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REVIEW: Empire Reborn – A K DuBoff

Empire Reborn

Genre: Sci-Fi

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About The Book

Break the treaty, be destroyed.
We forgot.
Now we pay the price.

Jason Sietinen lives in the shadow of greatness. He’s worked hard to become a TSS officer in his own right, but having war heroes for parents is hard to top.

When Jason is assigned to investigate a mysterious attack, he finds evidence of powerful transdimensional beings never before seen. Or so he thought.

Jason soon learns that critical information was lost through the millennia: Tarans had an ancient treaty with the aliens. Unfortunately, rogue actions by a shadow faction within the Empire just broke the peace.

With the future of the Empire hanging in the balance, Jason must find a way to unite the Taran worlds, including the lost colony of Earth, against the mounting threat. There’s just one problem: how do you fight an enemy you can’t see or touch?

Perfect for fans of epic sci-fi featuring sprawling galactic empires, drama, intrigue, and psionic abilities, Empire Reborn is the first book in the Taran Empire Saga, a new entry point to the bestselling Cadicle Universe.

My Review

I just finished reading my first book by A K DuBoff. Empire Reborn is a thrilling, fast-paced space opera that answers the question “What are the little green men up to on the far side of the moon?”

Except they’re not little green men. They’re Tarans (side note: that’s where the word “Terra” came from in English), and they look just like us. In fact, Earth was colonized by an offshoot of the Taran race, one that gave up its technology and eventually forgot about its origins.

The story focuses on members of the Sietinen family – twins Jason and Raena, but Wil and the twins have unique abilities that make them the strongest of their generations. The book opens right after the events in “In Darkness Dwells” – and the events of that book factor directly into this one, but it’s no necessary to read it first.

Empire Reborn drops you into the middle of DuBoff ‘s Cadicle Universe. There are many references to events in the original Cadicle series, and to Mindspace Quartet, and characters from those books make an appearance here too, but again, it’s not necessary to read those first. DuBoff does a great job bringing us up to speed in little bits and pieces, nicely interwoven with the story.

As the first book in the Taran Empire Saga, Empire Reborn eases us into the current reality. The Priesthood, an evil group who ran the Empire for hundreds of years, was deposed by the Sietinen family and their allies five years before. In its place, a new governing structure has been set up, consisting of (mostly) benevolent corporations run by family dynasties, both major and minor. Given our current record with such entities, I’m a little skeptical of this kind of government, but I like how DuBoff lays it out. Under the current leadership, they really are trying to do the best they can to manage a far-flung galactic empire with 1500 planets.

Trouble rears its head early with a precognitive warning and the strange destruction of a salvage ship (see In Darkness Dwells), and at the same time, a shadowy force is fomenting dissent on the outer worlds, trying to undermine the new government.

The book reminded me a bit of McCaffrey’s “The Tower and the Hive” series – high praise from me -= which also dealt with advanced psychic abilities and an alien threat.

My quibbles – and they are fairly small – are that the whole “Earth was settled from somewhere else” bit doesn’t address the whole evolutionary record thing – though it’s quite possible DuBoff dealt with this in one of the earlier books in this universe. And the Tarans are a bit too human – it’s the same issue I have with Star Trek, where almost every world features humans – some just happen to have horns or blue skin. But as I said, those are quibbles, and these tropes are quite common in space opera.

I loved how the book drew me in, especially the mystery aliens, and there’s a deeply poignant moment for Jason about halfway through that was beautifully set up.

Empire Reborn is a fun ride through a well-thought-out alternate universe that makes me look at the Moon in a different way. How cool would it be to have friends up there who might one day come down to visit us and give us the keys to the Kingdom? Take the ride, and if you like what you read, there’s lots more in DuBoff’s universe to explore.

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