Pride of the Genii Review
Pride of the Genii
By Melissa Scott
Pride of the Genii written by Melissa Scott is the latest Stargate Atlantis novel released through Fandemonium aka Stargate Novels and is part of the Legacy series. If you are unaware of this series of novels then they begin where the TV series left off and followed Atlantis back to the Pegasus galaxy and into the chaos that was the Wraith and the Genii as well as many other factions who rode out the turbulent times after the city returned to the Milky Way. Hopefully if you are indeed reading Pride of the Genii then you are up to speed with the Legacy storyline and nothing here will be spoilers for the novels previously published.
In the aftermath of the unprecedented cooperation between the Tau'ri, Genii, Wraith Hives and many others the treaties or more simply agreements were surprisingly holding, the dominant Wraith Queen and supporting Hives are remaining within their domains and with the retrovirus offering a long term solution to their interaction with the population of Pegasus things are looking up. The Genii and other "human" populations are seeing an immediate future where there will be no culling and already progress and social reawakening are taking place on many worlds.
This latest novel from Melissa focuses on the Genii and the recovered Ancient warship they brought to the final battle with Queen Death. Now fully repaired (or at least the best it can be without an Ancient shipyard) the Pride of the Genii with her crew many with ATA gene therapy derived from Wraith tech the Genii venture forth on a "goodwill" tour of allied worlds. This mission is the jewel in the still young leadership of Ladon Radim and nothing can go wrong but with the military coup an accepted way to gain power any weakness or misfortune could spell the end of his rule and his life. Of course misfortune does strike the ship soon after a visit to the world of Teos as an illness brings down many of her small crew, things take a turn for the worse as the ATA therapy seems to unravel removing vital members of the select crew who directly control the ship. Faced with an ever increasing risk to the ship and the threat of carrying a contagion to a human world or even worse the Genii homeworld the ship races towards an uninhabited world with a Stargate in orbit. What they do know is that there is indeed a saboteur on board and communications have been compromised, no one knows where they are and it's a big galaxy. Meanwhile Colonel John Sheppard and a select few are on Genii taking part in a major celebration, they are after all allied with these people and politically both sides play nice. Ladon finds himself asking for help in searching for his ship which causes some issues with a few of his Generals but this is a new dawn for the Genii and Ladon is a far more savvy political player then those that came before him.
As the Puddle Jumpers of Atlantis scour the predicted flight path of the Pride of the Genii they finally arrive on Teos, things on this world seem a little off. They are allied with Genii but they seem eager to trade and deal with Atlantis directly but when a jumper is fired upon by a primitive ballistic weapon some of the Teosians seem eager to make recompense and thus a lead is revealed to the fate of the Genii starship.
Pride of the Genii is a great addition to the Legacy series of Stargate Atlantis novels as it builds strongly on the core of the series in growing societies and factions that were side stepped on the tv show or simply had so much more to offer. The Wraith have benefited greatly from the world building over the course of Legacy and now it's time for the Genii and for a society that played a part as an antagonist on the tv show there is so much more we need to know about them as a people and the individuals. Melissa delivers in full by not only cementing Ladon as a central character (who still has shades of light and dark) but bringing forth the social order he oversees. A military culture was firmly crafted for the show but we see a bit more of the push and pull within the military and how the science division and even civilian elements operate. It spoke volumes that when Ladon was dealing with the families of the missing crew he did something no Genii leader (in recent times) would do, he let them have their vigil, offered food and compassion, told the truth and prevented any emotionally led actions from destroying anyone's life. Cowen and Kolya would have have been brutal in suppressing even this level of "descent" but not Ladon, still not sure if he is just that good a guy or that clever, maybe a bit of both but one thing is for sure he is a leader Atlantis can deal with.
As for the Atlantis and her people not a lot was added that we did not already know, this novel really wasn't about their development although John still dealing with the demands of leadership had its moments. I did mention in my first review of a Legacy novel how I really enjoyed the description of the symbiotic relationship between pilot and Ancient ship (Atlantis in that case) but here again we get a wonderful description of the bonding and emotional element between certain Genii and the ship and later with John. The hint of maybe sentience and certainly trauma was captivating, the idea the ship itself recalled its previous close call with death and the loss of her crew and her "screams" as the atmosphere burnt her skin in an uncontrolled reentry were totally immersive. The fact the Genii commander also felt the closeness with the ship says a lot for that officer and the type of man he is, another who would be open for honest and fair dealing with Atlantis.
Overall Pride of the Genii was an excellent read, a very entertaining story with great development of a culture that was never really my favourite but I am ready for the Genii to take more of a center stage in any future Legacy novels. The Genii after all may be right, the Wraith could renege on their deal, maybe not now but in a century who knows and woe anyone that isn't prepared....