Starrise at Corrivale: Volume One of the Harbinger Trilogy
By Diane Duane
Review by James Walton

Hey! Wait! Don't turn your nose up and move onto the next review. TSR is known for churning out derivative novels in the various Advanced Dungeon and Dragons universe, but this one is pretty good, honest. Diane Duane is a very fine writer even if she has decided to go for the easy money by writing in shared universes. Her novel The Wounded Sky is one of the better Star Trek novels I've read, though it would have been better with different characters, but I digress.

Gabriel Conner is young, intelligent, handsome, and a decorated lieutenant in the Concord Marines. He is well liked by his fellow marines, respected by his superiors and has several choices of career path. Conner's life is forever changed when he follows the wrong orders and he is framed for the murder of several friends and co-workers. A civilian trial fails to establish his guilt or innocence so he is cast out on a planet where he knows no one with no prospects and no way of getting home. For some unknown reason an alien, a Fraal named Enda, offers him a job. Conner sees this offer as a chance to clear his name and he accepts. Soon he and Enda are traipsing about the galaxy in a used starship having adventures. In many ways the Star Drive universe is similar to that of TSR's Forgotten Realms.

The aliens of Star Drive are interchangeable with the races of Forgotten Realms, and the planets and various political groups are clones for their AD&D analogs. There is even an "Elminster" flitting about the galaxy, offering advice and rescuing the heroes when necessary. His authority and wisdom are unquestioned. The Star Drive universe is quite interesting and full of potential. There is nothing really new in Starrise at Corrivale, but Diane Duane is such a competent writer I really didn't mind. I hope all the books planned for the series are of such high quality. A starrise, by the way, is a phenomena resultant from the Star Drive method of faster than light travel. When a starship reaches its destination to an observer it appears to be rising out of a hole in a blaze of pure white light. This light is presumably the energy the starship is shedding as it returns to normal space. Hardly an original concept but the descriptions are very interesting.

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