Overview – This is a five book series contained in one Kindle file. I don’t usually like reading books this way because it often means that each book if short and all the books together only make for an average sized book. Not so with this group. The first book which I have finished was quite long. I was kind of wondering when it would end, not that I wanted it to, but it seemed to be going on for a long stretch. That first book is title, “Sol Shall Rule” and I have no idea why it was named that. It certainly doesn’t fit the story. I’m going to break each book down and write my review as I read them, that way I won’t forget something important. So here goes.
Sol Shall Rise, Book 1, The Pike Chronicles – Jon Pike, also known as Captain Jon Pike is a unique human. He’s obviouslymilitary and was previously selected for a limited experimentation, one that he now regrets. See Captain Jon Pike is the only living human to have a successfully a living symbiont inside his body. This symbiont was from an alien species called the Diakans. Trials didn’t go too well. Both the human host and the symbiont died. Diakans were born with a symbiont so there was nothing unusual about someone having one. Still, this human experiment was to see how the human body and the symbiont would interact with each other. Unfortunately, several first trials didn’t go too well. Both the human host and the symbiont died.
Not so with Jon. In fact he and his symbiont seemed to flourish even though they were in constant conflict. Jon was a black ops operative and very good at what he did. The symbiont gave him some remarkable new abilities like faster speed and greater strength and stamina than normal humans. It also was very aggressive and did not tolerate much compassion on Jon’s part. When threatened, it sometimes forced Jon to kill when it was unnecessary. Jon wanted the symbiont removed. That wasn’t going to happen. Any attempt to remove the symbiont would result in both Jon and the symbiont’s death.
So Jon is really an assassin. Trained to be deadly and he was. Yet now he finds himself in Admiral Walsh’s office along with a Diakan. The Diakan was an Ambassador to Earth and they had “suggested” to Admiral Walsh who should command Earth’s newest and only interstellar starship. They wanted Captain Jon Pike with his symbiont, and that’s what they got. Jon is now the Captain of the “Hermes”, the first and only jump capable starship. His mission is to find Earth’s lost colonies.
Five hundred years ago, Earth had been attacked and conquered by the Juttari. These Juttari were extremely brutal and they terrorized Earth and its humans for centuries until the Diakans arrived and defeated the Juttari, thereby, freeing humanity from its enslavement. The Diakens were unlike the Juttari in that they provided Earth with a lot of technology and help to speed along the recovery until now the Earth could produce a starship with a jump drive. Earth previously had distant colonies which traveled through star gates to reach each other. When the Juttari showed up at Earth, those distant star gates were shut down by the colonist so they also wouldn’t come under Juttari rule. Now with the Diakan help and with Diakan “advisors” aboard the Hermes, Captain Pike set out to find those lost colonies. Captain Pike didn’t like the Diakans. He thought that humanity had only traded one slave ruler for another and the Diakans were not much better than the Juttari. He didn’t want the Diakans aboard his ship and made sure they understood that fact. It didn’t phase the Diakans, they remained for whatever purpose they had.
So Jon and the Hermes set out on what could be a very long mission. I think it’s fate was sealed when Jon told Admiral Walsh this exact sentence, “With all due respect, Sir, I’m Black Ops. I kill people. I don’t command starships.” Jon Pike was certainly telling the truth, and in my opinion, he certainly wasn’t a starship Captain!
Prevail, Book 2, The Pike Chronicles – Ok, so Jon Pike, Breeah and Anki all made it to a lifeboat and start off this book adrift in space. Their little lifeboat has FTL but once it’s used, which it was to get away from the Kemmar, it’s done. They have enough power to drift along for awhile, but they can’t stay in this thing for long. Fortunately, a space freighter comes into their area and the Captain reluctantly decides to rescue the little lifeboat. He can’t believe his eyes when he sees what he’s rescued. Turns out that he did a very good thing, although there will be moments when he’s not so sure.
This freighter happens to be from a gigantic station known simply as the DLC station. It’s a corporate station run by one of the corporation heads, a Mr. Jansen. This station has over a million inhabitants all of which are humans. Jon is not sure, but he believes he’s found on of the “Lost Colonies”. But, for Jon, nothing ever seems to be easy.
While on the freighter, a gang of raiders attempted to hold the Captain, crew and the ship for ransom. It seemed like this was a normal part of shipping freight in the deep dark, so Captain Seiben was perfectly agreeable to let the situation develop while Mr. Jansen paid the ransom. He forgot that his passenger, Captain Pike, had a different view of things and wasn’t about to let anything happen to Breeah or Anki. So, in short order, he killed all the raiders and destroyed their ship. His exploits reached Mr. Jansen who made an offer to Captain PIke. If he agreed to capture or kill the head of the raiders, Mr. Jansen would give Jon a ship of his own to go where ever he wanted. And not just any ship. He agreed to give Jon a military vessel fully armed. But things have a way of turning out differently than expected, and boy are they different in this book.
Meanwhile, the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the Reivers from the Kemmar prison planet saw Kevin and his fellow Marines locked up with no hope of escape. The Kemmar are very cruel and dangerous aliens. The eat humans or just about anything the don’t see a slave value in. Kevin had to suffer through a very rough interrogation session in which the Kemmar showed how alien they were at the cost of another crewman’s life.
Then the prison came under attack. Kevin couldn’t figure out who the attackers were, but if it gave him and his people a chance to get free, then he was going to take it. It turns out that the attacking force were Chaanisar! There were humans taken from their homes as children and raised by the Juttari as super soldiers. They have a brain chip implanted that gave the Juttari control of their actions and that was used to make the Chaanisar carry out despicable acts of violence against humans on Earth. So, the Chaanisar were almost as hated as the Juttari. Still, these Chaanisar were different some how and they proved it by helping not only Kevin and his Marines, but they also set out to rescue and recover the rest of the Hermes crew. Of particular interest to the Chaanisar was Dr. Ellerbeck. They wanted her to attempt to remove the Juttari chip from their brains thereby freeing them from Juttari control.
So now you have Jon Pike thinking about working for Mr. Jansen and Kevin and a starship full of Chaanisar looking for the crew of the Hermes to include Captain Jon Pike. This book isn’t short, but the action seems to come pretty fast. The story continues and this is a much better role for Jon Pike. You even start to read about some of his past and while it doesn’t explain much about who he is now, it is interesting.
Ronin, Book 3, The Pike Chronicles – So we now have a collection of Chaanisar, Reivers and Space Force all trying to work together with New Byzantium. Meanwhile, Jon Pike got himself in the middle of a coup at the DLC station. The second in command, a Mr. Kulberg, shot Mr. Jansen and then blamed the murder on Jon Pike. Fortunately, the Chaanisar and Kevin’s Marines showed up just in time to rescue Jon, Breeah and Anki. Now they are headed to New Byzantium still in search of Dr. Ellerbeck.
New Byzantium was an Earth colony world that had flourished. It was just now enjoying the freedom of a democratic government led by a very young Prime Minister Sallas who was with Dr. Ellerbeck as word came that a Juttari ship was approaching the planet. At the same time, General Juneau started his own coup by arresting Prime Minister Sallas and Dr. Ellerbeck. General Juneau was actually working for Mr. Franz Stumpf, CEO of the Amboss Corporation. None of the other corporate worlds like the idea of an independent democratic planet. They were afraid that such an idea would spread throughout the colonizes resulting in these corporate executives losing their wealth and power. So, Jon and Captain Bast of the Chaanisar hope that the warm welcome by Prime Minister Sallas will give them some place to start new lives. Then they find out about the coup and set out to rescue Dr. Ellerbeck and Prime Minister Sallas.
Meanwhile, the AI from the former starship Hermes has been residing in Jon Pike’s communication device. She has gained access to the Chaanisar ship and has taken steps to ensure the ship nor it’s Chaanisar crew can ever be taken over again by the Juttari. The AI is growing by leaps and bounds and becoming stronger but stays loyal to Captain Jon Pike. She eventually becomes instrumental in Jon Pike’s further exploits.
Again, in this book we read more and more of Jon Pike’s life as a young boy. He grew up with the resistance movement on Earth. He learned to fight and move out of danger at a very young age. Even now he can hardly believe that he survived to see the end of the Juttari control over Earth. Still, he’s never been comfortable with the Diakens and still considers them just a new master.
The book title, “Ronin”, comes from Prime Minister Sallas when he suggest that the Chaanisar are no longer Chaanisar subject to Juttari control. He refers back to ancient Earth history where Japanese samurai found themselves without a lord to serve. They became Ronin and appear to be the same as these Chaanisar which Col Bast agrees is a suitable new name for his people.
Lastly, Dr. Ellerbeck attempts to remove the Juttari chip embedded in Col Bast’s brain. The operation seems to go well for awhile. Then Col Bast starts to remember who he was and what he did!
Ghost Fleet, Book 4, The Pike Chronicles – Earth has another new jump ship called the Vanguard. Her mission is to find out what happened to the Hermes, in hopes that it wasn’t captured and the jump technology lost. The Vanguard is a much larger ship than the Hermes, better able to protect itself which it finds is very necessary while looking for the lost Hermes.
Meanwhile, four other Juttari starships show up at New Byzantium. These are not free Chaanisar! They are there for a fight and to scout these new human worlds. Jon, Captain Bast of the Ronin and the Reivers go out to meet this new threat. Only the AI infiltrates the data stream of these Juttari ships and quickly shuts off the brain chips freeing these Chaanisar! They are all shocked with their new freedom and immediately pledge their support to Jon PIke.
So now the fleet has grown. New Byzantium has given Jon three more ships which he retrofits with jump technology. Now becoming a large fleet, the New Byzantium Prime Minister wants Jon to command that fleet and help with the coming corporation fleet battle. So now Jon becomes Admiral Jon Pike with his flagship aboard the carrier Freedom. This time, Jon fortunately has plenty of other Captains who provide sound tactical advice so he’s not as apt to make some stupid mistakes as he has in the past.
Jon’s Ghost Fleet now has to prepare for the coming corporate battle. All the other corporations are sending ships to a central rendezvous point before heading to New Byzantium. Jon thinks they have a chance to whittle that fleet down if they attack the individual small fleets going to the gathering point. He and his fleet set out and that’s what the rest of this story is about. Another good book with lots of fast paced action.
Interstellar War, Book 5, The Pike Chronicles – So Admiral Pike wants to go back to Earth to find out what has been going on. He gathers his fleet and tells the New Byzantium Prime Minister that he’ll be gone for awhile but promises to come back before the Remmar attack. Jon has the only jump capable ships in this region of space so the Prime Minister isn’t happy about him leaving.
On their just back towards Earth, they encounter the Vanguard, but it is with four other Kemmar ships. Jon doesn’t understand this situation so he asked the Captain of the Vanguard to explain why in the company of these deadly creatures. The Vanguard Captain says he has formed an alliance with the Kemmar. At the same time, the Kemmar ships start attacking both Admiral Pike’s fleet and the Vanguard. For some reason, the Captain of the Vanguard refuses to join in the fight against the Kemmar who are attacking his ship trying to say it’s just a misunderstanding. Fortunately, the Diakan “Advisor” aboard the Vanguard takes action and relieves the Captain. That easily helps the Earth/Chaanisar fleet to defeat the four Kemmar ships.
Once that’s done they continue on to Earth. Arriving at the far outskirts of the Sol System, a scan shows hundreds of Juttari/Chaanisar ships in orbit around Earth. It appears that Earth has once again been conquered by the Juttari, but upon closer look, it is much worse this time around. So does Jon and his small fleet try and help Earth free itself or do they go back to the lost colonies and defend them from the Kemmar.
No matter what they do, Admiral Pike and his fleet has a lot of work cut out for them. They need to get all humanity back together and become a significant force in the universe in order to stop all these alien attacks. To do that, they have to turn on the previously closed jump gates used by the lost colonies. That’s going to be a big problem because it is now in Kemmar controlled space.
It looks like the series goes on for another five books, so we have a lot more reading to do if you have liked what you have read so far.