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Judgement at Proteus. The final Quadrail Novel is the worst one? WTF Happened to the Modhri? September 18, 2012

Posted by showmescifi in ShowMeSciFi.com.
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Judgment at Proteus (Quadrail) is a book we have been looking forward to for some time.

It’s the fifth book in Timothy Zahn’s innovative Quadrail series. Previous to this we have reviewed the Domino Pattern (back in 2010, so this has been a two year wait..) and no the wait was not worthwhile.

We weren’t huge fans of Domino Pattern, though we were big fans of the previous three books: Odd Girl Out, The Third Lynx and Night Train to Rigel. The Quadrail series set out an innovative view of the future, where rail-like travel extends throughout the universe, run by a shadowy group (Spiders/Chawyn) that is fighting an even shadier group of bad guys (modhri).

And at the top of the story is our protagonist and narrator, Frank Compton.
Judgement at Proteus has two parts, the bits on Proteus and then ‘everything else’. The challenges that Compton faces at Proteus are interesting, but taking up half the book was a bit drawn out. The second half of the book makes up for it with awesome pacing, a half dozen Quadrail stations and the Shonkra-Laa attacking at every turn.

And that’s the problem. Compton defeats them every time. It’s just dumb. Only in the end does he kinda/sorta get captured only to be saved by [SPOILER ALERT..}


the modhri.

Yes that was an interesting twist, but the path to get there was brutal (for us the readers). The modhri kill his own polyps so the hosts can attack the Shonkra-laa. and someone they are able to kill them all.


It just didn’t add up for us and left with a sour taste. It would have been much more interesting to see some kind of double cross, or some other kind of interesting Shonkra-la battle, but no such thing occurred.

The final ‘battle’ really kinda felt like it ended on a whimper. With little detail after we suffered through so much in the front half. Though we waiting two years for this book, it really felt like the ending was rushed.

Yes, we did see many of our ‘old’ friends from previous books – which was a ‘nice’ touch too.

Considering that apparently this is the final Quadrail book, it really is kinda disappointing the way this whole thing ended (and of course we want more…). The Chawyn end up as the ‘bad guys’ and we still really know so very little about them…how bout a book on them? Or more on the halkans/jurians or…?
In any event – we remain fans of the Quadrail, of Frank Compton and of author Timothy Zahn. We just know he can do (much) better.


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