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Halo: Shadows of Reach Discussion

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Halo: Shadows of Reach is written by Troy Denning, and will release on September 22. The official synopsis is
Quote:
October 2559. It has been a year since the renegade artificial intelligence Cortana issued a galaxy-wide ultimatum, subjecting many worlds to martial law under the indomitable grip of her Forerunner weapons. Outside her view, the members of Blue Team—John-117, the Master Chief; Fred-104; Kelly-087; and Linda-058—are assigned from the UNSC Infinity to make a covert insertion onto the ravaged planet Reach.
Their former home and training ground—and the site of humanity’s most cataclysmic military defeat near the end of the Covenant War—Reach still hides myriad secrets after all these years. Blue Team’s mission is to penetrate the rubble-filled depths of CASTLE Base and recover top-secret assets locked away in Dr. Catherine Halsey’s abandoned laboratory—assets which may prove to be humanity’s last hope against Cortana.
But Reach has been invaded by a powerful and ruthless alien faction, who have their own reasons for being there. Establishing themselves as a vicious occupying force on the devastated planet, this enemy will soon transform Blue Team’s simple retrieval operation into a full-blown crisis. And with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance, mission failure is not an option….
Let the discussion begin 😃
Going back to Castle Base to find Cortana's original files? Digging more into the Forerunner ship that was buried? New alien faction or returning threats? It'd be a stretch to say that the Banished managed to flee the Ark and make it all the way to Reach. What about another Covenant splinter? Lead by those fancy battle-ready Prophets? Either way, colour me intrigued.
As others have pointed out, the cover very closely mirrors the original Fall of Reach Cover with Blue Team as well.

I have a feeling this will be the final Halo novel prior to Infinite, much like how Fall of Reach was released just before Combat Evolved.

Pretty psyched for this one, I have just a couple books until I am "caught up" including Silent Storm and Oblivion, this gives me extra motivation to knock those out!
I am pumped. I adored Silent Storm and Oblivion; Denning captured Eric Nylund's style very well in those two, they read like they were written by him. I'm betting this will be very good...

My only concerns, though, are:

A. Will all of Blue Team survive to the end of the book, and

B. Will this plot actually end up having anything to do with Infinite's storyline anyway, considering their desire to move away from putting key plot points in EU material.
Really like Troy Denning's contributions to the Halo universe. Seems like he, Matt Forbeck, and Kelly Gay are the figureheads of the written expanded universe at this time.

I have to say, I enjoy the premise. Reach hasn't been explored in-depth since the Covenant ransacked and glassed the place. Who knows what it might be like now. Meridian or New Llanelli would be my first impressions.

What assets could there be that would help in the war against Cortana? I doubt it's the line commands Halsey used to access Araqiel's core matrix. It must have something to do with Halsey's research analysis of the Forerunner apparatus or perhaps something to do with the preserved clones she made. Imagine Blue Team obtaining the neural material and having Halsey use it to create a new AI in order to combat Cortana. It would be interesting just to see how Cortana reacts to the Chief potentially using what she might think of as a replacement of her against herself. Would it not personally bother her or would she go off the deep end (even more) because of it?

With the Servants of the Abiding Truth currently isolated and engaged within Onyx's slipspace environment and Atriox's Banished embroiled in conflict on the Ark, this leaves the Keepers of the One Freedom as one of the biggest possible Covenant factions that could make an appearance. I don't think we know what became of Castor and his faction after Retribution. Sali 'Nyon seems to have become the de-facto leader of whatever is left of Jul M'Dama's forces which probably isn't much considering the results of the Battle of Sunaion. Would the Shields of Requiem and Luro 'Taralumee even count?

This is also a chance to find out what happened to Soren-066. Is he still alive? Could he be staging a guerilla war against the Covenant occupants? There's a good number of questions that can hopefully be answered in this book.
I'm assuming that the classified material that they will be collecting will be files from Cortana's creation and/or the other flash cloned Halsey brains. They made 20 flash clones, and the rest of the brains were placed in cryo. Few people even knew about this program, and the location of the experiments weren't specified, so that leaves CASTLE BASE as a likely contender. It could also be information on MJOLNIR, but I'm not anticipating that to be anything but tertiary at best.

As for the faction, I'm assuming the Keepers, since Troy Denning likes to reuse his characters (ex, the former president of Gao being the duplicitous ODST in Silent Storm) and canonically the others aren't great fits. I enjoy the homage to the classic Fall of Reach cover, and due to that I'm assuming that the Spartans on the cover are taken from a game engine render.

Also, the fact that Blue team is returning to a glassed Reach kind of reminds me of the opening and end of the Fall of Reach animated movie. Could be an attempt by 343 to retcon those scenes, but again, not anticipating that, just a thought of what might be going on.
I love that the cover matches the original The Fall of Reach!

Shadows of Reach - The Fall of Reach
Looks like my prediction on no new books was proven wrong as I had hoped.

The obvious choice for the assets they are looking for would be the Halsey clones as a few others have already mentioned. Perhaps there is also more information to the gleaned from the Badb Catha site as well (location of Maethrillian anyone?).

