There is something about the Alien/Predator universe that has always kept me enthralled whenever I come across a new piece of fiction. I made the silly mistake of thinking that the films were all that there was when it came to getting my fix of creature-based carnage but no, there is much more to be enjoyed than that. Predator: Incursion is a new book from Tim Lebbon that draws the creatures of that hostile universe together and, as it is the first of The Rage War trilogy, there are clearly plans for one hell of a fight coming our way.
The first in an epic trilogy crossing between Predator, Alien, and AVP! When huge Predator spacecraft begin entering human space in alarming numbers, the Colonial Marines assume an invasion and launch a full military response. Then they learn that the Predators are fleeing an invading force–an army of Xenomorphs! Someone has learned how to weaponize the Aliens, and their trajectory through Predator space has placed them on a path to Earth. Beginning an epic three-book space war that will include: Predator: Incursion; Alien: Invasion; Alien vs. Predator: Armageddon.
Weaponzied Xenomorphs! If that doesn’t get your interest, nothing will. There is a lot more to the story than that however, the Predators playing a very large part as a threat too. Strange explosions rock the Human Sphere (the range of human territory in the galaxy), space stations are destroyed and the Colonial Marines are left scrambling to find out who the perpetrators are. At the same time, “Yautja” (Predator) activity is increasing, and attacks on remote settlements and space stations are escalating beyond the usual uneasy tit-for-tat scuffles humanity is used to. It’s safe to say that it’s not a secure time to be human.
Something that you will see upon beginning the book is that each chapter is devoted to one character’s point of view. It begins with Lilya, an artificial human, then switches to Johnny Mains, Lieutenant of Excursionist team the Voidlarks, and so on. This gives the effect that the reader is in a privileged position, able to know far more about what is going on from more areas and points of view than the characters are able to. It’s just as well, there is certainly a lot going on. This segmentation also prevents the reader from becoming too fatigued with any one location, the events unfolding rarely taking that long. This adds a sprightliness to the story which culminated in my reading of the book in just under three days, and I certainly didn’t rush through its 361 pages.
I enjoyed seeing how the seemingly disconnected events all came together as the story progressed, the consequences of Lilya’s furtive theft in the prologue becoming clear only later. The range of peril was also quite refreshing, Johnny Mains and his Voidlarks end up learning more about the Yautja habitat that they have been spying on than they ever thought possible. Likewise, scientist Isa Palant aka “Yautja Woman”, is situated on a research station and is used to studying Yautja body parts. Again, she is someone who soon comes to meet the objects of her obsession in a life changing meeting of forces. The reader too will learn a little about the enigmatic Yautja, particularly some of their more tortuous creations and the way their society seems to function.
As it is the first part of a trilogy, even though the book closes off a number of narrative threads, it naturally leaves things teetering on the precipice, the reader still eager to find out what happens next. Book two, Alien: Invasion is due out in April 2016 so thankfully there is not too long to wait for the story to continue. I thoroughly enjoyed Predator: Incursion, the story was gripping and the setting and nuggets of insight into the universe and creatures contained therein a welcome diversion from everyday life. If you enjoy anything related to Alien or Predator, you should definitely check out this book!
AUTHOR: Tim Lebbon
PUBLISHER: Titan Books
Reviewer: Casey Douglass