“Blood of Heroes (The Ember War, #3)” by Richard Fox

12/20/15

This third book of the series continues to be a bloody struggle for Earth’s remaining humans. Except, this time they go looking for trouble. Isaac Valdar, Captain of the starship Bieitenfeld, has decided to send his meager forces on a rescue mission. It’s not to rescue humans but a sizable planetary colony of Dotok, an alien species on the brink of extinction caused by the Xaros. He has decided to take the Breitenfeld to the planet Takeni which is the last stronghold for the Dotok. If the settlements on Takeni get wiped out, it’s the end of the Dotok species.

So, although this seems like a simple rescue mission, no one knows if the Xaros have found the Dotok on Takeni yet. As expected, upon reaching the space near Takeni, Captain Valdar flies right into a massive space battle. This one is a little strange. It appears the Dotok fleet is firing on their own colony ships! After some trial and error, Captain Valdar makes contact with the Dotok Admiral and demands to know what’s going on. Thousands of Dotok survival pods are ejecting from the Dotok colony ships and the Dotok fleet is firing on them!

Once the translators come on line, Valdar gets an explanation. The Xaros have captured these colony ships, killing all aboard and are using mindless banshees as their soldiers occupying the life pods. The Dotok Admiral tells Captain Valdar not to let any of the life pods land on his ship. Unfortunately the warning comes to late. These banshees stand six and half feet tall and are all teeth and claws. They have armor and weapons, but are just as dangerous without either. Not only are they landing on the Breitenfeld, but thousands are landing on the planet.

Well, the humans have their job cut out for them. They find that the initial estimate of Dotok colonist remaining on Dotok is much greater than anticipated. The number to be rescued won’t fit in the Breitenfeld, so what are they going to do. It so happens that the Dotok society is based on a ranking system. Each Dotok is ranked according to their ability to contribute to the society at large. Higher ranked Dotok get better living conditions, food, clothing and other things first. This ranking include men, women and even children. So, when the Dotok learn that only a limited number might be rescued, they begin lining up according to rank. Guess who is at the front of the line. It’s not the women and children!

Lots of good Marine combat in this one. I can’t believe how tough these Space Marines appear to be. Not a one seems to have broken and turned to a slobbering idiot even thought the Banshees are about anyone’s worst nightmare. Our group of Marines, led by Lieutenant Hale is slowly being decimated. We get to know a few more things about each one of his Marines only some of them won’t make it through the entire book.

The writing is great. The editing was almost perfect. I couldn’t find a single instance of a missing word or bad sentence, but with the action so fast paced, I probably wasn’t looking for such errors. If you’ve read the first two books, then you’ll need to read this one. And, yes, there is another book in the series coming in February 2016!

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