"The Dark Ascent" is the third book in a series. In the future mankind has expanded out to the stars, they have colonized many planets, and they meet the zor. The zor is an alien race with wings. They have a long history of developing powers of the mind. Those with strong mental powers are called sensitives.
The first book, "The Dark Wing," told the story of how a war between humans and zor ended. We had hints that another alien race was trying to get the humans to destroy the zor. Our heroes are able to work out a peace. The second book, "The Dark Path," sets the stage for the next struggle with a new alien race. In the second book we meet Jackie Kearny who is put on a quest for a special zor sword, the gyaryu.
In some ways these books feel like "The Fellowship of the Ring." There is a quest for a special item which provides great power. There is a struggle between good and evil, and the struggle occurs on several levels. There are many, many characters, and lots happens.
In "The Dark Ascent" Jackie gets the special sword. The new alien race, the vuhl, is able to take over both human and zor minds. In the first part of the book the vuhl takes several key systems from the human empire. Jackie, and others, work to find ways to protect themselves from the vuhl.
There was heavy emphasis on mystical events. The story often bounces between what is happening in the "real world" and what is happening in a spirit world, and what happened in myth. Often the main characters were portrayed as having little control over their lives, and they were often manipulated. I like my science fiction to be more about the heroes making good choices in hard situations, rather than being tricked because the "zor's god" wanted certain things to happen.
Walter Hunt is still a relatively new Science Fiction writer. He has only written the three books. He writes well. The book moves along well. All in all it is a pleasant story. If another book is written in this series I'll probably read it. If you like mystical science fiction, gives this book a try.