Lucifer, the plot. I'll go linear, since the book - like A Terrible Aspect - is split into four separate continuties.
Gauda Prime. Blake lies dead at Avon's feet, as do everyone else (but fear not, gentle reader, we never get reminded of their identities, they're just corpses to be dumped). As the Federation troopers close in... a bunch of dissheveled gun-totting nutters arrive, lead by a piss-poor Groucho Marx expy, chewing cigars and dispensing second-class witticisms. Groucho (or "Serge Collon" as he likes to be known, no doubt because he's full of shit) and army of inbred family members have arrived on GP to capture Blake and Avon, selling them to Servalan for the bounty. Of course, now Blake's dead, that plan is stuffed and Avon offers to buy Servalan out with some gold. Collon and his ramshackle team take Avon captive and flee GP at ludicrous speed... pausing only to dump the bodies of the Scorpio crew in a river, cause, shit, who cares about them, anyway?
Certainly not Avon, who is too busy indulging in beating up cripples - ala Man of Iron. In fairness, said cripple was having a go at him with a knife, but I wonder if Paul Darrow had a bad incident with some Little-Britain-style paraplegic and has never been the same since. No, wait it appears that wheelchair-bound Hector has some kind of history-blood-fued that invovles torture, betrayal and killing a woman. How novel. Turns out Hector was one of Sula's troopers in Rumors of Death, and he wasn't pleased when he found out who actually killed her... though how he found that out escapes me at present. Anyway, Collon's ship Miranda (named after his creepiest of goth daughters) is bushwhacked by a Federation cruiser NOT sent by Servalan to deal with any loose ends. Avon easily takes over Miranda, defeats the cruiser and they all high-tail it to the independant world of Gaius 6, ruled by a corrupt warlord called Rufus Pearl. Oh, he sounds butch!
Turns out that Pearl was the one who found out Blake was on GP, and saw Scorpio being shot down... somehow... and rang up President Servalan (the Commissioner Sleer thing seems to have been forgotten entirely) while sending Collon and his family there, knowing whatever happened he'd get a cash reward for capturing Blake and Avon. As you can imagine, this backstabbing doublecrossing bastard with delusions of grandeur is a positive goldmine for Avon - like Blackadder III getting a job as Prince George's butler - and he decides to make Pearl the most powerful warlord in the galaxy, fighting both Servalan and whoever it was who sent the cruiser. Never let it be said that Kerr Avon isn't goal-oriented. By my reckoning it's about four hours since "HAVE YOU BETRAYED ME?!??" and he's conned an entirely new position in society (getting constant reminders about killing Anna, which never cheers him up). Still, if it's choice between this an Kaston "I'm a psychopath!" Iago, I know what I choose.
But Pearl is more than that camp name suggests. Not only is he on very good terms with Servalan, HE was the one who sent the attack cruiser! PLUS he is not even a human being, but one of the "Alien Greys", a highly-evolved race of mysterious origins who... well, if you've seen The X-Files, you're up to speed. The Greys come from Gaius 6, which means that this superior race in the universe includes Collon. So, not entirely the supreme being in the universe, methinks. Once Avon realizes he surrounded by Greys even stupider than Tarrant first thing on a Monday morning he... well, escapes with less effort than me typing this out. He steals the Miranda with its deadpan flight computer Swan, but doesn't kill anyone in the effort. Whether this is because he is a changed man after killing Blake, or because the Greys could not pose a threat to a dead wombat, remains to be seen.
(Note: he IS happy to shoot, maim, beat up and pistol-whip them. Just not kill them.)
Pearl finally returns home and discovers his moronic people have let Avon escape, alerted him to the scheme, steal one of their ships, kill his Federation agents, and all for an IOU of gold that Greys don't actually need. Pearl vents his frustration by machine-gunning Hector the cripple to death, then cuts the ear off Blake's corpse, shoots Blake's head to pieces, and skips away with a spring in his step before blowing up Gaius 6 and all the morons who live there. I know who Kaldor City writers will be rooting for for the rest of this story...
Avon meanwhile is getting used to Miranda, and the quirks of Swan who seems to be impersonating Zen, Orac and Slave for the lulz. It turns out that arrogant sonofabitch Dancer Collon is aboard the ship but, since he's lost absolutely everything in the last paragraph, sucks it up and agrees to be the replacement Tarrant in this new franchise. Returning to GP to collect Orac, they discover Pearl is waiting there with his Federation buds, so Avon tries the whole "crash into GP" plan that worked so well for Scorpio. Guess what happens this time.
