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A Delightful Skirmish in Brin's Uplift Series,
This review is from: The Uplift War (Mass Market Paperback)This is the third installment in Brin's acclaimed Uplift Trilogy. On the distant planet Garth, an alien race called the Gubru attacks the Terran colonials, not only hoping to discredit the human race, but to raise their own status in a complex galactic power play. After the human colonists are quickly subdued by sophisticated gas weapons, the resistance has to come from their "uplifted clients": the intelligence-augmented chimpanzees who are conquering space at the side of their patrons. Badly outgunned by the invaders, the chimps can use help from any ally they can find, including the possibly-mythical original inhabitants of the planet, the Garthlings. The protagonist, a chimp named Fiben, is very nicely drawn, exhibiting remarkably human behavior, but with occasional hints of his animal nature showing through. His escapade in the nightclub is particularly memorable. A magnificent sci-fi adventure for adults as well as mid-to-older teens.
It probably isn't necessary to read the two previous volumes of this trilogy to enjoy this novel; Sundiver is a rambling jumble of a book, and only provides the most general type of background for the next two, and while Startide Rising opens a lot of the issues that are being pursued here, the focus is on a completely different battle in the greater war, and tends to get bogged down by the trinary poetry that is spoken by the uplifted dolphin race. But after all, if you're a fan of Brin's particular brand of galactic intrigue, you may as well begin at the beginning, since sooner or later you'll probably want to read these books anyway.
For the more discriminating reader, this novel is a little more tightly controlled than Startide, managing to keep its twists and turns within the context of the immediate story, instead spending most of its pages setting up larger issues for future volumes. There are plenty of surprises, but again, some editing could have made this a tighter and more thoroughly enjoyable book. Also, a warning: for the concluding book of a trilogy, this volume provides very little in the way of answers to the broader questions presented in Startide Rising. One hopes that the Second Uplift trilogy will provide some closure on these bigger issues.