The techno-mages have successfully hidden themselves away on an asteroid. Galen is responsible for monitoring the galaxy as the Shadows continue their rampage to promote chaos. One day he watches as the Shadows attack his former home planet of Soom. The renegade mage Elizar has come to get the information of Galen’s spell of destruction. He uses a telepath to get it from an old friend. She dies and soon after a revolt occurs among the mages. This is what Galen needs to convince the Circle he needs to leave their sanctuary and kill three people. Elizar his sister Razeel and Morden the chief Shadow agent. His journey takes him to Babylon 5 and eventually the Shadow homeworld of Za’Ha’Dum. There he has an epic final confrontation that will alter the course of the Shadow War.
The final book in the trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion. Galen has a confrontation with the murderer of his lover. He learns the secrets of the tech and helps Sheridan who is also on Za’Ha’Dum. We get some more background from the TV series that wasn’t shown. In this instance what happened to Anna Sheridan the wife of John Sheridan. She was joined to a Shadow ship and her personality was forever enslaved to the Shadow machine. We find out Morden was serving the Shadows on the chance they could rescue his wife and daughter who he though could be trapped in another dimension. We find out Galen was the one who managed to disable the great eye and allow Sheridan to plow his explosive laden ship into the Shadow city. Plus some insightful look into the Vorlon Kosh’s reasoning while part of his soul was inside Sheridan. Galen was not really part of the main series but a main figure in the short lived spin off Crusade. This was a great trilogy to give his story and the story of the mysterious techno-mages.
So this is also the last in the Babylon 5 book series. Except for 2 books it was a solid and enjoyable read. This is probably due to the creator J.M. Straczynski being very involved with it. In most if not all he sketched out the basic outlines to the stories. So they retain a firm basis in canon and don’t deviate all over the place like many more established series. Many of the books added more to the mythos and were enjoyable and informative. The second run under Del Rey really embraced filling in the stuff never covered in the series. If you are a fan of the series than you will probably enjoy reading these books.
The techno-mages are going into hiding. The Shadows have basically given them an ultimatum. Join they or be destroyed. So the mages have decide to abandon their homes and gather at a secret hideout. The plan calls for an elaborate deception. They will gather on Babylon 5. They have to use misdirection to convince the Shadows they are on one vessel that will be destroyed by them. The reality is that they escape on another and convince the Shadows they have succeeded in destroying them.
As this is going on Galen is assigned to accompany one of the Circle to a Shadow stronghold on the rim of the galaxy. It is a mission of intelligence gathering but Galen does have the hope of meeting the renegade mage Elizar who is responsible for killing the woman he loved. A confrontation does occur with Galen finding out the secret of the techno-mages. That the tech they use originated from the Shadows.
The second book is an improvement over the first. We find out that the Shadows were the ones that gave the tech they use to the race that founded their order. Only the tech enhances aggression and need to compete which destroyed the race. The whole lie is they have been dependent on the Shadows for their tech. Now the Shadows are demanding payback and they know they have to flee. Galen discovers the truth and also the destructive power he has managed to uncover. The book skillfully integrates into the events of the TV series. So we get some behind the scenes of the events that happened. The book did at some places drag a bit but was for the most part an interesting read.
Galen is about to be initiated as a full Techno-mage. At the annual convocation on the planet Soom, Galen along with other apprentices will have tech fused with their bodies. Yet there are rumors of the Shadows the ancient beings that sow chaos have once again awakened. Galen who has discovered a destructive spell seriously injures a fellow apprentice. The Circle that rules the Techno-mages decide to assign him with another new mage to investigate the rumors of the Shadows return. With Isabelle they journey to Zafran 8. There they not only find that the Shadows have returned but some of the Techno-mages have joined them. Galen manages to escape but his love Isabelle is killed by the traitorous Elizar.
The final trilogy in the Babylon 5 books is another outline from the creator. This time it gives us the story of the mysterious Techno-mages and in particular Galen. Galen was prominent in the short lived spinoff Crusade so we never really got to know him well. We find out the Techno-mages were founded by an extinct race. They join the tech with their bodies. I enjoyed the book but it did seem a bit padded. The convocation took up the first third of the book and went on forever. After that the action picked up and it was quite enjoyable. I really enjoyed Cavelos last book and it wasn’t at all padded. Don’t know if that was some directive from the publisher because her books were much longer than the previous trilogies for Del Rey. Anyway an enjoyable story that tells us more about Galen and the Techno-mages.
The Drakh’s plan is almost coming to fruition. Their unknowing tool Prime Minister Durla has assembled a huge fleet. It is ready to attack the Interstellar Alliance. The Drakh have also managed to kidnap David the teenage son of the Alliance’s President John Sheridan and Delenn. Now using him they have both Sheridan and Delenn their prisoners. Yet all is not lost. Vir Cotto has been building up a formidable resistance group called the Legions of Fire. They launch an attack that exposes the Drakh to the Centauri. In revenge they detonate a third of the hidden fusion bombs killing millions. Emperor Londo Mollari and G’kar make the ultimate sacrifice. Vir manages to become emperor and reconcile with the Alliance. A new golden age is ushered in and as a tribute to their sacrifices giant statues of Londo and G’kar are constructed at the capital city gate.
The final book in the trilogy was the best in the series. It had plenty of excitement and action. We get to find out how Vir became emperor. A look at Sheridan and Delenn’s later life. We are introduced to their son. We find out how Londo and G’kar came to the moment where they strangled each other to death that has always been glimpsed in the TV series. It managed to weave in stuff seamlessly from the series. A very enjoyable book that makes me want to check out the series after all these years.
Centauri Prime is rebuilding after the bombing of the Alliance. Things seem to be getting back to normal. Only the Drakh are slowing manipulating events. Under Durla the Minister of Internal Security he continues to place his own people in positions of power. A secret military buildup continues to get revenge against the alliance. Yet the Centauri are pawns in the plans of the Drakh. Vir Cotto is one that sees the growing threat. With help from Galen and the mysterious techno-mages he starts to form a resistance against the Drakh’s plans.
The second book continues the saga of Londo Mollari, Vir Cotto and the Centauri. This one is mainly about Vir and how he became the future emperor. We get to see him develop from the bumbling naive character we know from the series. He becomes a man of confidence and decisiveness. His first mission with the techno-mages destroys the world killer shipyard that the Drakh were using. He also manages to plant a bomb in the Prime Candidates headquarters that kills a number of people. You get the sense of his anguish from committing these killings. Or how he uses Mariel by having the techno-mages cast a love spell on her. Then callously use her against Durla who has an obsession with her. His guilt gives the character sympathy for he is doing it to save his people. A very interesting story and another excellent trilogy in the series.
Centauri Prime has been bombed by member races of the Interstellar Alliance. Londo Mollari becomes emperor soon after this. Only he is a puppet of sinister forces. The Drakh, the servants of the Shadows seek revenge against the Alliance and in particular Sheridan. They blackmail Londo with the threat of detonating hidden fusion bombs that would kill millions. So he agrees to have a Keeper, a creature attached to him to monitor his every move. He is forced to appoint Durla as Minister of Security. Durla is a power hungry man who soon appoints his own lackeys into positions of power. He slowly starts to turn Centauri Prime into a police state. Vir Cotto his former aide and friend who is now ambassador on Babylon 5 starts an underground movement against the Drakh. Aided by the mysterious Techno-Mages he starts the path of finding out about the true threat.
A story never told when the series ended was Londo Mollari’s time as emperor. We were left with him having to be a puppet of the Drakh. We did get an ending of how he died and that Vir Cotto succeeded him as emperor. So this second trilogy is giving us the story of his reign. How Vir eventually did become emperor. Once again we are given a truly epic story filled with interesting fleshed out characters. Londo Mollari is a truly tragic figure. A man who isn’t evil but whose actions caused much death and suffering. Now he seeks redemption to save his people from that evil. A very good start to this trilogy.
The Telepath War is over and Alfred Bester was on the losing side. Once the most powerful and feared man in the Earth Alliance he is now a hunted war criminal. He decides to hide out in Paris. Under a false identity he stays at a small hotel. He falls in love with the owner and takes a job as a literary critic for a small publication. Yet he is a hunted fugitive from the government and Michael Garibaldi. Garibaldi is an obsessed man with hunting down Bester and uses his corporate fortune. Soon Bester is discovered and an exciting chase begins.
Now I thought the most logical third book would deal with the Telepath War but instead Straczynski decided to go with the aftermath. I have to say that this story was the best of the trilogy. We get a real character study in Alfred Bester. A man who has an enormous ego and completely narcissistic. Yet it also revealed a human side to him when he falls in love. He actually tries to become a better person. He fails and when the chips are down goes back to his old ways. Something unexpected to have this fearsome character settle down to life of being a literary critic.
The story ends with a very exciting chase sequence that shows Bester is a very skilled operative that leaves the reader in doubt as to the outcome. Yet he ends up captured. At trial he is unrepentant for his crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the end outside his prison they erect a statue of his mother and father with their missing newborn baby. That baby is Bester and he is the only one who knows it. He finds a moment of peace and finally accepts that he is Steven Dexter. He dies and is buried at a lonely grave. At the end Garibaldi comes and drives a wooden stake into his grave in a symbolic gesture. Bester was an interesting character in the series but this trilogy gives the character such a fascinating and in depth story. Del Rey was showing that they knew what to do with this series.
Alfred Bester is raised by Psi Corp from infancy. The Corp is mother, the Corp is father. He is a loner but an ambitious child and determined to become a Psi Cop. He had a ruthless drive to get to the top. No friends or even the woman he loved would stand in his way. He would eventually achieve his power and after defeating the director of Psi Corp become its undisputed master.
This book tells the story of Alfred Bester from his early childhood all the way to adulthood. A rich story of a creepy upbringing that conditioned him to be ruthless. He would even turn in his first love because she was going rogue. Straczynski really created a rich detailed background for this character. He must of had it in his mind when he wrote it for the show. The character of Alfred Bester was one of the most fascinating in the series and now I have a much more understanding of the character. There were some parts that I wish the story didn’t skip like his time during the Minbari war interrogating prisoners. Still this story told enough and ends just at the place were he first went to Babylon 5 and was introduced to the series. A great place to end it and an excellent book. Definitely a must have for any fan of the series.
The year is 2115 and science has made a shocking discovery. Telepathy is real and many people have it. The news causes mass panic as telepaths real and imagined are killed by mobs. Senator Lee Crawford of the young Earth Alliance government takes advantage of this. He is put in charge of a new agency the Psi Corp. An agency to regulate and protect telepaths. It soon becomes clear that there is an ulterior agenda to use telepaths for covert government motives. Fiona and Matthew Dexter lead the resistance against Psi Corp. Only the rebellion is crushed and their only child a newborn infant named Stephen is taken by the Corp. Given a new name Alfred Bester he would grow up to be the most ruthless operative Psi Corp ever had.
Del Rey acquired the book rights to the series and took a different approach. By this time the series was coming to an end and the spin off Crusader was fated to be cancelled after half a season. There was a lot of elements to the Babylon 5 universe that were never addressed. So they wisely decided to fill in some gaps with a series of trilogies. All were outlined by the show’s creator. The first dealt with the Psi Corp, that sinister agency created to regulate telepaths. This first book tells the story of the birth of Psi Corp. We get a look at the early days of the Earth Alliance. We see how the Corps was formed and how it became the agency that we came to know during the show’s run. This was a really engaging book and a great start to the trilogy.
Captain Jeffrey Sinclair is relieved from duty as commander of Babylon 5 and assigned as the first Earth ambassador to the Minbari. The Minbari specifically requested him but Sinclair soon finds that he has no support from Earth. He does find that the Minbari and their Vorlon allies want him to take command of The Rangers. A legendary force from the past that defeated the Shadows. He learns that the Shadows are back and is to recruit Humans as well as Minbari for the revived Rangers. He runs into resistance from the Warrior Caste who oppose a mere Human leading the Rangers. Soon he manages to gather many recruits including a young Marcus Cole who lost his brother to the Shadows when they attacked the family mining operation. He also recruits Katherine Sakai his fiancee. His first test will be attacking a Shadow operation around Babylon 5 that could alter the course of history.
The final Dell book in the series is probably the best of the books so far. It was written by a woman who was a writer on the show from an outline by Straczynski the creator himself. The woman also happened to be his wife. It tells the story of Jeffrey Sinclair who was originally the captain of Babylon 5 in the first season. He would of course be appointed to Minbari as Earth’s first ambassador. He would train the Rangers and eventually go back in time and become Valen the mythical leader of the Minbari. We get to find out his story between these events from the show. Also a glimpse into Minbari society, culture and history. The author seamlessly integrates the story with events from the TV series. We also find out the origin of Marcus Cole and the fate of Katherine Sakai. It also shows that creator would get much more involved in the novels. When Del Ray takes over he outlined the stories for the three trilogies that would follow. If you are a fan of the series than you will love this book.