The remorseless aggressors had everything in the galaxy on their side--except the little idiosyncrasies of the human mind!
the perspiringly earnest King Humphrey the Eighth as a tyrant. There were titles, it was true, but they were life appointments to the planet's legislative Upper House. Kandar was a tranquil, quaint, and very happy world. There were few industries, and those were small. Nobody was unduly rich, and most of its people were contented. It was a world with no history of bloodshed--until now.
Bors brushed absently at his uniform as he walked the two hundred yards to the palace. He abstractedly acknowledged the sentries' salutes as he entered. Much of the palace guard had been sent away, and most of the palace's small staff would hide from the Mekinese. The aggressors had a nasty habit of imposing special humiliations upon citizens who'd been prominent before they were conquered.
He went unannounced into King Humphrey's study, where the monarch conferred dispiritedly with Captain Bors's uncle, the exiled Pretender of Tralee, who listened with interest. The king was talking doggedly to his old friend.
Set in the same future milieu as Leinster\'s \"Med Service\" series as well as novels like \"Checkpoint Lambda\" and \"The Pirates of Zan\", \"Talents, Incorporated\" is a fast-moving, entertaining mashup of interstellar warfare and paranormal powers, the \"Talents\" of the book\'s title.
The peaceful, prosperous planet of Kandar is slated for conquest by the brutal dictatorship of Mekin. The Mekinese have already annexed twenty planets and built a massive war fleet. The Mekinese ultimatum gives Kandar the same choice they gave all their previous conquests: submit or die.
The Kandarian leaders are inclined to surrender immediately, to spare their people the horrors of having their cities leveled with H-bombs by the notoriously cruel and short-tempered Mekinese. Others believe their hopelessly outnumbered Navy should at least go down fighting the invaders, on the theory that it will teach the conquerors some respect for the Kandarians.
Bors, a captain in the Kandarian Navy, is a refugee from Tralee, which some years earlier faced the same choice and surrendered without a fight. He knows sending the fleet out to be annihilated will be a futile gesture, yet he\'s not going to run away from the hated Mekinese again. Not after what they did to his home.
But there\'s a third choice: take the help offered by the mysterious Morgan\'s Talents, Incorporated, a collection of misfits, neurotics and paranoids -- whose oddball paranormal abilities could turn the tide of the upcoming invasion. If Bors and the Kandarians can unlearn their natural skepticism in time to make use of those wild talents.
After all, who could believe a lonely romantic can infect people with her daydreams, or that a nondescript former clerk can predict the exact time an approaching enemy fleet will break out of overdrive?
If I have any criticism of this novel, it\'s that it was too short. I\'d have liked to see more of Morgan and his daughter Gwenlyn\'s part of the story, rather than having them only briefly appear at critical moments in Bors\' narrative.
All in all, though, this is a great read for a rainy afternoon.
Like many of Leinster's books, this is typical sci-fi space opera--an adventure set in space. It's a diverting, light-hearted story.
Its main theme is similar to that of an episode of Star Trek DS9 in which three eccentric people with very special talents make predictions about the future of the federation in its war with one of its mortal enemies whose name escapes me at the moment.
It also reminded me of Asimov's Foundation series which used of the science "psychohistory" to predict the future. However, in Talents the predictions are much more short term and based more in the paranormal than in science.
If you like this book, try the Foundation series which is much better.