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Contact with Chaos (Freehold Series Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
That out of the way, this book is set about 20 years after the events of "The Weapon", when a Freeholder survey ship encounters a sentient race. The book then is a first-contact novel, entangled with the competing interests and philosophies of the Freehold and UN. Unlike the prior books, this one is thankfully free of the libertarian ranting that made some of The Weapon, in particular, such a chore to read. On the other hand, the plot develops very slowly, and several of the events feel like they've just been pulled out of thin air.
Not bad, and a nice change of pace for the series, but it feels like it could have done with some revisions to clean up the plot
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The intelligent aliens have a highly technological society with almost no metals, and this complicates things considerably.
The premise of the story is that the aliens' home planet is highly differentiated, with nearly all the iron and other transition metals in the planet's core. I have some serious problems with the geochemistry of this. Iron could well be isolated in the core, but the chalcophile metals such as copper, zinc, lead, molybdenum, and so on would still tend to occur in the crust, since their sulfides are of reasonably low density. The aliens' blood oxygen carrier is based on aluminum and magnesium. Problem: Al and Mg do not have convenient multiple oxidation states that would bind and release oxygen. A copper-based compound like hemocyanin (which is used by some terrestrial animals, e.g., lobsters) would work better, but the story has no copper available.
However, in spite of the scientific discrepancies, this is a first-rate novel. It is very internally consistent. The surprises keep happening, and the book lives up to Williamson's usual quality. It kept me riveted right to the last page.