Lastly, it would be a fantastic nod to the OG trilogy if Blue Team comes across Issac, Vinh, Joshua or any of their KIA brethren and gives them a proper burial/send off.
MysticKami wrote:
Going back to Castle Base to find Cortana's original files? Digging more into the Forerunner ship that was buried? New alien faction or returning threats? It'd be a stretch to say that the Banished managed to flee the Ark and make it all the way to Reach. What about another Covenant splinter? Lead by those fancy battle-ready Prophets? Either way, colour me intrigued.
Probably a stretch as you say. But I'm still hopeful we see some integration of the Halo Wars arcs moving forward. Great characters and stories that deserve a bit more inclusion, even if it's only mention or cameo within the main game line.
Zachu511 wrote:
MysticKami wrote:
Going back to Castle Base to find Cortana's original files? Digging more into the Forerunner ship that was buried? New alien faction or returning threats? It'd be a stretch to say that the Banished managed to flee the Ark and make it all the way to Reach. What about another Covenant splinter? Lead by those fancy battle-ready Prophets? Either way, colour me intrigued.
Probably a stretch as you say. But I'm still hopeful we see some integration of the Halo Wars arcs moving forward. Great characters and stories that deserve a bit more inclusion, even if it's only mention or cameo within the main game line.
I would love to see Red team and Blue team reunited. I don't know why but I got so much satisfaction from seeing Kelly, Fred and Linda in 5. Feels right to have the Spartan ll's together! Be really cool if Grey team could show up again aswell, or some info to know thier current status.
If we are lucky, maybe we’ll be able to get a version of the cover without text for wallpaper purposes, such as when we were given The Fall of Reach’s cover in last September’s Community Update.

Edit: Wish granted! I didn’t realize the image was available by clicking on the book cover in the announcement post.
What if chief finds his new infinite armor in Halsey’s lab. I think it would be cool for him to replace his h4/5 armor with the new(better) armor in the novel.
MrDeath130 wrote:
I have a feeling this will be the final Halo novel prior to Infinite, much like how Fall of Reach was released just before Combat Evolved.

I mean, FoR was the only Halo book before CE :P
I'm really excited by this news! I think it'll focus more on stuff from Fall of Reach/First Strike, rather than the ruins in Reach since that was under Sword Base and the synopsis specifically mentions Castle. Plenty of Forerunner ruins on Reach! :P

I'm hoping that these aliens mentioned are going to be completely new, not just another faction of Covenant races. It'd be nice to see the galaxy open up even more.
MysticKami wrote:
Going back to Castle Base to find Cortana's original files? Digging more into the Forerunner ship that was buried? New alien faction or returning threats? It'd be a stretch to say that the Banished managed to flee the Ark and make it all the way to Reach. What about another Covenant splinter? Lead by those fancy battle-ready Prophets? Either way, colour me intrigued.
I feel like the Banished are more likely than you think. I believe it's from the Official Spartan Field Manual that we learn that the Banished presence at the Ark did not represent anywhere near their total military strength, which makes sense because they had two slipspace-capable ships at the Ark (Enduring Conviction and a CCS-Class Battlecruiser that was destroyed by the Spirit of Fire in a separate engagement), and they're hyped up as being one of the most powerful ex-Covenant factions. Additionally, in Operation: Spearbreaker, when you discover that the Banished are building a Despair-Class Fighter, one of the characters thinks that they'll use it to send for reinforcements. So they do still have forces in the galaxy. If it is the Banished, I imagine it'll just be a different commander that we haven't seen before.
MysticKami wrote:
Going back to Castle Base to find Cortana's original files? Digging more into the Forerunner ship that was buried? New alien faction or returning threats? It'd be a stretch to say that the Banished managed to flee the Ark and make it all the way to Reach. What about another Covenant splinter? Lead by those fancy battle-ready Prophets? Either way, colour me intrigued.
I feel like the Banished are more likely than you think. I believe it's from the Official Spartan Field Manual that we learn that the Banished presence at the Ark did not represent anywhere near their total military strength, which makes sense because they had two slipspace-capable ships at the Ark (Enduring Conviction and a CCS-Class Battlecruiser that was destroyed by the Spirit of Fire in a separate engagement), and they're hyped up as being one of the most powerful ex-Covenant factions. Additionally, in Operation: Spearbreaker, when you discover that the Banished are building a Despair-Class Fighter, one of the characters thinks that they'll use it to send for reinforcements. So they do still have forces in the galaxy. If it is the Banished, I imagine it'll just be a different commander that we haven't seen before.
I honestly hope you're right. I've enjoyed the Banished thus far and would love to see them make the jump to the main series of games. While I still think it's a stretch for them to make it from the Ark to Reach, it'd be kind of cool if they'd made it to Reach first. Perhaps they kept digging after Reach fell and they found another Slipspace crystal. We still don't know how they found the Ark, but if they accidentally found the coordinates similar to how Cortana found Halo, that'd be a fun story.
Bit of a nitpick, but I wish the subtitle were "A Blue Team Story." Does not affect my excitement for the book in any way though!
I'm sure they can still find ways to make novels mean something in the games to release, the only issue with the last few was how reliant the games were on the books which is easily avoidable! I'm pumped!
Oh, boy. We get to see Blue Team defeat everything that comes their way with minimal effort, once again. Joy. I am quivering in my very kidneys at this monumental revelation. I'm sure that this book will change up the formula in... precisely no real fashion, whatsoever.

At this point: Blue Team is so utterly slathered in plot-armor that if any of them died or even lost a fight, it would come across as a mistake.
I just want to see if they find they're Fallen SII comrades in Castle base. Maybe others.
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