“Head of the Dragon” (The Frontiers Saga #6) by Ryk Brown

02/11/13

This is a highly improbably story with a very young group of main characters manning the Earth Starship Aurora.  The ship has been blasted from the Solar System while testing a new “jump drive” for Earth space forces.  The Aurora encountered two hostile Jung ships while on their test mission.  When one self-destructed while the Aurora was in a “jump”, the Aurora and her crew found themselves 1,000 light years from Earth in another system.  It just so happens that the Captain and every senior officer on the Aurora were killed during the jump.  Now, the only survivors are junior officers with little to no space experience having just recently jointed the Aurora or just out of the Academy.  So, they do what every junior office wants to do and that is promote themselves into the vacant senior officer positions!

Young Lieutenant Junior Grade or Ensign (I can’t remember which) formerly the ships pilot now finds himself thrust into command of what’s left of the Aurora. Not only is he now the Aurora’s Captain but he also finds his ship and crew in the middle of a civil war and his ship has just aided the rebel cause!  So, instead of getting the heck out of the fight and finding how to get home, this young Captain joins the rebellion against the current Empire and becomes a central figure head.

Ok, so if you can accept the story that every single senior officer about the Aurora died jumping 1,000 light years, and none of the junior officers were hurt very badly, you should be well prepared to read the rest of the story.  The young crew of the Aurora begin making decisions about what they should do with surprisingly little emotion and a lot of ignorance about what they are getting themselves into.  Still, it’s a fun read.  Everything happens pretty fast in this book. They all sit down somewhere on the ship and decide what to do next, work out the details and then Captain Scott tells them to do it.  And off they go.  Whether it’s to attack an Empire ship that is fully armed with a seasoned crew and an experienced Captain or attacking a well fortified Empire camp on another world, they put a plan together and go do it.  Simple as that.  People get killed, equipment and stuff get blown up but there’s always the same nucleus of Aurora crew that never get killed nor hurt very badly in any of their battles.  The ship gets battered quite a bit but even blowing great big holes in it’s sides doesn’t seem to stop if from jumping around from one place to another.  And, no one on the Aurora knows how the “jump drive” works or why.  It just does.

After six books you’d think this story was coming to an end.  It does seem to do that.  Everything gets tidied up at the end and the Aurora crew gets ready to depart back to Earth. But, there’s a 7th episode entitled, “The Expanse” whatever that means.

I like these books for the pure entertainment value.  I don’t think any of this story is in any way plausible but hey, it’s science-fiction.  Good writing and good story.

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