When Heaven Fell - Plot Summary

Plot Summary

Earth has been taken over by the Master Race, a galaxy-spanning empire of artificial intelligences, and the best of Earth’s survivors are recruited into the aliens' army. Athol Morrison has served for 20 years, and heads back to Earth for a brief vacation. There, he runs into old friends, and finds it easy to give into his old feelings with his childhood girlfriend, Alexandra (Alix) Moreno.

However, Alix and the rest of Athol’s friends are involved in a rebellion against Earth’s Master. They ask Athol to help and to join them, and so he helps to train them. However, concerned that any rebellion will provoke a genocidal response from the Masters, he betrays the rebellion to the local government, making sure that Alix and Davy Intäke are spared.

Conflicted about what he has done, but feeling as if there was no choice, Athol rejoins up with his new command. Soon afterward comes war with the Hu, the most advanced race yet encountered—they developed hyperspace travel either on their own or stole it from a Master facility. Despite the Hu winning a series of early victories, the Master Race grinds the Hu down in a near-genocidal campaign that leaves the Hu homeworld in ruins.

After that war is over, Athol and one of his concubines visit his alien comrade Shrêhht on her home planet. There, he is invited into another rebellion, one composed of all of the slave races, that has been plotting against the Master Race for over 100,000 years. He returns to Earth a second time and learns that he and Alix have a daughter, Kaye Moreno, and takes her off-planet to be trained as a soldier herself.

Later, the Master Race's empire is attacked by a new foe that the conspirators believe drove the Master Race out of the Andromeda Galaxy and has arrived to finish them off. Athol, now a general, and Kaye ponder whether now would be the right time for the conspirators to revolt against the Master Race and welcome the newcomers, although he worries that if the Masters fall, the subject races will be the "slaves of slaves" forever.

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