Upfront here, I know the author and am confident of his skills so when the book started a little slower than my expectations I persisted; and I am glad I did. Schibi has set himself quite a task here, peopling his story with humans plus four other species; one the ‘benevolent aggressor’, another with a questionable history, and two others that are playing nice…for the moment. Each group is playing for its own advantage, and some of them have better tools to accomplish that than others. Set, in the vast scale; on a backdrop of galactic conquest, and in the intimate one; of a ship finishing up a 5-year first contact mission “Union: To the Brink’ lives up to its name. The interactions between the species, and individuals within them keeps it interesting and sets up a multi book saga of heroic battles both between huge fleets and within the hearts and minds of its participants. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next installment.