Hellhole: Inferno

Hellhole: Inferno by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Hellhole: Inferno brings a satisfying ending to a fun sci-fi series. With a large cast of characters, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have laid out a story that’s one part military sci-fi, one part political suspense, and one part alien exploration. As an exiled general tries to save his frontier colonies from annihilation, he must deal with vengeful galactic rulers, treachery from his own allies, and the threat of alien attackers who can move asteroids with their minds and posses other beings against their will. As the third book in the trilogy, Inferno brings a climatic end to the shattering events.

With such a large cast, there are a lot of plotlines in this story, some more important than others. General Tiber Adolphus struggles to protect his people from the vengeful Constellation fleet as well as the impending threat of the alien Ro-Xayans. On a smaller scale, he has to deal with ruling the planet Halholme and leading the 52 worlds of the Deep Zone with all their varied issues. Plus there’s the Xayans and their quest for ala’ru (a spiritual transcendence).

On the flip-side of the conflict is Commodore Percival Halholme and his duty to defeat General Adolphus and his rebel followers. Percival is also motivated by his desire to free his capture son, Escobar, who is imprisoned on Hellhole. But Halholme’s sense of honor is constantly tested by the corrupt leaders of the Constellation.

That leads us to Diadem Michella Duchenet, the Black Lord Riomini, and Ishop Heer. Michella is the evil queen of the Constellation and insistent on subduing the rebellion of the Deep Zone worlds. The ruthless Riomini is an ambitious nobly vying for power and scheming to be the next Diadem of the Constellation. Then there’s Ishop Heer, Michella’s hatchet man, and a dangerous servant who is bent on righting an ancient wrong by killing members of the Constellation’s nobles. He’s almost completed his list of revenge save for one…a Duchenet.

Yet that only scratches the surface of the long list of characters and plots. There are exiled nobles questing for revenge, alien prophets striving for nirvana, imprisoned officers trying to escape, miners, pilots, bureaucrats, ship captains, etc. All of them characters who have had their in’s and out’s in the previous books and who get their final chapters in this one.

Taking it all in, Inferno is an entertaining read. While the conclusion doesn’t rank it as anything earth shattering, it’s satisfying. Some of my favorite characters, like Ishop Heer and Laderna, didn’t have the best endings. Yet others like Percival and Adolphus were pretty good. With so many characters, it was kind of hit and miss. Not all of them had important parts to play. The one’s who got short-shifted were disappointing or just not all that interesting.

The build up and conclusion of the plots, however, was handled a lot better. There were several battles, changes of power, and constant turmoil and surprises. It kept the story fun and unpredictable. Plus many of the plots, though seemingly disconnected, tied back into each other. As an end product, it worked well.

If you’re already read the previous two novels, you’re kind of suck in having to read the third. The good new is it’s worthwhile. For those who haven’t jumped into the series yet, it’s worth checking out. As stated above, it’s a sprawling sci-fi epic with a large cast, layered plots and lots of drama, action and surprises. I give Hellhole: Inferno a four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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