Read The Blackcollar by Timothy Zahn Free Online
Book Title: The Blackcollar|
The author of the book: Timothy Zahn
Date of issue: July 5th 1983
ISBN 13: 9780879978433
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 12.25 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1528 times
Reader ratings: 7.5
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The Blackcollar marks the beginning of Timothy Zahn's career that would culminate in the creation of the best Star Wars trilogy on the market. As he is my favorite author, I couldn't miss out on this one.
ETA 06/09/14: After reading more books and thinking back on my feelings for this book, I have revised the rating on this book and bumped it down to 3 stars. This was a good book, but not great, like some of Zahn's later books. That said, 3 stars still means I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
Allen Caine is a part of a rebellious faction that wants to unseat the Ryqril from the Terran Democratic Empire. He is sent to Plinry to uncover the location of 5 starships and recruit a select group of former warriors, the Blackcollars, to help him in his mission.
If you want action, this is definitely your book. Not ten pages into the book, Allen Caine must flee Earth because his cell has been compromised. From there, he goes to Plinry and is quickly involved in a Blackcollar plan to escape from the Plinry system. Escapes, attacks, reconnaissance, this book holds your attention (especially during the explosive spy revelation at the end!).
Timothy Zahn clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the blackcollars, their fighting style, and their culture. This effort is well-placed as the blackcollars are a convincing military unit.
Some of Zahn's characters, most notably Prefect Galway, are well-fleshed out and given unusual and unique perspectives. Also, Caine's reaction to his birth is very interesting.
Lastly, I was intrigued by Zahn's brief mention of the loyalty conditioning. I was amazed that the characters that possessed it remembered it and wished Zahn had spent more time on this concept.
While a great action/adventure novel, this lacks Zahn's depth of character seen in later novels. Allen Caine, Damon Lathe, and others are 1- or 2-D. Further, there is some confusion as the novel starts out from Caine's perspective and quickly moves to Lathe's. This is not bad, but I was led to believe that Caine was the protagonist, not Lathe. As I continued to read, Caine moved to unimportance and Lathe returned to the forefront. When the view returns to Caine, the transition seems clunky and irrelevant.
Some of the situations that the blackcollars are able to pull themselves out of with minimal or no casualties is beyond belief--even with their chemical-induced youth and strength. Zahn also fails to detail exactly what makes the Ryqril bad. I get the impression that they kill others for not listening, but what exactly did they change about the government (besides that humans no longer govern themselves)? And the conclusion is decidedly lackluster--especially after the breakneck pace of the chapters prior.
Finally, and this is more the publishers fault that Zahn's, the back of my book insinuated that the whole book would detail Caine's attempt to find the blackcollars. In the actual book, he does this in about 50 pages. The rest details finding the spaceships.
Dialogue includes da**, he**, b****. A woman tries to seduce Lathe. Violence includes the use of martial arts, kicks to the head, the use of nunchaku, paralysis darts, and the like. Some mentioning of beheading, disarming, and the like (not for the squeamish).
A good first start at the one who would launch the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Once you start, you won't be able to put it down. If you want science fiction action/adventure, this is your book. If you are looking for deep characters, go to Zahn's later novels.
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Read information about the authorTimothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he became a professional writer. He and his wife Anna live in Bandon, Oregon. They have a son, Corwin Zahn.
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