Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Paratwa Trilogy

The Paratwa Trilogy was one of my favorite science fiction trilogies. It is a bit dystopian and is quite a bit like an action/intrigue series, but its just a great ride. It is one of the most underrated series in my humble opinion. Here are some quick summaries & a couple reviews I've found on the net. The plot has many ins and outs, but I don't really want to ruin it for you if you pick it up.

Liege-Killer [Book 1 of the Paratwa Trilogy] by Christopher Hinz

Two hundred years after a nuclear apocalypse forced humanity to flee earth, humans still remember the most feared warriors of that planet--the Paratwa, genetically modified killers who occupy two bodies controlled by one vicious mind. The legendary Paratwa named Reemul and known as the Liege-Killer was the strongest of them all. Now someone has revived Reemul from stasis and sent him to terrorize the peaceful orbital colonies of earth. Is this an isolated incident, or has the one who unleashed this terrible power announced a gambit for control over the entire human race? (Published: 1987)

Ash Ock [Book 2 of the Paratwa Trilogy] by Christopher Hinz

A quarter of a millennium ago, before the nuclear apocalypse forced the inhabitants of earth to flee their home planet, few humans could have imagined the course their path would take. Now, the orbital colonies are the final sanctuary of humanity and life is more dangerous than ever before. The colonists fear the return of their dreaded enemies, the Paratwa--ferocious warriors who are genetically engineered to exist in two bodies, which remain telepathically connected. The new generation of Paratwa is far deadlier than the old, forming a powerful caste of fighter known as the Ash Ock. A mysterious virus infecting the humans database signals the return of their most feared enemies? (Published: 1989)

The Paratwa [Book 3 of the Paratwa Trilogy] by Christopher Hinz
The third novel from award-winning novelist Christopher Hinz. Beginning where the critically acclaimed Liege-Killer and Ash Ock end, The Paratwa chronicles the lives of the Irryan colonists as they prepare for the imminent attack of the fierce and vicious Paratwa assassins. Facing the threat of their dark enemies, an Irryan named Gillian must also cope with his inner turmoil, as the madness of his nature threatens to consume his life. He discovers that he is a genetically modified creature whose purpose is to serve the needs of others, and the course of his destiny is not in his own hands. (Published: 1990)


Title: The Paratwa Trilogy (Liege-Killer, Ash-Ock, and The Paratwa)Author: Christopher Hinz Publisher: St. Martin's PressISBN: 0-312-00065-0/0-312-03291-9/0-312-05489-0Price: $19.95/$18.95/$19.95

Reviewed By: Lawrence Person

Now here's proof positive that any art form can be done right. In this case, it's the Action/Adventure school of science fiction, of which Christopher Hinz's Paratwa Trilogy (consisting of Liege-Killer, Ash-Ock, and The Paratwa) is a particularly skillful example. Though conforming fully to the form's conventions (there are chases and intrigues aplenty throughout, and each book ends with a climatic battle), Hinz has crafted a fictional universe far more intricate and convincing than many a Hugo or Nebula winner I could name.

The setting is some 200 years after a late 21st century nuclear holocaust, a leading cause of that which was the Paratwa, a race of genetically engineered assassins consisting of a single telepathically linked entity inhabiting two bodies. Now the Irryan Colonies live in peace above Earth's battered remains, the last Paratwa thought extinguished. That is, until someone ventures to the Earth's surface to retrieve and revive Reemul, the hyper-deadly Paratwa once known as the Liege-Killer, then sets him loose. To counter the threat, two Paratwa hunters are revived from their stasis capsule and the chase is on. That is, until they learn the situation is far more deadly than it first appeared, that the Ash-Ock, the Royal Caste of the Paratwa, not only survived the holocaust, but have designs for conquest. . .

Telling more than that would spoil most of the fun. There's enough twists and turns in each to keep a roller-coaster junkie happy and the action moving along at high speed. Great plot, good characters, convincing setting, skillful, seamless writing. Indeed, save for a couple of minor elements in the last book, Hinz's makes nary a misstep throughout the entire series.

Liege-Killer (Hinz's first novel) stands well on its own, whereas Ash-Ock and The Paratwa together make up one work set 56 years after the first book's events . Though the phrase "SF Action/Adventure" conjures up images of lowest-common-denominator high tech war-porn rack-fillers, The Paratwa Trilogy is far closer to such recent classics as Hyperion and A Fire Upon the Deep than Star Destroyer #17. Alas, these books received very little publicity when they were first published. It's high time that oversight was corrected.

He's right you know.


Budd said...

I may have to suggest Liege-killer to my book club

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