Pearl finds Avon chilling out in the woods, believing he is alone and Miranda is a wreck - both aren't true. With mock politeness they start haggling for Orac, and Pearl whines that Avon has single-handedly fucked up Pearl's scheme for universal domination in less than an hour without even know he was doing it. Avon replies, "You'll get over it," and immediately... an army of Federation-era Triads, lead by a Cantonese bloke called Li Kang arrive, sent by Servalan to collect Avon. Coz she's not as dumb as Pearl assumed. Pearl storms off in a huff for, even in the New Calendar of the Terran Federation, "the Chinese are not to be underestimated."
Li Kang decides to dump Avon and Dancer on Gaius 7 - that's the "floating island" on the cover, apparently unaffected in any way by the neighboring planet exploding - where he can mingle with the criminal elements. Li Kang will tell the Federation Avon is dead, thus weakening the position of Servalan and the other powers there. Pretty much the moment they leave the ship, they are attacked by nutters with crossbows. Not that Avon is willing to put up with this shit any more. Of course, the first female criminal he beats the shit out of will end up being his love interest - this IS Blake's 7.
Cut to twenty years in the future.
It seems that the Federation tried to take over the border systems in Warlord, and the rebel alliance fought back and all but destroyed the empire. The new Federation that emerges from the chaos is run by the Quartet, a gang of four shadowy bastards - the evil lady scientist and Servalan's BFF, Dr. Pandora Ess, who runs the banks with the evil economist and homosexual Professor Claude Witt; and Gregor Steiner and Rafael de Horn, who run the military police force known as the Iron Guards (which seems to be different to the Iron Guard singular - it's the whole Union Jack/Flag thing all over again). The Quartet collect the survivors of the old regime and, for a price, put them into protective custody on the moon which is renamed "Hebe" for some reason. The Quartet then decide to base themselves in, er, the Base - a bizarrely-named warship that patrols the edge of Federation space.
The Base has its own problems; its stupidly-named scoutship Icarus has crashed on Gaius 7 (can you see where this is going?) and its crew, fatally distracted by Dancer doing naked gymnastics, have been killed the moment they stepped out of the ship. The recovery ship Plough arrives, shoots Dancer and napalms the surrounding countryside in retaliation. I love the smell of napalm on a Mormon, don't you?
When the smoke clears, Avon and his squeeze Magda emerge from hiding, having put a bomb on the Icarus which they intend to detonate once it re-docks with the Base. Meanwhile, Dr. Ess has arrived to inspect the place. If she's creeped out by the decadent orgiastic sex used as social control and the army of deaf-dumb-eunuchs, then she hides it very well. Dr. Ess and Commandant Gabriella (daughter of a bloke called Travis! Could that be important?!?) are also BFFs and are just about to do a deal when the Icarus blows up. All the evidence is that Avon is alive, on Gaius 7 and with bombs, so Dr. Ess leaves suggesting they recruit him.
Yes, the Apocalypse Now vibe continues. Gabriella sends a squad into the jungle to capture Avon, who has spent the last twenty years strapping bombs to things for just this sort of occasion. He's going for "the wow factor", apparently. Meanwhile, like his father before him, Avon has to live with his mother-in-common-law, Magda's mum Cassandra and, like Avon's grandmother, is a beacon of sanity and common sense in a world from the mind of the chik-chik-boom girl from Channel 9. Quite simply, Cassandra knows that even IF Avon doesn't go batshit insane and murder Magda, she'll just end up like all the unnamed comrades who perished alongside him. But Magda, like Avon's mother, is too in love to give a crap. Actually, I dunno if this is deliberately meant to evoke history repeating or, like Terry Nation, Darrow is deliberately recycling his own stuff and hoping no one notices. I hope it's the former, because it's the only thing stopping this sequence being so thin it collapses in on its own lack of gravity.
What's DEFINITELY deliberate is when Gabriella's forces catch up with Avon they gasp, "You're him, aren't you?!?" and if I need to explain that reference, you are clearly not the expected audience of this blog. After finding out what happned in the 20 years of backstory, Avon and Magda go on a generally nasty killing spree - slaughtering even non-combatants, so Avon's definitely got over his "compassion" after he killed Blake (an event he shows absolutely no guilt, shame or even interest it, BTW - "If I hadn't killed him, someone else would have...").
