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

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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.

The Domino Pattern : The Quadrail series continues and this time the Modhri isn’t the only bad guy April 9, 2010

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The Domino Pattern by Timothy Zahn is the fourth book in the Quadrail series (so far) and follows Odd Girl Out, The Third Lynx and Night Train to Rigel.

The short review is that NO this isn’t the best book in the series, but it is still very enjoyable especially at the end.

Our ‘hero’ Frank Compton is on the Quadrail again – but this time it’s a murder mystery on the Quadrail itself. For three quarter of the book Frank and the rest of us are trying to figure out who could be killing the passengers.

The final resolution of ‘whodunnit’ was a bit stunning and we won’t do a total spoiler here , but no we didn’t see it coming and no we didn’t see the connection to Compton’s former employer either.

The other big stunner (minor spoiler) that the Modhri isn’t the worst being/entity on the train becomes apparent mid-way through, but again the twist at the end is STUNNING.

Once again, it was fun to ride the rails with Compton and crew, Zahn is an excellent storyteller and we look forward to whatever the next Quadrail adventure will bring.

Terminator Salvation From the Ashes (movie prequel) is great stuff May 24, 2009

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terminatorsalvation.bookFrom the Ashes by Timothy Zahn is a pretty good book – oh and its also the prequel to the new Terminator Salvation movie too.

It basically sets up the conditions so we understand where John Connor is …that is not part of the main Resistance (yet) and the position of Kyle Reese who is hanging out in a place called Moldering Ashes.

Yeaah there is some action in this book, the last several chapter are nothing but action — but the real keys are the characters and the setting…stuff that the big movie just doesn’t have time to explain.

Zahn of course is a great SciFi writer on his own, so the quality of pacing and writing is superb in this book. This is a must-read for all Terminator fans!

Odd Girl Out – Quadrail – by Timothy Zahn REVIEW February 23, 2009

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Odd Girl Out is the third book in the Quadrail series (so far) it follows The Third Lynx and Night Train to Rigel.

We thoroughly enjoyed this book which takes a dramatic new spin on the central conflict in this series – between the master of the spider and the evil coral based Modhri.

The basic layout of the book from a plot perspective is very similiar to the previous two books – but that’s what makes it work so well. There is a murder of some sort and then off onto the Quadrail to figure out what’s going on. Along the way a few twists, a few deaths and a whole lot of speculation by Frank Compton on what is actually happening.

And again the final revelation of what is going on came as a total surprise to us (the readers) though somehow Compton had it all figured out.

Another brilliant romp on the Quadrail and we’re already looking forward to the next book!

The Third Lynx (Quadrail) by: Timothy Zahn REVIEW February 2, 2009

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thirdlynx We really enjoyed the first Quadrail novel from Timothy Zahn – Night Train to Rigel – This second outing isn’t quite the trip the first one was, but still a great ride.

The coral group mind, the Modhri is back this time collecting some art objects and desperately seeking the Third Lynx.

Our hero Frank Compton once again is well written and fully fleshed out as are the other characters. We spend a lot of time with Compton trying to figure out what’s going on as he figures it all out.

This time around the plot isn’t as cohesive – the characters spend most of the book looking for the third lynx but in the end does it really matter? Seems kind of foolish to me the way this story concludes.

That said, Zahn is an amazing writer and the Third Lynx overall is a fun, engaging and entertaining read. This is the second Quadrail book and without a doubt we’re hooked and will be ready any/all/every Quadrail book that Zahn puts out.

The basic tennant – that there is an interstellar train system controlled by a benevolent force –that is under attack (silently) by a group hive mind is just such an awesome premise – that no doubt there is a lot more to go till this trip is finally over (or at least we hope so!).

Night Train to Rigel – By Timothy Zahn – What a ride! January 19, 2009

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rigel We’ve been fans of Timothy Zahn – mostly due to his extraordinary Star Wars books. So why not take a look at some of his other (non-Star Wars work).

Night Train to Rigel is an intricately woven tale of conspiracy within conspiracy within yet another conspiracy. You think you’ve got it figured out – but then Zahn throws out another twist.


The basic story is that there is a network of trains called the Quadrail that spans the Galaxy. The Quadrail is run by the Spiders who keep to themselves and no one knows who they really are or how the Quadrail works – Compton figures it all out.

The story is written as a first person narrative, but our narrator (Frank Compton) doesn’t clue us in on everything right away. At first it was  a little annoying that Compton is holding out on us, and we went back several times to re-read sections to see if we missed something. But the final paragraph of this book makes up for it all – just a brilliant conclusion.

Highly enjoyable overall.