Desperate Endeavor by Glen Olson

jmurawski's review

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adventurous slow-paced

readerglen's review

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adventurous hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


"Mikail Benson remembers the war with the AranthChi well; it still haunts his sleep (“In his worst dreams, the dead floated in the void with him, close enough to touch, too late to help”). The long conflict saw much suffering and many lives lost…and its end was just as much of a surprise as its beginning. After years of bloodshed, the alien race suddenly wanted to talk of peace, and of working together to share information and technology.

Mikail found himself no longer a soldier — now he runs the Office of Alien Technologies, reviewing the questions and answers that go from humans to AranthChi and back. Despite what so many others seem to think, Mikail is not convinced peace will last, even 36 years later.

It turns out he’s right:

Marsh(ee), the alpha male of Least Clan of the AranthChi, uses the fact that he is far enough out in Aranth-run space (and all but forgotten) to wage a “faux war with humanity.”

Just as Mikail uncovers evidence of the AranthChi treachery and begins to formulate a plan, the aliens’ High Council of Great Clans learns of Marsh(ee)’s planned revolt and alerts their ships to plan to attack the humans in retaliation for aiding a traitor.

Mikail might be too late to save humanity — if they couldn’t defeat a small fraction of the AranthChi forces years ago, what hope do they have against the whole fleet? In this riveting SF yarn, readers are treated to diabolical political plots and a thrilling race to save the world as we know it.

Even with the human characters evolved to enjoy longer lifespans, it’s enjoyable to see an older hero in an adventure story (Mikail is 70). His experience in the war still affects him emotionally, giving his character a level of depth that feels utterly genuine and admirable.

A well-written and compelling SF novel, with an older, wiser, battle-hardened hero." Kirkus Reviews