THE ICARUS PLOT by Timothy Zahn, Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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THE ICARUS PLOT by Timothy Zahn, Review

Alexander Wallace flies high.
Behind only Harry Turtledove, I am confident in saying that of all the authors I have read, Timothy Zahn comes second in terms of the number of their books I have read (I believe H. G. Wells takes the third place slot, in no small part due to the series I did on his work in the first half of 2021). His Star Wars works reignited the franchise in the early 1990s, and I adore his Conquerors trilogy, a work which I feel is some of the most daring science fiction I have ever read. Another favorite is his 1999 space opera heist novel The Icarus Hunt, which is quite the thrill ride. Imagine, then, my delight when Baen Books offered me an advance review copy of his upcoming sequel to that book, entitled The Icarus Plot.

The Icarus Plot follows up on the previous novel in the best way possible. One could read this book without having read The Icarus Hunt and mostly understand things, albeit I would argue one character’s presence benefits tremendously from having done so. There are plenty of little things to delight the longtime Zahn reader, while also bringing new fans in a way that is perfectly accessible. It builds off of concepts introduced in the original novel in a way that feels like a natural outgrowth from the original as well.

Like the first book, The Icarus Plot is a story of an interstellar underworld, borrowing heavily from crime fiction; it’s another one of those things in Zahn’s writing that make it so clear to me as to why Lucasfilm selected this man to be the one to save their most lucrative franchise. You can imagine every dimly lit taverno brought to the big screen, and every combat scene playing out right in front of you.

Zahn remains one of the best writers of action I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Every combat scene is rendered with chest-thumping intensity; it’s the sort of thing that made me cheer in one particular section of Dark Force Rising. You will have to pry yourself away from the text, how engrossing he is!

But not all of his intrigue is through open violence. Fans of Zahn’s twisting, twirling plots will be satisfied here again as always. It remains both very original and faithful to the tone and general feeling of The Icarus Hunt. It will confuse you - but isn’t that why you read a Timothy Zahn novel to begin with?

The Icarus Plot is pure fun in the way that only one of the genre’s greatest yarn-weavers can do. It’s so exciting to have been able to read this early; y’all’ll have to wait until July to get your hands on it.

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

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