Antares Victory, by Michael McCollum, picks up where Antares Passage left off. The humans, led by Richard and Bethany Drake, have discovered the secret to defeating the alien Ryall: take out the hub of their empire. If the humans can take control of the Ryall home system, located in the Spica (Alpha Virginis) system, they can cripple their ability to do anything.
This final volume in the trilogy was published in 2002, fifteen years after the second volume. McCollum’s writing style changed a bit over the intervening years, but the feel of the original two books is still there. I am disappointed that Antares Victory wasn’t published by Del Rey, but I am also glad the author was able to finish the series.
The Ryall continue to be a very interesting alien species. I thought McCollum did an excellent job in making the Ryall culture unique and alien, revealing it a little at a time and leaving the reader guessing about it right up until the very end of the book. The climax of the book and the trilogy hinged on this alienness, and that worked very well.
McCollum continued to build up the Drakes as the main characters, though it would have been nice to have this same characterization happening more in the first volume. This is the volume where these two began to feel like real people, and this made the climax much more enjoyable since I finally had human characters with which I could identify. Until Antares Victory, I found the alien Ryall to be far more interesting than any of the main characters, and while they remained very interesting, it was nice to have the main characters finally have enough depth to surpass them.
Unfortunately, while Richard Drake was the appointed main character, his wife, Bethany, continued to outshine him as the story’s choice as main character. This was somewhat disconcerting while reading as McCollum did not seem to know that his selected main character was being upstaged at every turn by Bethany and the Ryall. This was a weakness in this book and in the series as a whole.
Despite the weaknesses discussed above, I still enjoyed Antares Victory. Waiting 15 years for the final volume to be published, and not knowing about it being published until 7-8 years after that, was rather annoying, but I enjoyed the conclusion to the Antares story. Though scientific knowledge has improved quite a bit since the first volume (enough so that some of the “facts” mentioned in the story have been refined and changed in the real world since then), I still recommend this book and the series. Read them for Bethany and the Ryall.
Release Date: September 4, 2002 (USA)
ISBNs: 1929381093 (9781929381098)
Publisher: Sci-Fi Arizona
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking)
Language: 1 (occasional mild, deity)
Sexuality: 1 (some brief, implied sex)
Violence: 2 (some science fiction violence, death, intense space battles)