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Babylon 5: Armies of Light and Dark: Legions of Fire: Book II [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter David
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Book Description

May 2 2000 Babylon 5: Legions of Fire (Book 2)
The Drakh have assaulted Earth with deadly Shadow technology--but the worst is yet to come in this stunning continuation of the Babylon 5 epic adventure . . .

Centauri Prime has been infiltrated by malevolent allies of the Shadows, creatures known as the Drakh. While Centauri citizens continue to rebuild their war-torn planet, their secret masters work feverishly toward one ultimate goal: to crush the Interstellar Alliance once and for all.

As the Drakh carry out their horrific plans, Emperor Londo Mollari languishes on his throne, a puppet of the Drakh-bred keeper, an insidious creature that monitors his every thought, word, and action. While the emperor broods, the power-obsessed Lord Durla--an unwitting Drakh pawn--follows his own agenda.

But Drakh control is not absolute. Vir Cotto--a most unlikely hero--has begun a resistance movement, and Alliance President John Sheridan has sent his most trusted troubleshooter, Michael Garibaldi, to investigate.  Yet this move may prove costly, and though the Centauri continue to build a new military machine, the Alliance avoids any overt confrontation, hoping the problem will go away.

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Vir stood before the giant, crackling energy gate. The ground around him was littered with bodies. On the other side of the gate loomed something so dark, so evil, that he was paralyzed with fear, and then he remembered a time--days, even hours ago--when he had been convinced that he could never, would never, be afraid of anything ever again. He would have laughed at his arrogance were he not too terrified to laugh, and his thoughts spun back to that period a short time before--

It seems to Vir a lifetime ago that he had stood before the techno-mages and trembled. In fact, it had not even been the techno-mages themselves. Instead he had quivered as shadows in a darkened corridor had loomed around him in a most threatening manner.

Vir had been going to speak with the techno-mages on Londo's behalf. The mission had seemed fraught with peril at the time. Londo had required him to inform the techno-mages that he, Londo, wished to meet with them.

That was it. That was all. Tell them that Londo wanted to set up a meeting. Beginning, middle, end of the assignment. But oooohh, how his knees had knocked, and oooohh, how the breath had caught within his chest, all because of an assignment that had involved nothing except acting as Londo Mollari's messenger boy.

He reflected upon that incident, and found the man he was at that time to be rather amusing, even buffoonish. What a charming, amusing individual he had been. He had always acted out of concern for everyone's needs.

That person was dead.

His death had not been abrupt. Instead it had been an agonizingly slow process, as he died by degrees. The final death-blow had been when he had slain the Emperor Cartagia--

No. No, on second thought, that wasn't it at all. No, the deathblow to the man that Vir Cotto had once been had come on the day when he had waggled his fingers cheerfully at the severed head of Mr. Morden, as it adorned a pike outside the imperial residence. Oh, certainly, he had once commented how much he looked forward to such an event, but he hadn't really meant it. The truth was that it hadn't been all that long ago that seeing a bodiless head would have been enough to make him physically ill.

Yet there he had stood, reveling in the death of an enemy. Granted, Morden had been the incarnation of evil, but even so--it had been a truly hideous punishment. And the Vir of old would never have taken such personal joy and satisfaction in witnessing its aftermath.

But that was the Vir of  old.

Vir had been struck by fear over many things in his life. Those huge Shadow ships, or the techo-mages, or the sight of Londo sliding toward darkness while he, Vir, could do nothing to stave off the inevitable.

However, the single most frightening thing he had ever had to contend with was pondering the future. If a few short years had turned him into the current incarnation of Vir Cotto, what in the name of the Great Maker would he be like years further down the line?

Casting aside these thoughts, the Vir-of-the-moment, however, was determined not to dwell on such things. Instead he tossed restlessly in a small vessel belonging to the every beings from whom he had cowered in fear, only a few years before.

On some level, he knew that he should be afraid of even entering a vessel belonging to techno-mages. However, in the past week alone, Vir had discovered that the new, deliriously joyful love of his life, Mariel, had actually been stringing him along. She had been playing him for a fool, using him simply to position herself so that she would have greater access to assorted diplomats and ambassadors on Babylon 5. He could guess why, although he suspected that espionage very likely had something to do with it. Then he had learned that Londo was involved with beings that were servants of the long-gone Shadows, creatures called the Drakh. One of them was named Shiv'kala, and the mere mention of the name had been enough to get Vir thrown into a Centauri Prime dungeon. If Londo had not interceded and freed him, Vir would already be dead.

He wondered just what it had cost Londo to purchase Vir's freedom. What had he promised to do in exchange? What further piece of Londo's soul--presuming there was any of it left--had been traded away so that Vir could continue on the twisted path of his own destiny?

He couldn't remember the last time he had slept soundly. Once he had entered the techno-mage vessel, however, the female named Gwynn had led him to a seat and told him in no uncertain terms to go to sleep.

"Sleep," he had said bitterly, the stink of the dungeon still heavy in his nostrils. "You can't be serious. Sleep, my dear woman, is absolutely the last thing that I'll be capable of. Thanks anyway."

Whereupon Gwynn had touched two fingers to his temple, and suddenly the room was swimming. Vir's eyelids had been unable to sustain him, and in an instant, he had passed out. It was not, however, anything remotely resembling a peaceful dream state. Images of Mariel, Londo, Timov, Durla, all tumbled one over the other, fighting for dominance in his mind. There was Londo, white-haired and tired, many years hence, with a glass of some sort of liquor clutched in his hand. He appeared to be waiting for someone.

