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The end is nigh Heaven's Fall'

August 1, 2013
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Sci-fi trilogy reaches conclusion

There's a definite bittersweetness when a trilogy comes to an end. If you've been truly engaged by an overarching work of literature, seeing that work reach its conclusion while satisfying can make for a difficult goodbye.

The time has come to bid a fond farewell to a good one.

David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt have put the finishing touches on their 'Heaven' trilogy with the third book 'Heaven's Fall' (Ace, $25.95). The duo began their journey with 2011's 'Heaven's Shadow' and carried forward with 2012's 'Heaven's War' before reaching this, their final destination.

The novel continues the story of the Near-Earth Object (NEO) known colloquially as 'Keanu' (just as a note, I have loved that joke from the get-go and it still makes me chuckle when I think about it of course they named it Keanu). It has been 20 years since 187 people were scooped up from space command centers in Houston and Bangalore and whisked away into space and into the midst of a centuries-long war between alien races.

But the people of Keanu led by Rachel Stewart, daughter of Zack Stewart, leader of the first expedition have found a way to turn the enormous ship back toward Earth. Unfortunately, the Earth they are returning to is vastly different from the one that they left.

It seems that the alien race they forced out of Keanu known as Reivers or simply the Aggregate made its way to Earth and promptly seized control of the Western Hemisphere. These aliens have enlisted the human populations of their dominion in a grand projecta project intended to help them finally win the war they've been fighting since time immemorial.

Stewart and a band of her fellow Keanu-ites have made their way to Earth in an attempt to save the land of their birth. With a little help from those still resisting the Reiver forces, they try and find their way to a solution. However, there is no way of knowing who they can trust and with enemies as powerful as the Reivers, danger is a constant. Yet they must try, for to fail could well mean the very end of humanity as they know it.

Book three has to be the payoff we've invested a lot of time, both in terms of actual reading and of anticipation. And after the high quality of the first two books, we're expecting a grand finale a finale that 'Heaven's Fall' delivers.

Goyer and Cassutt have constructed a fascinating world with a wide-ranging populace. Following so many characters is a gamble, but in the end, it's worth it. The cast features a multitude of players whose fates intrigue us; the authors balance the long list of dramatis personae beautifully.

One of the highlights of the trilogy is the time spent delving into the ramifications behind the events that take place. Ideas about how humanity would react to things like first contact and invasion are dealt with in a thoughtful manner, with scientific and theological implications alike given due consideration. 

Of course, none of it matters if the story isn't interesting. Goyer and Cassutt fold their broad cast of characters and broader concepts into a thrilling narrative. 'Heaven's Fall' is hard sci-fi with heart, a combination that results in an impactful tale that is powerfully told.

'Heaven's Fall' is a fitting conclusion to one of the better sci-fi trilogies of recent years. It brings an intricately constructed, emotionally engaging tale to a satisfying end. It's a shame to say goodbye to such a richly-realized group of characters, but at least they managed one hell of an exit.

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