This is a difficult book to review. Well in one way its very easy to review – it's an excellent action story, with some clever set-pieces that essentially gives the Outlanders scenario a hefty kick. However when it comes to explaining why I hit a problem because that means revealing spoilers and the less you know about the plot, the more I think you'll enjoy this novel. Rik Hoskin brings to a head many of the ongoing storylines which he and the editors have been working on since “The Janus Trap”. So if you've read the last six books then you're going to get some added satisfaction but if you've been dipping in and out then don't worry, you won't be lost because all the information you need is there.
The Cerberus Redoubt is attacked and conquered by the brainwashed army of Ullikummis, the rogue Annunaki god. Kane, Brigid, Grant and their friends wake up inside stone cells with no doors. Weakened, defenseless and cut-off from each other, they begin to realize that their enemy wants to do far worse that kill them.
There's a real determination to challenge some of the series basic elements and refresh them that worked really well for me. For instance the Annunaki have regularly been described as being near immortal and multi-dimensional but this book really tries to describe and understand what that means. As Ullikummis tells Brigid scornfully, did Cerebus really think his race were just humans in reptile costumes? Rather like army training, this story is about the regulars been broken down to rock bottom, then slowly building themselves up again.
Some of the strongest scenes take place between the stone god and Brigid as he interrogates her, teaches her about his own race and forces her to face her hidden feelings about the imaginary daughter she had in “The Janus Trap”.
Describing the invasion of Cerberus in flashbacks is a neat device that keeps the plot moving forward whilst giving this event the detail and weight it deserves. There's a still room for a fair amount of gun play and fight sequences, which the author once again handles adroitly. By the end of the book the series as a whole is moving in a new, grittier direction and based on the classic “To be continued” cliffhanger I am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next.