A hugely ambitious space opera series approaches its grand climax. The eighth in the Beyond the Impossible ennealogy (that’s a nine-part sequence; I had to look it up), “The Scorpion’s Fire” sees author Frank Kennedy marshalling his capacious cast of characters—the varied military leaders, some immortal, the diplomats, the politicians, the second-universe villains, the god-in-waiting Royal—for the closing book’s fireworks. The author is as deft and readable as ever, this time circling around the main players, atmospherically using dialogue and interaction to provide a flavor of the complex negotiations underlying unity as the People’s Collectorate prepares for a war to end all wars What little battle action occurs in this book is, as in the previous seven books, thrillingly depicted. What impressed me most as I read was the breadth of the canvas and the clarity with which it was woven into the story. If you have been following the series upon my recommendations, The Scorpion’s Fire will leave you breathless with anticipation for the finale.