Titan Books, out now
What could possibly make the mighty hunting race of Predators afraid?
Although it’s marketed as a Predator novel, the first tale in Tim Lebbon’s new trilogy features both the Predators (known here as the Yautja) and the Aliens (referred to as the Xenomorphs) – with various other groups caught in the middle. If you have a working knowledge of current British genre writers, you’ll recognise a lot of the names of these characters, quite a few of whom are destined to be cannon fodder!
Inevitably there are quite a lot of apparently disconnected strands in the early part of this novel, but as the story powers towards the climax, you begin to realise the much bigger picture that Lebbon is painting, tying both film series’ mythology together while adding something very different to the mix. There are some neat tips of the hat to earlier tales – I particularly love the passing reference to Predator 2 – but you don’t need an encyclopaedic knowledge of the franchises in all their different versions (there are comics and a load of original novels in addition to the core movies) to enjoy this novel.
With three novels, Lebbon has the space to develop some of the characters, as well as provide riproaring adventure, and he does both, playing with some of the conventions of the franchise to good effect. The relationships between the different species and their very different motivations for their actions are fundamental to the novel, and it will be fascinating to see how alliances are made (and broken) through the remaining stories.
Verdict: An engaging tale told on a very wide canvas. 8/10