After finishing the first book in the Manticore Ascending series, I suddenly realized I hadn’t read the latest book in Timothy Zahn’s Cobra Rebellion trilogy and so, after a couple of other books in the middle, I get to book 2 in the trilogy.
Cobra Outlaw is the second book in the Cobra Rebellion trilogy by Timothy Zahn. I’ve been reading this series, or series of series, since it first started back in 1985. It tells the extended story of Cobras, technologically enhanced warriors operating in a fringe area of human settlement, far from the center of human civilization. They defend against invasion from aliens as well as against the dangerous animals that inhabit their worlds, but now, something new has come to call and it may be the most dangerous of all…
Now Tim Zahn has talked about the Dominion of Man in past books, but now, they’re showing up, after having been absent for many, many years. But between the Dominion of Man deciding that all human worlds belong to them and another war against the Trofts, the most well-known Cobra family, made up of the Moreaus and Brooms, are pushed to their limits as they try to keep the Cobra Worlds free, but can even they defeat two enemies at once?
Of course, this being the 8th book in the Cobra series, if you’ve read the others, you know what you’re getting and that’s high quality adventure with great characters and an intriguing story. That much is a given and I love Zahn’s work, I’ve read everything he has ever written in his career.
Unfortunately, Cobra Outlaw suffers from the same difficulties that all middle stories in a trilogy do, it lacks the introduction that makes a first book great and it lacks the resolution that makes the last book great. That means middle books have to do something special to be memorable and while I loved the book, I don’t know that there was anything that amped it up to 11. It’s been 2 years since I read the prior book and will be another 2 years until I read the next one, but with all of the political and military machinations going on, I’m struggling to remember anything really amazing here. It’s all written like a 3-book long story, where the first book is the beginning, the second book is the middle and the third book will be the end. Each book really needs to have some kind of resolution to the internal plotlines and I didn’t really see that here. I’m not complaining about the content of the book, just the fact that we get no real resolution and have a long wait to see anything more. It’s not bad, it’s just a bit frustrating.
This is a fantastic series, but at this point, it’s really hard to recommend to anyone who hasn’t been with it since the beginning. It just isn’t new-reader friendly, nor should you expect it to be. It is a great long-running series that fans of sci-fi adventure should definitely read, but you’ve got a lot of work to do before you’re going to get here. Maybe you ought to get to work.