Vengeance is forever, but all trilogies must come to an end. So arrives the final book in the Major Ariane Kedros series. Let’s pave a trail into Pathfinder, by Laura E. Reeve.
Wars may end. But vengeance is forever.
Reserve Major Ariane Kedros needs a shot at redemption-and the mysterious aliens known as the Minoans need an extraordinary human pilot with a rejuv-stimulated metabolism like Ariane for a dangerous expedition to a distant solar system. But there’s a catch. The Minoans have to implant their technology in Ariane’s body, and it might not be removable. Ariane is willing, but as she begins the perilous journey, there is an old enemy hiding within the exploration team who is determined to see them fail…
And so we come to the final installment of the Major Ariane Kedros trilogy. This is where all the loose threads from the first two books need to be tied up. Anything that isn’t answered here, isn’t going to be answered at all. So, what I want is to get straight to the stuff about the Minoans and the Builders. Unfortunately, before getting to the exploration teased in the synopsis, the book decides to waste a bunch of time detailing the trial for the terrorists from Vigilante.
What is the point of this? We know that the accused are guilty – we read all about their heinous deeds in the second book. The witnesses can’t tell us anything we didn’t already see for ourselves. It’s not like there are going to be any shocking revelations; you can’t even count the fact that Abram had the backing of one of the Terran Overlords, since it was already hinted in the previous book that he had external support. The novel itself even seems to realize how pointless this plot is, since it completely forgets about it halfway through – it doesn’t even bother including the outcome. After all that build-up, you’d think we’d get to hear the verdict before moving on? Though I really shouldn’t complain; pages are running out, and the sooner we get away from this pointlessness, the better. At least we stick around long enough to see that slimy weasel Tahir get what he had coming to him.
Once the trial plot fades into rightful oblivion, the real plot comes to the fore; and to no one’s surprise, it revolves around more political intrigue and infighting among the Terrans. I’ve made peace with the fact that these treason and subterfuge stories are where the series’ true interest lies. I mean, personally I’d prefer if the books focused more on exploring the ruins of Builder civilization of exploring the true nature of the Minoans; but this isn’t a Jack McDevitt novel, so it isn’t about that. Spy stories can be fun, too. I mean, I’m glad that Maria’s plotline wasn’t completely dropped, with Ariane taking over as her contact now that Joyce is incapacitated.
The book is ultimately satisfying in that it provides conclusions to the major plotlines which have been running throughout the books. Maria finally completes her defection from Terra to the Consortium, Ariane is finally forced to confront her substance abuse problem, Cipher is… um…
Hey, what about Cipher? There’s been this whole recurring thing in both this book and the previous one about how her body was never found after an explosion which supposedly killed her, after she already once faked her death in precisely the same manner. Characters are constantly meeting in secret and whispering about how there’s still no news on Cipher, and how they need to keep this information from Ariane. We’re told that Leukos is stonewalling the investigation, preventing a proper search of the site of Cipher’s supposed death. Everything is obviously building up to Cipher returning for revenge. And then the final villains turns out to be… Nathan? That one guy who was a minor lackey to Parmet in the first book and didn’t appear at all in the second? Um… okay, sure, why not.
But anyway, the rest of the conclusions to the various plotlines were satisfying. It’s a perfectly fine novel in a perfectly fine trilogy.
Final Rating: 3/5