Invasions (Gambler's Star 3)
Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-79314-8
Priest: Will you cash in your chips, spin the wheel, play the deck and refuse to crap out?
Groom: Ooooh, er…
In this, the third book in the Gambler's Star series by Nancy Holder, Hunter Castle (the world's richest man) vanishes after traveling to the edge of the galaxy to build a jumpgate for a wannabe invading species. Not a nice thing to do to your own people, but then Hunter didn't realize his mistake until too late. (Hunter: Oooops, my bad.)
Hunter leaves his son, Deuce McNamara, to look after the moon colonies and deal with the small matter of the war Deuce declared on Earth. (Deuce: Oooops my bad.) Can you conceive of the problems of docking whilst the Earth's invasion force attacks your landing bay?
To compound Deuce's woes, his wife Sparkle decides she loves Hunter. Sparkle takes Deuce's kids and leaves with Hunter. But not to worry, the kids don't belong to Deuce anyway. Hunter fathered them too. (Sparkle: Oooops my bad.)
Meanwhile, Deuce, unwilling Il Duce of the moon, manages to survive an assassination attempt by his cousin Angelo. Along the way Deuce also marries Gabrielle, the leader of the MLF (Moonsider Liberation Front), hoping he can stay alive long enough to save the moon and the universe in one fell swoop.
S'easy. Especially when Iniya, distant confidante and aide from another alien race, throws in a few useful devices to help Deuce prevent the invasion of the galaxy.
If you ever wanted to see Bugsy Malone crossed with Star Trek, look no further. Invasions offers non-stop action from beginning to end, with lots of James Bond type explosions and a really hilarious gambler's marriage thrown in for good measure.
Admittedly, one should really read the first two books in the series first. Invasions relies very heavily on information provided in The Six Families and Legacies and Lies (books one and two, respectively). Still, if they match the quality of Invasions, that wouldn't be a chore. My only quibble concerned the ending, which felt a bit like a cop-out. But hey, I prefer James T. Kirk to Jean Luc Picard.
Overall, Invasions proves entertaining and enjoyable. Now I'm taking bets on how many red-shirts…er, I mean gamblers can be offed when they make the movie. Bids start at 40 to five…
Stephen John Smith
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