Tor, Jan 2004, 25.95, 386 pp.
The inhabitants of the twin planets Prairie and Timber feel euphoric having defeated the Huvean invasion. However, as Plenitpotenary Gregor prepares to have the Huvean prisoners executed over the objection of his granddaughter Luon who loves a Huvean, the Berserkers invade the twin-planets.
The Twins do not know much about these robots except that they are ancient construct killing machines. Ironically, only the Huvean might be able to stop the raiders, but they are prisoners with death awaiting them. Will the Plenitpotenary negotiate life for life or will he remain stubborn in face of the Berserker assault that means with no help certain Twin pandemic genocide?
Fans of the Berserker series will enjoy this solid but typical ninth book. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action and the usual Cecil DeMille-size cast. Though the valiant good guys without thought are willing to die for the Twin-Huvean cause, the Berserker robots are as malevolent as ever. An interesting underlying theme throughout the plot is Fred Saberhagan's Laws of Robotics: (1) a simple output is better generated by machine; (2) situations when values should determine outcomes, humanity needs to supersede computers. Though quite predictable as a normal Berserker entry, this still remains a prime space opera.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner