The Stargate Atlantis Legacy novel series continues with book two, The Lost, written by Jo Graham and Amy Griswold. A sequel to Homecoming (reviewed here), The Lost strives to read just as you would expect an episode of the hit series to read. That actually sets a very tough standard because that constant level of action is easier to pull off in a 42 minute television show than it is in a 317 page book.
Caution: This review has some minor plot spoilers, and assumes that you have read Homecoming. You have been warned!
The story picks up roughly three days after Homecoming left off, and what a cliff authors Jo Graham and Melissa Scott hung us off of! After receiving an emergency call from New Athos, the team ran to the rescue only to discover that nothing was wrong. They were just about ready to shrug it off as a very tasteless joke and leave when the Wraith attacked. This wasn’t your average attack though. A Dart scooped up Rodney McKay and immediately escaped through the Stargate!
The opening chapter begins the story of a Wraith that we haven’t met before. Technically. He is told he was captured by the Lanteans and only recently rescued, and whatever was done to him, he has lost all of his memory. He is told his name is Quicksilver, and he is the cleverest of all the clevermen.
As Quicksilver is being nursed back to health and brought up to speed by his brother, Dust, we get a very unique point of view of Atlantis. Dust weaves a story of the expedition, and we learn that the Wraith have applied their social hierarchy to how they see Atlantis. For instance, they viewed Elizabeth Weir and Samantha Carter as queens, just like their own. This makes sense actually. Throughout human history, people will always try to fit foreign cultures into a context that they understand. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, it’s not a bad fit. We also learn that though the Wraith may not care about our names, they will give titles where they see fit. They call Weir “She Who Is A Strong Place”, and Carter is “She Who Carries Many Things”. If you think those titles are interesting, just wait until you see what the Wraith call Richard Woolsey!
Meanwhile, the rest of the team is out trying to get their allies to help them out. They need intel on where Rodney could be, so they turn to their two most fickle allies: the Genii and Todd. In the interest of time the teams splits up. Teyla, Sheppard, and for some odd reason, Carson Beckett, go to meet with Ladon Radim. Ronan and Jennifer Keller – another interesting choice – go to meet Todd on a planet he claims is an ancient neutral ground. Needless to say, both meetings go pear-shaped in one way or another. Sheppard, Teyla, and Carson wind up escorting Dahlia Radim across a brutal dessert to get to a crashed Ancient ship. While it was odd that Carson was along for the ride, I wouldn’t have had it any other way because he is a hoot! Ronan and Jennifer manage to work out some pretty big personal differences when they find themselves at Todd’s mercy, and it was good to see them patch things up after they had their very awkward relationship fall apart.
Though in these novels there’s a distinct possibility that someone could actually get killed off, I don’t think it’s really a spoiler to say that both teams made it back alive, though maybe not all in one piece. Afterwards, there’s a big gaping lull in the book. Like I said, you can keep action going pretty consistently in a 42 minute television episode. In a book, you are dealing with whole different time frame. At typical episode of Stargate would span a day, a couple days at most. With a book, you can easily be looking at a week. If you injure someone they have to heal before you can make them go fight. At least, if you want them to win that fight. If you park an Ancient ship full of holes on the South Pier and tell Zelenka he has to fix it, you’d better be prepared to give him 48 hours. Sure, you could jump ahead and go “48 hours later . . . “, but if you do it could come across as a cheat. It’s for these reasons, among others, that we spend several chapters watching the team waffle around Atlantis, waiting to heal, waiting to leave, and waiting to get a lead on where Rodney is. You may think it sounds boring, but I promise that the authors found ways to keep it interesting.
After finally getting some interesting intel – interesting from the point of view that the authors created a brand new aspect/flaw to Wraith technology – the team charge to Rodney’s rescue. I’ll leave you to find out how it turned out for yourself!
I love how the authors take the opportunity to really bring Radek Zelenka’s character to the forefront. Radek has always been stuck in Rodney’s shadow. There are very few Atlantis episodes that really showcased Radek’s character, “Quarantine” being the best of those. It seems perfectly proper then that while Rodney is away Radek should come out to play! Graham and Griswold are excellent at using the proper characterization, and Radek is no exception. This book had me laughing so hard at times, and often it was thanks to Radek. I hope that if – when – Rodney does come back, Radek will remain a more integral part of future stories than he has been at times in the series.
There are subtle hints in the novel regarding Elizabeth Weir. I mean really subtle. If you don’t know what you’re looking for you could miss it, but it’s there. Weir fans may find that the road to Elizabeth’s true fate, and possibly even her return, is paved with paper!
As I mentioned in my review of Homecoming, the authors appear to be avid Teyla/Sheppard shippers, and whether you agree with it or not, it’s definitely coming into play. John and Teyla do a lot of bonding in this book. They have spent years getting to know themselves better – Teyla with the reality behind her Gift, and John coming to terms with his sometimes less than stellar military career – and now both have reached a point where they feel comfortable talking about it. This is definitely bringing them closer together as friends, but Graham and Griswold seem bent on pushing it farther. Personally I’m not sure I agree with their choice to try to fulfill their shipping dreams, but so far it has been far more amusing than it has been obnoxious. I just kind of roll my eyes, mutter, “shippers! Oiy!” and then read on. I’ll let you know if it gets obnoxious, I promise!
SG-1 fans have a good reason to pick up this books as well. Sam Carter returns to Atlantis as commander of the George Hammond, a name that still makes me teary eyed. Though she comes late in the book, it’s obvious that she is much more comfortable in her new role than she was as the leader of Atlantis. She’s a fantastic leader, but her personality shines thfough so much better when she is on equal footing with others. There are some absolutely priceless moments! Plus while seeing things from Sam’s point of view, we get some mentions of the goings on back at the SGC with Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, and Teal’c, proving to me that the authors are well versed in the flagship team’s adventures and hoping that there may be cause for more crossovers in the future.
All in all, the Atlantis Legacy series is shaping up to be a truly wonderful and exciting extension of the series. The authors have paid a great attention to detail. Remember how I’m a stickler for canon and continuity? I have yet to find a breach in canon! If season six had happened, I could totally see it taking a similar course (the Teyla/Sheppard shipping not withstanding). Given that an Atlantis movie is not going to happen any time soon, this is undeniably the best way for Atlantis to live on and for fans to support and stay excited about the franchise.
I give The Lost and the Atlantis Legacy series thus far 5 SpaceGypsy wagons for providing a very plausible and exciting continuation for the series! Long live Atlantis!
Find your copy of The Lost at your local bookstore, or order direct from Fandemonium!