Since it's only a matter of time before Servalan hears he's alive and comes to torture the location of Orac out of him - Orac, btw, stands for Original Random Advanced Computer, we really needed that factoid - Avon determines to find the fishtank of knowledge first! Once he has access to a shuttle, Avon intends off alone, leaving Magda
behind for her own safety. Of course, given that Gaius 7 is on a collision
course with a nearby sun, "safety" is a rather relative term.
Meanwhile, on Iphegnia (a hitherto unmentioned paradise planet in the Solar System hidden from Earth) the Quartet are doing their evil work. Like gardening. And reading the Financial Times. And arguing about the benefits of vegetarianism. Yes, this shadowy council for interplanetary progress are nothing more than the cast for The Last of the Summer Wine, living boring and uncomplicated lives except more eunuchs being tortured instead of riding bathtubs down hills. Talk about the banality of evil! The Quartet make the Young Ones look like the cast of Watchmen in terms of badassary and widespread impact! Do these idiots actually rule the universe or are they like that senile dictator who just got TOLD he was in charge to keep him happy?
In fact, it seems the Quartet needs a spring-clean and Dr. Ess wants the new gang to consist of General Li Lim of the Chinese Empire that runs what's left of Earth; Gabriella herself (on the condition she becomes Lim's fuckbuddy); and, of course Servalan. Who gets Gabriella onside by revealing that... AVON KILLED HER FATHER! DU-DU-ANNNHHH!!! And then they blow up Li Lim and his spaceship. For the evulz, obviously.
So, by now, not only is Gabriella out for blood but so is everyone else on the Base - as they all seem to be related, Avon's killing spree means he has hundred of people swearing vengeance. Sheesh. The guy never learns. As the Earth plunges into revolution yet again, Servalan becomes more determined than ever to get that little Original Random Advanced Computer! Especially as the rest of the Quartet, eager not to lose their cross-stitching and flower arranging of ultimate power, have turned against her.
Meanwhile, some other Cantonese bloke called Fu Ti arrives on Gaius 7 to meet Avon - Fu Ti served with Li Kang and the others what dumped him here in the first place. Having killed Li Lim has meant that the Chinese have turned against Servalan, so Fu Ti gives Avon a rocket launcher to blow up Gabrielle's troops when they come knocking. Why Avon wants to hang around on Gaius 7 nuking opponents when he's going on and on about how he really should go and collect Orac, well, it escapes me.
Servalan decides to chat with the natives - ala Sherrif Vasey of Notthingham - and have them turn on Avon, but it turns out that Cassandra was actually BFFs with Avalon, remember her? No? Oh, never mind, she's dead now anyway, and who cares about her? The bad guys head off into the jungle where Avon effortlessly Die Hards them all to death. (Guy to Servalan: "Is it him?" Avon shoots guy. Servalan: "It's him.") An ominous thunderstorm begins, and that non-waterproof rocket launcher proves useless! Stupid Chinese shit, it never works!
Servalan confronts Avon.
They have a traditional flirty confontation.
Then Madga turns up out of nowhere and shoots the Bitch in White through the spine with a crossbow.
Avon heads off alone while the rest of Gabriella's forces decide they've had enough of this shit and leg it. The Quartet abandon their efforts to track Avon and instead focus all their efforts trying to fight the Asian Menace that now rules Earth. Meanwhile, Avon finally recovers Orac (played by Graham Norton as himself, it seems) who basically shouts, "You took your time, you bastard?!?" and reveals that the Asians have bugged his stolen ship, so, yeah, he's pretty much screwed. Damn those Oriental bastards.
Depressingly, Servalan is better characterized than Avon, and the entire plot basically consists of Paul Darrow in a jungle, shooting people. Who gives a crap? Where is the new generation of freedom fighters? Avon's early pitch at running Pearl's regime is as easily fogotten as Pearl himself. What's this crap about aliens running mankind? Why hasn't Orac been found in twenty years, given he was hidden just outside Blake's base on a planet about to be redeveloped? Why do Cassandra and Magda choose to stay on a planet going to burn to ashes?
No fist, I'm afraid.
No fist at all.