The Judge of Ages by John C. Wright marks the third novel in his complex and highly entertaining science fiction series, “Count to a Trillion.” The year is now 10,515 A.D., and Texas gunslinger and super genius Menelaus Montrose, the Judge of Ages, as he’s come to be called, is thawn out to meet the challenges that have arisen for a new generation, when two very different and opposing factions have made plans to deal with an alien threat. The Hyades Armada has been headed towards Earth for thousands of years, traveling at near lightspeed, and it is now just 400 years away.
The “Count to a Trillion” series is highly inventive, and it’s destined to be thought of as one of science fiction’s best sustained works of literature, which is saying a lot. I’ve been a fan of his since reading his brilliant novel, Orphans of Chaos, which was a finalist for the Nebula Award in 2005.
Besides Menelaus Montrose, several of his previous crew members from the first novel in the series also have become changed, altered by the alien technology that they all encounter in Count to a Trillion. They are, for the most part, opposed to Menelaus Montrose and his grand schemes, which include a seventy-millenia journey to confront the Hyades’ masters and also his desire to be reunited with his bride Rania.
The foremost archenemy of Menelaus Montrose who was a crew member in Count to a Trillion is the evil Ximen aka “Blackie” del Azarchel. In The Judge of Ages, the pair square off for a dramatic showdown. The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, in their battle involving gunfire and cliometric calculus, and fans of the series will be treated to one of Wright’s most brilliant and complex novels to date when they read this book.
The aliens who are on their long journey from Hyades will attempt to discern if the humans on Earth are worthy enough to become their slaves. When they arrive, they plan to take over ownership of the entire planet.
Montrose wants to stay alive long enough so that he can reunite with his bride, Rania, but if people keep on thawing him out from his cryogenic suspension periodically, to help deal with the terrible problems that confront them, he might not live long enough.
Rania is on a seventy-millenia journey to confront the bosses of the bosses of the Hyades, though she won’t be in time to prevent the Hyades from having already occupied Earth and enslaved the human population. It’s up to Menelaus and suitable Knights he selects from various ages to thwart the Hyades from either exterminating or enslaving the humans.
One of the major problems Menelaus Montrose must face when he is awakened is that Blackie and his Blue Men minions have broken into and plundered many of the cryogenic tombs of the Knights. Montrose cannot allow this intolerable situation to continue, so he decides he must go after Blackie and put a stop to his actions.
Each of the novels in the Count to a Trillion series are epic in scope. They are complex, as I mentioned, but are highly entertaining and are well wroth reading. While the Kirkus review of the novel calls it “dazzling,” the review also says that it’s “readable only with enormous effort.”
I don’t at all agree with this assessment, but I will say that it’s a good idea to read the previous two novels in the series, Count to a Trillion and The Hermetic Millenia before you read The Judge of Ages. That’s because the cast of characters is extensive, and the novels cover such huge chunks of time, and also because — well — the first two novels are so darn good, that they deserve to be read. I highly recommend this excellent science fiction novel by the inimitable John C. Wright — get it today at the link below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb