This was a very good story with an interesting twist. Instead of having the main character just joining the military, Jared Reach has just left active duty with the US Marine Corps. He is now, very definitely, a civilian with a new gig and it’s not anything to do with the military, or so he thought. He volunteered to be part of a colony expedition to a new planet called Amir. It was hoped that this expedition could arrive and build on the initial automated colonization effort that went just before them. They should arrive to the planet with a base pretty much built and ready for occupation. Base camp Ohio was going to be the new capital of their new community.
Amir was uninhabited but did contain a large variety of animals and various plants. There wasn’t supposed to be any thing terribly dangerous there, but some of the wild life was, well, wild so they had to be ready to protect the colony. Now, leaving Earth wasn’t as easy as it should have been. The Russo-Chinese Pacific Alliance (RUPAC) had been making trouble for everyone on Earth. It was to a point that fighting between the United States and other North American countries could start at anytime. They weren’t sure if their starship was going to shot out on the way out or not. Fortunately, it wasn’t and they made their way towards Amir.
Now, as I said, our main character is Jared Reach. He’s a former enlisted Marine and has no problem with the military. He spent his six-year enlistment in and got out. There’s a full military contingent of Army Rangers on-board, led by Captain Bosa while Colonel Landry, the Space Force Commander leading the Boone’s crew. They plan to make most of the trip in stasis pods, basically sleeping the entire 40 year trip. Well, this was the plan anyway.
Dr. Kenneth Roman is another character you’ll get familiar with. He’s the brains of the operation, but he doesn’t like to take orders from anyone. Fortunately, that works out for the mission since he applies a lot of “enhancements” to the stasis pods while they were being used. You’ll read about them once the story gets started. They have a major impact on Jared Reach. What also has an impact is that some how during the trip all the stasis pods containing the all the Space Force personnel! It also took out most of the Army Ranger company leaving only a couple of platoon-sized elements! So, now they have a totally different set of circumstances to their mission. This is not the only thing they find out in their journey.
Upon arrival at Amir, their first look at the supposedly established Camp Ohio finds it far from being in the shape expected. It looks like it’s been attacked, but also like everything has aged rather quickly. Or, maybe the USS Boone has been traveling a lot longer than they thought. Something happened while they were in transition space and it wasn’t anything good. How they handle this turn of events could impact the future of the entire human race.
I liked the story with the addition of a couple of “smart” A.I.;s. One is name Alexa and the other is called “Brody”. There’s some humor added to the story with Brody and it works pretty well. I do find that the team that survives the trip seems to be woefully undermanned with only a Captain leading the Rangers. He seems competent enough, but also seems to be acting beyond his years. It works and they find out that of all the stuff they brought, having the Rangers there was probably the most important component of the entire mission.
I don’t know if this is going to be a series or not, but with Mr. Anspach, most of his books do turn into series pretty quickly. They certainly do have more to tell about this situation. I’ll be reading it if they do come out with another book.