Copyright Date: 2008
The jacket description:
Through the underworld...
Millennia ago, at the height of his power, the system lord Ra decreed that any Goa'uld wishing to serve him must endure a great trial. Victory meant power and prestige, defeat brought banishment and death.
On a routine expedition to an abandoned Goa'uld world, SG1 inadvertently initiate Ra's ancient trial - and once begun, the trial cannot be halted. Relying on Dr. Daniel Jackson's vast wealth of knowldege, Colonel O'Neill mst lead his team from planet to planet, completing each task in the allotted time. There is no rest, no respite. To stop means being trapped forever inthe farthest reaches of the galaxy, and to fail means death.
Victory is their only option in this terrible test of endurance - an ordeal that will try their will, their ingenuety, and above all their bonds of friendship...
I'll admit it right off. I've gotten myself hooked on the Stargate novels. However, from the moment I bought this one, I thought it looked like the most interesting. I have to say that thought turned out to be true, and The Barque of Heaven is my current favorite.
The story is non-stop, and I found that I didn't need to have seen any of the later episodes in order to understand it (still haven't gotten past episode nine of season one). I just couldn't put it down. The characters seemed true to the series as well, and there were several points where I could "hear" the dialogue in the voices from the series.
From the start the SG1 team finds themselves in a race against time, having to solve different problems in order to get to the next planet before the time runs out and they're trapped. Each character has his or her time to shine, with puzzles that rely on their specific skill sets. Early on in the book it's made clear that the trial is a life or death matter.
Thing is, in a tie-in novel, you know that all of the main characters are going to come out of the book in the same condition they started it, or at least that's been my experience. With The Barque of Heaven, I completely forgot that little fact, I got so involved.
It's a bit of a longer read, but a very satisfying one, and I think the rest of the Stargate novels I have are going to have a lot to live up to after reading this one.