Roc, Jan 2003, 23.95, 480 pp.
The second Empire was bright and good, with human, AI, esper and alien living together in harmony. On the empire's capital world, King Douglas appointed Lewis Deathstalker as the King's Champion much to the dismay of Finn Durandal who expected the appointment. Finn managed to trump up charges against Lewis and become the King's Champion but Deathstalker escaped along with Douglas's fiancée.
They escape in a stolen spaceship along with a con artist thief, a sociopathic gladiator and Saturday the replitoid. These five outlaws must find a way to stop Finn's growing reign of terror as he consolidates his power. Their final destination after a series of adventures is the world of Haden where Lewis must travel to the center of the Madness Maze in the hopes of bringing his illustrious ancestor Owen Deathstalker back from the dead. Only he can stop Finn and the terror, a phenomenon that is destroying all inhabited worlds.
Fans of the various Star Wars and Star Trek novels are going to love Simon R. Green's epic science fiction series. There is plenty of action and adventure but basically DEATHSTALKER RETURN is a story about people, men and women who rise to the occasion and become heroes vs. those who take advantage of a situation and become villains. The story is told from both points of views so readers understand what is going on in the minds and hearts of the characters at all times. There is going to be another book in the series because there is one very big question that must be answered and the author cleverly sets it up with the last sentence of the last page.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner