This book had more of a slow start to it than the last one.
That may be because I couldn't see the buildup coming. There
was less politics and more repercussions from the last book. There were a
lot more contrivances, too.
Essentially, we have a civil war on Abydos. We are introduced to the
farmer peoples (where did they come from? They weren't even hinted at in the
movie or the first two books). The people of Nagada have formed gangs,
have bought into the trade of money full-force, and a black market has sprung
up in no time at all. How the heck did this happen?
It turns out that Hathor sent some of her people to Abydos in
disguise. Two of her guards became citizens, and they stirred up all
sorts of trouble. Most of the black market and the civil strife seemed
to come out of that, but not all of it. The disputes between the farmers
and the miners was caused by the money issue, and the fact that people don't
want to work for money anymore. Shipments of crops to the city have been
falling to pirate attacks, who seem to be people who trained under Skaara for
a while. The wield blast-lances and machine guns. We get to see
lots of their dealings in weapons.
When a "constitution" is agreed on between the leaders of the
miners (Kasuf) and the farmers, the farmer is murdered and Kasuf is nearly
killed. The person who did it, a Horus guard, was wearing a yellow wig
to simulate Daniel.
Daniel gets into a lot of trouble in this book. His strife with
Shauri seems to be brought in from nowhere, but it understandable from her
point of view. She complains about his lack of commitment, especially in
the way he insists on using a condom during sex. Then, he publicly
disagrees with what her father is doing while leading his people. But
the last straw is when a stranger, Faizah, joins his English class, presumably
from the farmlands. She is so beautiful that every single man on the
planet gawks after her. She is, of course, Hathor in disguise.
Faizah becomes Daniel's brightest student very quickly. She helps
translate the manuals and other heirogliphics on the spaceship that Hathor was
forced to abandon in the last book. She listens to Daniel's
problems... Finally, she seduces him. But before they can get to
sex (I believe), she notices that he has in his possession the Eye of Ra,
which she knows is a key to his secret spaceship, the Boat of a Million
Years. She takes him there, and after he escapes her, she flies the
thing to Abydos.
In the time between Daniel's seduction and his return with news of the
spaceship, hundreds of Horus guards come through the stargate, leaving their
own planet nearly undefended (I wonder if this will come up in the next
books), and recapturing the stargate on Abydos. They press their attack,
defeating all the marines at the base camp, capturing the mines, which they
start slave labor on immediately, and make their way towards Nagada.
Fortunately, reinforcements arrive from Earth pretty quickly, once they
realize things have gone wrong. There is a neat scene where some veterans
from the first Stargate book show up in Horus-guard disguise, but it is pretty
convenient that only injured and incompetent people were guarding
Daniel arrives at pretty much the same time as the Boat of a Million
Years. Hathor sends for all the quartz crystal available, while Daniel
is put in prison. But knowing that their main translator was actually
Hathor, the other translators realize that she was sabotaging their
work. They begin tearing the ship apart, working for a way to bring as
much of it back to Earth as possible. Daniel, meanwhile, escapes prison
and goes to Nagada, where he convinces Skaara and Kasuf that they should
evacuate their planet.
O'Neal arrives just in time to rescue Daniel, Hathor can't fire her weapons
with pinpoint accuracy, and the way all of the citizens of Abydos are able to
march from Nagada (not to mention the farming communities) to the stargate and
get through it before Hathor realizes what is happening, and other convenient
plottings make for an unbelievable adventure in the last pages of the
ending was unexpected. The complete evacuation of the planet, with the loss
of the stargate? The loss of the world? For one of the technicians
pulling computers out of the derelict spaceship from the last book inadvertently
fixes a problem with the weapons controls, allowing a lone translator to fire
at Hathor's new ship. That activates the automatic defenses, which
destroy the old ship, the pyramid, and the stargate, gauging a hole so deep
into the planet's crust that the planet itself is destroyed.
I see potential stories for the inevitable sequel.
But I have a question: Couldn't Hathor go to a closer world and attack
Earth through the Stargate instead? But then she'd be deprived of
her spaceship. The next book should be a sort of Independence Day!
As for this one, it was certainly not as interesting as the previous book, and
not as well prepared, either, though the battles with the Horus guards were
exciting. I expect the next one to resolve the plot
with Hathor, reconcile Shauri and Daniel (for she moved out when Faizah got
too close to Daniel), and perhaps bring an end to the Stargate series.
After all, what more can they do now that Abydos has been destroyed?