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by Timothy Zahn
Genres: Military Science Fiction
Third in the Cobra Wars military science fiction series; sixth in the Cobra series overall. This one again features the Broome family on Caelin and Qasama.
Yup, this’ll get yer heart rate up as the Broomes are still jumping from the frying pan into the fire as this story brings the initial Qasaman and Cobra Worlds problems to a conclusion.
Zahn sets up more impossible situations that require impossible solutions. I so enjoy reading the tactics and maneuverings he deploys!
The Brooms’ allegiance to their own world is constantly under fire even as they prove their loyalties over and over again. It’s the fact that they see the bigger picture that causes them such problems.
Yeah, Cobra Gamble does provide an ending, however Zahn provides some compelling teasers for the next Cobra trilogy that will deal with Merrick’s pact with Anya and Ukuthi of the Balin and the Brooms’ troubles on Aventine which continue as Grendeves carries out her threats.
Most of the Brooms, Tlossies, and Qasamans have managed to escape Caelian only to land in greater trouble on Qasama—the second invasion has begun. And there is nowhere to hide the Isis machine that holds all their hopes for saving Qasama and the Cobra Worlds.
Meanwhile, Daulo is trapped in Sollas which is under a destructive bombardment by the Troft. It will take strong arguments, trickery, and a wheelchair to get him out. Only to be met with a greater betrayal. It’s one internal lie after another as one side of the Qasamans attempt to preserve honor while the other side is more interested in its own bigotry.
Merrick, too, is trapped in Milika where a Troft ship is demanding the villagers surrender him or die. A demand that results in escape and capture followed by an offer Merrick cannot refuse.
Finally, the humans left behind on Caelian in Stronghold must cope with captured Troft and the imminent threat of more ships coming to attack.
But just when you thought it was safe back in Aventine…
TThe Broom family is at it again…oh, what it is to have a reputation! Jin, Paul, and Lorne Broom, Everette Beach, Wendell McCollom, and Jennifer McCollom are all Cobras and have come to Qasama to rescue Merrick Broom, fulfill their vows to help their enemies, the Qasamans, and get medical treatment for Jin’s brain tumor and re-grow Paul’s leg.
The Djinnis are the Troft version of the Cobra warrior. Of the Qasaman Djinn who have returned with Jin Broom, Siraj Akim is a commander with Carsh Zoshak a warrior while Ghofl Khatir is an ambassador.
Moffren Omnathi is a senior advisor to the Shahni and has promised Jin her son’s safety in return for her bringing Cobras back to help his people. Daulo Sammon is Fadil’s father and the leader of Milika who was injured earlier during the first invasion and is being set up as a ploy. Shahni Dariuz Haafiz is one of the Qasaman rulers and, oh man, does he ever despise everyone who’s not him. In a very blinkered sort of way. Miron Akim is overall commander of the planet’s Djinni combat force, the Marid-commander. Other specifically named Djinn warriors include Ifrit Kaml Ghushtre and Ifrit Narayan.
Qasamans in the village of Milika:
Gama Yithtra is very anti-Cobra and constantly setting barbs; Fadil Sammon is paralyzed from the mind-enhancing drug therapy; and, Dr. Davi Krites is overseeing Merrick’s recovery—if he’ll ever stay still long enough to heal!
Jody Broom is a scientist and has stayed behind on Caelian with Rashida Vil, one of the Tlossies, who turns out to be not so much of a pilot as expected. Geoff Boulton and Freylan Sonderby were part of Jody’s science team investigating the plant and animal life of Caelian, now they’re trying to survive along with everyone else. Governor Rom Uy was gravely injured in the attack and their son Harli, also a Cobra, has taken over for his dad. Other Cobras on Caelian include Kemp, Smitty, Danny, Kirstin, Propescu, Brady, and others.
Nissa Gendreves is the secondary assistant to Governor-General Chintawa on Aventine and was granted the power to treat with the enemy in Cobra Guardian. Only, she’s a true hidebound politico and she’s threatening treason charges.
Ingidi-inhiliziyo, a.k.a., Warrior, is the second heir of the Tlos’khin’fahi and drops off Isis, a very unhappy Dr. Glas Croi (the inventor of Isis), and the Brooms near a village on Qasama.
Anya Winghunter is a Troft slave with a problem. A problem for which her owner, Commander Ukuthi of the Balin, wants help from Merrick.
Troft is a rather generic term for a number of different demesnes—think of it as Troft equaling Earthling and a demesne equaling a country. The Tlossies are Troft on the side of the Cobra Worlds. The Tua’lanek’zia hired the Drim’hco’plai, the Gla’lupt’flae, and the Balin’ekha’spmi to invade Qasama and the Cobra Worlds. And there’s no love lost.
The Drim have been selling human slaves to other Troft and Ukuthi suspects that the Drim’s plans will be very bad for the Troft. A strange alliance will require Merrick’s aid for an even stranger goal.
It’s a Baen cover with bright colors—oranges and reds with a menacing gray-blue of a Drim ship in the middle of the burning city while ships circle it in the orange skies and Qasamans and Cobras hunker down in the ruins.