Book Review: “The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Two: Wounded Eagle” by Lorinda J. Taylor

Wounded EagleThis was a tough review to write, because this book is part two of a series, and part one ends on a massive cliffhanger. The majority of part two is therefore about the protagonist, Captain Robbin Nikalishin, dealing with the repercussions of that cliffhanger.

I don’t want to get into the specifics of plot, for fear that people would stumble upon this review without having read part one, and it would be spoiled. Normally, I’m content to give spoiler warnings, but in this case I don’t even want to risk that.

Many of the things I said in my review of part one still apply: The story is still engaging, the characters are still memorable and vivid, the world-building is impeccable, the prose is still crisp, and Capt. Nikalishin is still a brave man who nonetheless can be profoundly irritating in some respects. His stubborn pride remains, although it kind of morphs into something else as he grapples with the consequences of the events at the end of the first book. And his relationship with his mother continues to make me want to grab him by the shoulders and say, “Grow up, you big baby!”

And, as I said in my review of the first book, none of these latter points about the captain’s character should be interpreted as negative comments on the book itself. Quite the contrary. Even more than the first, this book is a character study of Nikalishin, and he is certainly a very interesting, multi-faceted personality. 

Again, no spoilers, but one of the central plot elements in Wounded Eagle involves Nikalishin being forced to choose whether to reveal certain information to punish a particularly despicable character, but at the cost that revealing this information will be deeply painful to an innocent third party. Nikalishin’s choice, and the reasoning behind it, are very well thought-out and described, and was satisfying to read, even if I can’t honestly claim I’d have made the same decision.

Read my review of the first one, and if that doesn’t make you want to go out and read this series, I don’t know what will. It’s a sci-fi epic that focuses on human drama, with lots of interesting world-building, as well as some deep philosophical and religious ideas woven into the story, in the form of the “Mythmaker Precepts”—the philosophical pillars at the core of Taylor’s 28th century society.

Now, with all that out of the way, I want to have a word about my favorite character in the series: Prof. Anezka Lara. She’s not actually in this book as much as she is in part one, but when she’s around, she’s a lot of fun. Her gruff, no-nonsense personality reminds me of several academics I’ve known, and frankly, I adore the way she bluntly tells Nikalishin what she thinks. It’s especially nice in this book where—and here I’m straying close to spoiler territory—he’s kind of a big deal, and most people are treating him with kid gloves. Not Lara. She’s never one to mince words.

Again, if you like sci-fi at all, read this series. Even if you don’t like sci-fi, there’s a good chance you’ll be captivated by the narrative Taylor weaves. 

Now, I’m off to write some fan-fiction about Prof. Lara and…

JUST KIDDING! That is a joke; don’t worry. But if you want to understand the joke, you should read the series. 😉

7 Comments

  1. Great review, Berthold. It’s been a while since I read this book, so it’s nice to be reminded that I need to go back and reread the whole series while waiting for part 7. And you’re so right about it being more than straight science fiction. The human drama element definitely comes to the fore in this book and the next few as well.

    1. It certainly does! I look forward to getting to part 3, as well as Lorinda’s Termite series.

      Also, I just saw your review of “Vespasian Moon” on Smashwords. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing it!! 🙂

  2. Again, thanks so much for becoming one of my best fans! I will spread this review around social media! A side note: somebody once criticized my book The Termite Queen for having no gay characters (It was not my point in that book to show 30th century attitudes to homosexuality, It included a heterosexual love story). So I decided to have some gay characters in MWFB, starting with Prf. Lara and Dr. Souray’s past and possibly future relationship. Some other gay characters will appear in later volumes. And one of my main purposes in writing future history is to show what kind of society humans might be able to create if they follow humanist principles as embodied in the Mythmaker Precepts. That’s why I always include those precepts at the end of each volume.
    Sorry I don’t have any special prices running right now, but none of my books is ever more than $2.99 on either Amazon or Smashwords (nint, hint)!

    1. Oh, you can be sure I’ll be reading them! $2.99 is a bargain. I just hope more people will take my reviews to heart and start reading your work.

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