Michael A. Stackpole,
Mechwarrior: Ghost War
(Roc, 2002)

Welcome to the Dark Age, courtesy of Michael Stackpole. After a leap of several decades into the future from the last Battletech novel, things have changed far more, perhaps, than during the entire succession wars period. Nearly all the familiar characters from the past are dead, leaving only a very limited tie to the past; in fact there is really only one returning character from the old days.

Humanity is still fractured with regards to any single galactic government, but there has been an inroad to peace, if only in a limited region of space. Unfortunately, though this new principality has been around for a while, it is not so secure as its residents might hope.

The initiation of the Dark Age concept actually occurs several months before the book begins, with the centuries-old, high-speed interstellar communications network being sabotaged by unknown conspirators. This has forced all the interdependent worlds to begin fending for themselves for the first time in a long time. The results are frightening, with power being seized by very unsavory individuals.

Writing in the first person, a first for any of the Battletech and Mechwarrior series, Stackpole shows the same brilliant prose and excellent action and intrigue that his readers have come to expect from him. While the game line might not appeal to all the old fans, I think that the new storyline will. Except for a few redrawn political lines, the universe is still recognizable. And for new readers to the game universe, Stackpole does a good job in bringing the reader up to speed on the past 60-plus years of the Inner Sphere. I highly recommend this book.

- Rambles
written by Melissa Kowalewski
published 7 April 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.