Aspect, June 2003, 6.99, 296 pp.
By the thirty-sixth century mankind has spread all over the universe. Jak Jinnaka has finally graduated from the Hive and was employed by the Protectorates Administrative Service Corps, stationed on Mar's outer moon Deimos. He is actually a double agent working to further the Hive's interests and goals. When his supervisor leaves him in charge of Deimos, he is given a mission that will take him to Mars.
In the ruins of Chrysepolus, an archeologist finds the lifelog of Paj Nakagen, the founder of the interstellar religion known as the Wager. The Martian king possesses the diary that Jak must retrieve by persuading the monarch to turn it over to him on behalf of PASC (actually, the Hive). Others will do anything to get their hands on these priceless records, but the most dangerous is Jak's ex-girlfriend the evil princess Shyf of Greenword. She conditioned him to love her unconditionally and give her anything she wants, an obsession that he has not been entirely erased which makes success for Jak quite difficult to achieve.
If one can imagine a futuristic version of the TV series Get Smart, than readers will have a very good idea of what IN THE HALL OF THE MARTIAN KING is like. The hero of this fast-paced, action-packed space romp is an adorable man who tries to do his job and ends up alienating even more people than he did in his last caper (see A PRINCESS OF THE AERIE). John Barnes has put the fun back in space opera and readers will love him for doing that.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner