Skip to main content

Dominion: The Chronicles of the Invaders, Book 3


Dominion: The Chronicles of the Invaders, Book 3

I used to read plenty of science fiction. I stopped in the 1980s --- the genre changed, and so did I --- but I still have a fond regard for it. That said, great storytelling is just that, regardless of genre. John Connolly is among the best, no matter what he is doing. Though primarily and justifiably known for his Charlie Parker series, which straddles and blurs the distinctions between crime fiction and horror, he did amazing things a few years back with the Samuel Johnson trilogy, a young adult fantasy series that was just incredible. He is repeating his --- dare I say it --- wizardry once again, this time with his companion, Jennifer Ridyard, as co-writer.

Their Chronicles of the Invaders series has been a heck of a ride, and its third installment, DOMINION, is my favorite so far. I say “so far” because I’m not sure if it’s a trilogy, one of those three-book story arcs that will continue in threes, or an ongoing series. Whatever it is, it’s terrific, leaning more toward science fiction than fantasy, or, for you old school folks, more Marion Zimmer Bradley than Tanith Lee. Like the work of both of those late authors, it cooks.

"Connolly has indicated elsewhere that the collaborative process was somewhat difficult for him, but one would never know it from the seamlessness of the perfectly paced narrative, which by turns excites, informs and amuses."

You don’t want to come into DOMINION cold, although I have to say that doing so is relatively easy, compared to some of the other series that I have glanced at only to walk away befuddled and hopelessly lost. Just to help you see what you’ve been missing: Earth in (roughly) the present time has been invaded and conquered by the Illyri. Earth folks being earth folks, there are several who are bloodied but unbowed, and who form an active, guerrilla-like resistance to the conquerors. Their number includes a young man named Paul Kerr, who meets and eventually falls in loves with Syl Hellais, the first of the Illryi to be born on earth. Meanwhile, civil war is bubbling among the Illyri, and many, including Syl’s father, a high-ranking army officer, are caught up in the conflict. You have love, you have war, you have political intrigue, and much more. Oh, and something huge is going on with Syl, who is acquiring powers to which she is slowly becoming acclimated. We are not just talking about the powers that a young woman wields over a young man, either. These are destroyers of worlds powers, or close to it.

As the newly published DOMINION begins, Paul, Syl and a number of their associates are aboard the spaceship Nomad, fleeing for their lives from the Illyri Diplomatic Corps. While doing so, they make the desperate maneuver of entering a Derith wormhole. No one has ever returned alive from such a journey, and the team quickly discovers why. The Nomad, pursued by the Corps, isn’t just between a rock and a hard place; it’s between the Corps and a mother ship (and it is a big mother ship) belonging to an extremely advanced civilization. They --- Paul and Syl in particular --- learn things about themselves that they never knew, and ultimately escape from the wormhole, only to discover that the universe as they know it has moved ahead, if you will, by several years. Civil war rages among the Illyri; there are rumors that Earth has been all but destroyed by a new alien invasion, this time consisting of parasites known as the Others; and it is possible that the entire Universe will be laid to waste by the seemingly unstoppable pestilence. Meanwhile, Syl continues to change. She may well have the power to save Earth, and all that is, if (and it’s a big if) she can identify and control her powers. But how will she know? And what if she can’t?

The Chronicles of the Invaders is a highly imaginative work, and DOMINION takes things a step or five further. The narrative really moves --- you won’t be bored for even a sentence --- and things are just familiar enough (thanks to Connolly and Ridyard) that the reader never gets lost. Connolly has indicated elsewhere that the collaborative process was somewhat difficult for him, but one would never know it from the seamlessness of the perfectly paced narrative, which by turns excites, informs and amuses. Throw in an unexpected ending that I should have seen coming (and that you probably will), and you have a book --- a series --- that you have to put at the top of your must-read list. As for me, I wish everything in the science fiction genre was like The Chronicles, and I hope that the series continues in some form or another.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 15, 2016

Dominion: The Chronicles of the Invaders, Book 3
by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

  • Publication Date: January 3, 2017
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Science Fiction
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • ISBN-10: 1476757194
  • ISBN-13: 9781476757193