Walter Hunt's debut novel The Dark Wing was favorably compared to Ender's Game, Babylon 5, Honor Harrington, and C.S. Forester. The publication of the second volume The Dark Path was heralded by Analog as "a quest that may well prove science fiction's version of The Lord of the Rings."
The Dark Ascent
The war with the zor is long over, and Admiral Marais, the legendary "Dark Wing" is long dead, though some of his companions on that campaign of xenocide still remain, and in the alien philosophies of the past their might exist man's hope for salvation in the very near future.
The Dark Path introduced a new alien force into the delicate balance of power ... one that was the actual puppetmaster of the human-zor war and now wishes to bring both worlds under its madness inducing shadow.
But the same ancient philosophy of the zor race that prophesized "the Dark Wing" has also foreseen a hero that will meet the new menace --a hero now mystically embodied in a rebellious space commodore by the name of Jackie Lappierre.
As armadas clash and outposts fall, the overly confident alien menace is forced to confront a zor human alliance that has been warned, their covert and insidious plans of infiltration now exposed. ... though victory is hardly ascertained for either side in The Dark Ascent.
From Publishers WeeklyWith its complexities of plot and character, Hunt’s fast-paced space adventure, the third book in his Dark Wing series (after 2003’s The Dark Path), rises above the humdrum repetitions typical of this SF subgenre. In exploring the universe in the far future, humans have fought a war with the zor race, birdlike aliens whose mental communication entails an intricate religious devotion to the legends of their hero, Qu’u, and to a lost magic sword, the gyaryu. That war is now long past. Human and zor, along with the noncombatant raskh, work together to battle a race of implacable mind-controllers, the vuhl, who can also take on other shapes and infiltrate space stations and ships as well as entire cultures, bending all to their will. Jackie Lappierre, a human who’s been connected to the hsi of her dead zor friends, finds herself appointed to retrieve their sword and use its powers to confront the vuhl. Keeping track of the players—the heroes and the villains, alive and dead—is a delightful challenge. So is distinguishing the manipulated from the manipulators. The many borrowings from Zen Buddhism and Taoist philosophy, not to mention the resemblance of the zor language to the old style of transliterated Chinese, add depth and interest.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From BooklistThe human-zor war (see The Dark Wing, 2001) is long over, and the now-allied former foes face the shape-changing vuhl, who enjoy their share of devastating victories. Still, the zor and humans were warned and don't entirely lack resources. But something is going on that isn't quite right. The power behind the vuhl, which was also behind the human-zor conflict, has motives that are only hinted at here. Suffice it to say that the history of the zor does not match its legend. Ex-commodore Jackie Lapierre, forced into playing out a zor legend in The Dark Passage (2002), can choose among different courses this time, and the vuhl are finally thrown into confusion when roundly defeated. They react with a regime change, but the wars' mysterious backers continue playing strange games, occasionally seeming to help human forces, more often supporting the vuhl--always pursuing goals that may not coincide with those of ostensible allies. This surprisingly thoughtful space opera, lacking neither adventure nor battles, considers issues of genocide and enmity in surprising depth. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved