thomas harlan

House of Reeds - Thomas Harlan

Read: January 2017

So I decided to be a little more proactive in my search for Harlan’s second In the Time of the Sixth Sun book and found this used on Amazon. Which I’m happy I did. If you caught my post for Wasteland of Flint, you would know that I’m a big fan of Harlan’s In the Time of the Sixth Sun universe. And I’m pleased that I have now read all three of his books set in it. The premise is just so good!

Anyways House of Reeds brings back almost all of the main characters from Wasteland of Flint (Green Hummingbird being the exception). Now they’re on the Planet Jagan where humans are starting to live with the alien species that inhabit it. The impression given is that all intelligent life on the planet had originated somewhere else and came to Jagan, making everyone immigrants of some sort. That said, other than the humans, the aliens living on the planet now call it home, all memory of their homeworld lost. Though part of that is a tie in to the previous book, where it’s revealed that the one alien species’ homeworld had been destroyed. I was pleased with the tie-ins. I was also surprised at the separate but parallel plot lines in the book. The main characters fall into two groupings, each with separate plot lines, but caught up in the same shitty manufactured war situation. While the two groups thing happened in the previous book, the separation was quite stark in this one, with almost zero contact between said groups. One of my favourite things were the glimpses into the fictional history of Jagan, the rising and falling of alien civilizations. This was explored by one group (Gretchen’s group), as they were investigating ancient alien artifacts.

Now despite the separate plots for the main characters the over arching plot is that of human interference with the aliens on Jagan. Secret human organizations organized a war to bloody some military units. This I frowned at how shitty this was but I especially liked how during the climax things just went to shit for the humans, which is weird to say, but I guess I just found it fitting. Though Harlan was not afraid to kill people off, no sir. Which was kind of sad, but I understand that when war situations go to shit, people die. One of the things I liked was that there were aliens interfering with humans too, it was something that hasn’t been explained yet in other books, so I hope Harlan will write another book to explore this.

Info: TOR, 2004.


In the Time of the Sixth Sun Series

by Thomas Harlan

  • Wasteland of Flint (2003)
  • House of Reeds (2004)
  • Land of the Dead (2009)

In some far distant future year, the human race has spread out among the stars, encountering other species and an Empire that spans at least this corner of the galaxy. The Empire is ruled from the Imperial City of Tenochtitlan (which he know as Mexico City), the capital of the planet Anahuac. But the advance of Imperial Mexica has revealed that there were earlier powerful interstellar empires, which are long gone now, leaving behind their mysterious artifacts.

When a survey team goes missing, it’s up to Dr. Gretchen Andersen to unravel the mystery, a mystery centered on these ancient artifacts, one that could shake the very foundations of the Empire. - description for Wasteland of Flint.