“Never Surrender (Empire’s Core X)” by Christopher G. Nuttall

08/07/15

Last time we read the series, Brigadier Jasmine Yamane and part of her Commonwealth Expeditionary Force (CEF) had been captured by a sudden and unexpected attack by the Wolfbane Navy orbiting the planet Thule. She and her men have been taken to a POW camp on the planet Meridian. This world is a class one colony world which just means there’s nothing there but a few hardy colonist and they are barely surviving.

This book is entirely about Jasmine and her men’s struggle to escape the POW camp and then escape the planet itself. It is a very interesting story. There are a few other prisoners that Jasmine meets and she develops a helping relationship with a few. Once person is outside the camp working at the spaceport while his girlfriend is being held prisoner. This is the way Wolfbane keeps people under control. The kidnap members of a family and then force the others to work for them. There are a lot political prisoners in the camp with one in particular a former General in the Wolfbane military. He’s actually not very good, but his aide turns out to be more helpful in the beginning.

Jasmine comes up with some pretty wild plans on how to get them out of the prison camp, then ride on a shuttle to the orbital station and capture it without anyone getting killed. Obviously, the Wolfbane soldiers are the dregs of their military. They are so far removed from the real fighting that they have grown real complacent. The book has a lot of action and a lot of killing. It’s not gruesome, but the author pains a pretty good description of what’s happening.

There are a couple of strange things about this book. For one, Jasmine seems to be the only female Marine in her entire Force. She also seems to be the only officer of any rank that was captured. Jasmine is also preoccupied with the idea that she’s going to be canned/fired/court-martialed when she returns to Avalon. I don’t know why she things that. She should know that the trap on Thule was not her doing and she did as much as possible to save as many of her troops as she could. Her worrying about this is unreasonable.

I like this series but I don’t think I like the idea of going into the past of each main character and re-living their entire lives. I think that what’s in store for the next book. I’ll probably skip it. I’m more interested in how the Commonwealth will fight the war against Wolfbane and what happens when they find out who is the new leader of Wolfbane. It’s someone they are very familiar with.

Good story and very good writing. Keep it up!

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