And then someone was approaching him. It was Vir, and he had his hands out, and they were around Londo's throat, strangling him. Suddenly Vir's hands were transformed into Narn hands, and Vir was cast outside of the moment, watching as G'Kar stood over Londo with murder in his eyes--no. In his eye.

Durla was there as well, and he was dancing--yes. He was dancing with Mariel, while Chancellor Lione plucked away an aimless tune that Vir could not identify. Curiously, both Mariel and Durla were covered with blood.

There was a full-length mirror standing nearby. Vir stared into it, and he saw himself clad in the imperial white. He turned back and there was Londo, with no G'Kar in sight. He looked as he had when Vir had first met him. He looked so young. Only nine, ten years had passed since that day, but Great Maker, what a decade it had been. Londo, who had seemed so burdened with his crushed expectations of what the Centauri Republic should be, nevertheless seemed relatively carefree compared to what he would eventually become. He raised a glass to Vir and tilted it back.

Blood poured from the glass and splattered all over Londo's face. Then he placed the glass down and reached toward Vir with a blood-covered hand. Vir stepped back, back, then bumped against a wall. There was nowhere for him to go, nowhere for him to retreat. Marial and Durla waltzed past, onto a balcony, and then went over the railing and vanished from sight. Vir opened his mouth to cry out, but his voice was not his own. Instead it was the cry of millions of souls issuing from his single throat. Outside the balcony off which Mariel and Durla had just plunged, he could see Centauri Prime--and it was burning. Great tongues of flame were licking a sky thick with inky black smoke.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Drink before reading, don't want them to know. Feb. 22 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book, based on an outline from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski (so you know it's official), covers the period in B5's history detailing the continuing rule of Emperor Londo Mollari's of Centauri Prime, all while under the thumb of the Drakh.
As the Drakh continue the plans of the Shadows, their former masters, forces start brewing both on and off Centauri Prime once certain people learn what's going on. And the Drakh attack on Earth sure didn't help much.
This book continues to fill in the twenty-year gap at the end of the Babylon 5 series, and is just as riveting as the show, because we know what happens, and when, but these books explain how and why. Strongly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vir hits the big time April 21 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This middle part of the trilogy is the best page-turner of the three. While Emperor Mollari becomes increasingly irrelevant to events on his world, the government around him grows into something he would not have dreamed and is powerless to stop. His former attache, Vir Cotto, finds the undying love of a beautiful woman and is, to his credit, ambivalent about the whole affair. And the much-beloved techno-mage Galen makes some beautifully crafted appearances, filling in his time away from the Excalibur during the same time frame of the "Crusade" series.
This volume gathers nearly the entire cast of characters from "Babylon 5," as they relate to the Centauri homeworld, and uses them variously as foils or informing observers to the action going on with Londo, Vir, and several other major Centauri characters introduced in the first book. The Drakh, imitating their Shadow masters as the universe's newest evil puppeteers, are setting up the Centauri as their unwitting allies, and one Centauri stands in their way. On to book three...
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5.0 out of 5 stars MUST read for every B5 fans Feb. 5 2003
By Z
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Great continuity of the best trilogy. Out of all chracters Vir is most unlikely to become leader of the resistance. Very good character development. This Trilogy supposed to be on the reading list of every B5 fan
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing addition to the B5 bookshelf Nov. 12 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading Jeanne Cavelos series on the Techno-Mages before reading this series. The difference in quality is amazing. Deep vs. shallow.
I read the book, but it had the cheap knock-off feel that so many spin off books have.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vir's Coming of Age Aug. 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The middle part of the Centauri Trilogy dwells on Vir and his personal growth from a bumbling, affable, goof to the man who will save Centauri Prime from the Drahk. The events eading up to his change are believable and very well written.
The machintion of Lord durla are also intriguing to anyone interested in Machiavellian political maneuverings. This is a fantastic bridge in the trilogy and well worth a read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deeper into the story June 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a good book for Babylon 5 fans. It dives deeper into the problems that led to the destruction of Centari Prime(the second time) and the eventual liberation of the Centari. Well writen and fast paced. But noy as good as the Techno mage trilogy
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Transformation of Vir Feb. 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Picking up where the first book in the trilogy left off, this book focuses on Vir. At the end of THE LONG NIGHT OF CENTAURI PRIME, Vir had been banished from the palace by Londo. This book opens as the techno-mages find him and they set off to find the truth behind the excavation at K0643. But that is not the end of the evil influence of the Drakh over Centauri Prime. Slowly, Vir realizes he must start taking action if he is to save his world.
Peter David continues to shine as a writer in this book. Once again, the characterizations from the series are perfect, and the references to events in both Babylon 5 and Crusade make the book lots of fun for the devoted fan. Vir changes dramatically in this book into a leader. Yet he powerfully retains his innocence and soul. The book leaves you anxious to pick up the last book in the series to get the full picture of the events from WAR WITHOUT END.
That is my main problem with the story, however. After the build up of the first book, this one seems to drag in spots. It's like it knows it's just the placeholder between the opening and ending of the trilogy. It's still worth reading; I was just expecting a bit more after the excellent first book.
Once again, the devoted Babylon 5 fan will enjoy this look into the story hinted at but never told in the series itself. Readers not familiar with the series will still enjoy the story without being lost, but they won't fully grasp everything happening. Either way, it will leave the reader anxious for the conclusion to the story of Centauri Prime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for B5 Fans! Dec 3 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There is NO QUESTION that this trilogy (Legions of Fire) did not skip a beat where the PSI CORPS/Bester (J. Gregory Keyes) books left off. Words can not describe this trilogy, so I suggest you add it to your cart and read it! You'll be glad you did!
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