Knight by Timothy Zahn science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsKnight by Timothy Zahn science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsKnight by Timothy Zahn

Knight (2019) is the second book in Timothy Zahn’s SYBIL’S WAR series. You need to read the first book, Pawn, before starting Knight. However, I really don’t recommend either one of these books.

When we left Nicole, Bungie, and Sam in the last book, Nicole had been named Protector of the Fyrantha. Why anyone would want Nicole in charge of that ship is anyone’s guess. She isn’t particularly smart, capable, motivated, or savvy. In fact, she’s the one who may have doomed all of mankind to a life of harsh servitude to an alien race by her actions in the last book, Pawn. (Though this was really the fault of Jeff, who didn’t bother to tell her a piece of crucial information which there was no reason to hide from her except for the sake of the plot of these books.)

Now, in Knight, Nicole is getting to know the Fyrantha. At the beginning of the story, she is exploring the ship. This is usually the kind of activity I’d enjoy because the ship is 2 miles long, half a mile wide, and 96 levels deep. There is so much potential here! But, alas, it’s not interesting at all and, in fact, when we’re a quarter of the way through the story, we haven’t seen anything new and the plot of Knight has nearly duplicated the plot of Pawn. Again, Nicole discovers alien creatures who are fighting other alien creatures over their mechanized food hopper and she attempts to help them. Boring!Knight by Timothy Zahn science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviews

Then Nicole goes back to her original work crew and discovers that they’ve been sent to an arena to fight another crew whose leader is Bungie. She tries to talk them out of fighting but — get this! — doesn’t mention the crucial piece of information that had been stupidly withheld from her in the last book! WHAT??? This has the effect of (stupidly) perpetuating the danger.

(It occurs to me that you are probably not planning to read these books, but may want to know what the crucial piece of information is. Highlight this spoiler to find out: The aliens in charge of the spaceship are travelling the universe looking for a species that will make good fighters. They plan to enslave that species’ planet and force them to be a mercenary force for the aliens. The crucial piece of information is that if humans fight in the arena, or fight amongst themselves, they will be showing the aliens that they can fight. So, to protect Earth, the humans aboard Fyrantha must not fight each other or anyone else.)

The ridiculous plot unravels from there with some silly plans and unexpected betrayals. Finally, at the end, the humans decide that it’s time to find and defeat the ship’s masters, which is what I’ve been thinking all along.

Joel Richards continues to give a nice performance in Tantor Audio’s editions of SYBIL’S WAR. I don’t think I’ll be reading the next book, though.

Published in 2019. A legend of Space Opera is back with Knight, the second book in Timothy Zahn’s Sibyl’s War series. Nicole Hammond was just trying to survive on the streets of Philadelphia, then she and her partner Bungie were abducted by a race of mysterious moth-like aliens and taken to a strange ship called the Fyrantha. Now she is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with the aliens and their ship, and no one is happy. Competing factions control different parts of the Fyrantha with the humans and other sentient aliens caught in the middle. But Nicole is done being bullied, and now she has a plan to take control of the ship. She just has to outsmart war profiteers and slavers to do it.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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