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REVIEW OF

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA 13:

APOLLO'S WAR

By Robert Thurston

This story takes place almost immediately following the events of the last book. Apollo, Sheba, and Croft land on the planet Yevra where they are kidnapped to become unwitting soldier-slaves in a war that is waged like an intergalactic chess game. They and a young woman named Xiomara, who is "cursed" with a horrible facial disfigurement, are trained by a reptilian creature named Sarge to fight for the Army of the Rightful Destiny. Their minds are controlled by unremovable belts and sweatbands, which transmit terrible pain, forcing the wearers to obey.

Apollo finally gets laid!Molded into an elite fighting squad, Sarge leads them through several battles. Then Apollo is caught in a trap and captured by the other side, the Pelters. They are eager to make use of him. His belt and sweatband are removed but then he is drugged with special food and drink.

Without Apollo, the elite squad loses its edge. Croft is determined to get himself killed and Sheba is totally withdrawn. Apollo, drugged into a walking zombie and now wearing a Pelter control device, is ordered to seek out and kill the leaders of the Army of the Rightful Destiny. He and Croft meet in battle; somehow the two men recognize each other but can't completely overcome their conditioning. They fight half-heartedly until Sarge intervenes. Apollo shoots Sarge, and then Croft rips off Apollo's controller in the melee.

After the battle, a now clear-minded Apollo finds Sarge and gets him to agree to help him rescue his friends and try to end the war, fought by kidnapped peoples from other worlds.

Meanwhile, on the Galactica, Starbuck is depressed because Apollo is gone. Adama eventually agrees to let him renew the search for Apollo, but Adama is going to fly a viper with him. They fly to the planet.

Apollo and Sarge free their friends including Xiomara, for whom Apollo has begun to care for. They retrieve their vipers, and Apollo and Sheba launch, soon making contact with Adama and Starbuck. The four of them provide air cover as Sarge, Croft, and the others attack from the ground. They take over the installation, and then the vipers destroy the Pelters' installation, ending the war.

Xiomara is severely wounded when Apollo finds her. She momentarily dies, and the mask of ugliness on her face disappears, revealing a ravishing beauty. Then she comes to, and the ugliness returns. Xiomara tells Apollo she doesn't love him, and that he doesn't love her; she decides to stay behind and search for her husband who disappeared early in the war but may still be alive.


Robert Thurston manages to succeed again as Apollo's war is a very good story. Xiomara turns out to be a very interesting character, and her relationship with Apollo is the heart of the book. Thurston should be given credit for not having Xiomara's face restored at the very end, avoiding the storybook ending that many authors would have been too tempted to resist. Also, the hero and the girl do not ride off into the sunset together (Ron Goulart could take some pointers here).

Sarge is also an interesting character and only adds to the story. More dissapointing is the amount of focus that Croft gets. I still find Croft to be an extremely boring character, and as usual he does little here except lust after Sheba. It is made clear that Sheba still loves Apollo, but there is never any follow-up. We do learn that in the past Apollo and Sheba had a brief fling, but no more detail than that.

Overall, this is a very good story, but is it a very good Battlestar Galactica story? Unfortunately, once again we have the plot of the warrior/warriors crashed/marooned/captured on a planet. We've seen it so many times before in the television series (not to mention in the previous novel) that it's a bit dissapointing to see it here again. To his credit, though, Thurston has written a solid story that mostly makes up for this drawback. There is a lot here for Galactica fans to enjoy, so this is still one I highly recommend.


It is stated that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the fleet.

A prophecy has spread across the fleet saying that the Galactica would find Earth, but most of the people currently in the fleet would not. It goes on to say that perhaps none of them would live to see Earth, only future generations. Perhaps Thurston is trying to do some foreshadowing for Galactica 1980.

There is a Caprican legend about a young woman who was in love but unable to reveal her feelings to the man she loved. Frustrated, she wandered into an unknown land, drawn there by strange music. In the meantime, the man she loved noticed that she'd gone, and he went after her, questioning everyone he met, tracing her path to the strange land. He found that she went to a strange place called "the city without cares". What neither he nor she knew about the city was that, once inside its borders, each would be perfected by a strange perfume that emanted from a well in the city's center. The perfume brought on forgetfulness and eventually amnesia. By the time the two young lovers met each other again, they had forgotten one another. Seeing something familiar in each other's face, they both smiled, and then passed each other by, each going on to a different destiny than either had planned.

There is a fleet legend that Commander Cain will return in a magical iridescent ship and lead the Colonials to Earth.

Apollo often refers to the Council fo Twelve as the Dozen Deadbeats. Interesting, since Adama is one of them.

Croft is from Scorpia.

Cassiopea is from Gemon. The peoples of other planets considered socialators to be just one step up from prostitutes. They did not comprehend the intricate ceremonial distinctions, the strong moral rules that upheld the socialator tribe (Unfortunately, there is no more detail given than that).

Cassiopea has broken up with Starbuck because of his wandering eyes. But now she is thinking of trying to get back with him.

Apollo actually comes on to Xiomara (Thurston strongly implies he wants to have sex with her), but she refuses when he can't bring himself to look at or touch her face.

Among the crew of the Galactica, it is said that Commander Adama's voice could please a demon or agitate an angel, and he didn't have to change an iota of pitch, tone or emphasis to do either.

There is a ship's legend that says you should never bother to listen for Commander Adama's approach. If he doesn't want you to hear him, you'll never hear him even when you know he's coming. The crew likes to believe that Adama has supernatural powers.

It is strongly implied that Apollo and Xiomara have sex the night before they storm the command center.


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