Commonwealth Universe, Age 1: Volume 1: KHYBORS: In the Beginning by Michelle Levigne (Science Fiction)

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Stephen Symons, Author
Apr 14, 2017
Like all works of true science fiction, Khybors: In the Beginning works on several levels. On the surface it is a jolly good, fast moving ripping yarn, well plotted with good characterisation. It has plenty of action, lots of chases and daring rescues, with enough bangs and biffo to please the most ardent action fan.
But beneath this also is a scathing commentary on those forces of xenophobia, exclusivism and callous humanism that seem to be an inescapable part of the human psyche. It is a commentary that brings our universe, with its hothouse histrionics, its isolationism and its refusal to accept the long-term greater good of humanity as a worthy cause, into close alignment with the universe of the Commonwealth. Time and again the reader will pause and think "I have seen this myself. This is not made up."
Beneath - or, more accurately, above - this again is the concept of what Kerin and her people call Fi'in, and the need to recognise not only the existence of a Higher Power, but also the realisation that that Power is engaged with mortal creation. On this the reader must make up his or her own mind.
With exquisite craftsmanship, Levigne has created a complex and nuanced universe in what is essentially a collection of three chronologically arranged novellas detailing the achievements of Kerin Nicorazon-Leto, her large family and many descendants. The reader must concentrate, for the action is swift and apt to change unexpectedly, and the changes are not always immediately apparent. With a huge amount of detail and references, this is, as the title suggests, the beginning of a much larger adventure that will enthral readers as answers - and more questions - arise in the sequels. As Lor says: "We have won this battle, but this is a long-view war."
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