medicine by the end of the novel.
Ace also gets some great scenes with the personnel on the base as when everything starts to fall apart before IMC arrives, Ace has to take charge and tries to keep everyone alive. She fails at this as people do die, but her skills as a leader are really effective and showcase how much she has grown as a character since Love and War. Benny however doesn’t fair as well as Ace did. She isn’t out of character or anything, but is sidelined throughout most of the novel until the end where she plays a role in the climax. She also gets some great scenes with Ace to build a relationship between them, but that’s about it. It’s a real shame too as Benny is such a good character. The supporting characters are all great as they all are introduced grieving for the death of one of their own and through that event we see them slowly pushed to their limits as people.
Even with these glowing praises towards the novel there are still quite a few problems with it. Mainly its length is not good if you read it over a period of time like I did as I fell ill while in the middle of it so stopped for a few days. This really shows there are too many characters in the story as some of them really don’t serve much of a purpose in their being there. The plotlines of Lucifer and IMC and Legion all get a bit muddled and it takes way too long for them to be resolved. The novel also has a slow uptake which while building atmosphere and characters had quite a few pages that could have been easily cut out. Even with these flaws the novel is still really good and I would have to give it 78/100 as it is really good, but a bit overrated by some fans.