Recently I read Alien: Colony War by David Barnett and found it to be one of the more enjoyable recent books in the Alien series. Picking up the events of Alien: Into Charybdis By Alex White, the story focuses on the British Colony of New Albion where a Journalist named Cher has traveled to find out what happened to her sister.
She is soon met with Chad McLaren and his synthetic Davis as they look to expose the Xenomorph threat which has made McLaren and Davis fugitives. At the same time, the political tension in the galaxy has boiled over and the various factions find themselves in conflict with one another which is the catalyst for an Arms Race involving the deadly aliens.
When a colony is seeded with Alien eggs and decimated, Cher, McLaren, and Davis find themselves faced with enemies on all sides, not just the Aliens as their search for proof of the Alien existence has put them squarely in the middle of ground zero.
While many Alien books take too much liberty for my taste in terms of the creatures and their behavior or have conflicting canon regarding tech and timelines, this new entry does not wander on and become overly long and self-indulgent like so many have before.
Readers are given an exciting adventure where the tension mounts and Barnett cleverly keeps the audience guessing such as introducing characters that are implied to be significant to the story and dispatching them early on or suddenly in favor of newly introduced characters.
While the basic premise of a group being attacked by the creatures remains a constant theme in the stories and how they must find a way to eliminate the threat, stay alive, and escape, this story adds in the political factor of divided loyalties and how morality can be tossed aside for convenience and profit as one faith-based character decides that while he considers the Aliens beings literally from Hell, it is better than their enemies have them dropped on them so they do not have to deal with them in person and rations they would do the same to us if they had the chance.
The characters are interesting and do have relations to characters in the greater Alien universe which makes for a very nice touch as well.
While it may not tread new ground in terms of the Aliens, it does offer plenty of action and well-developed characters whose motivations are well-defined which helps them become more than cannon fodder for the ravenous hordes.
The storyline looks to continue this July in Alien: Inferno’s Fall by Clara Carija and it promises the return of a popular character from the novels and an expansion of the storyline.