Rating:

4 Small Stars
The Crucible

Continuing on from the second book of this series is pretty easy. The story stops in a appropriate place so you can now focus on what’s to come. Commander Joe Pikeman is now in the good graces of his Guardsman HQ and he’s been put on another mission. He must go to the center of the Galaxy and stop the evil Fairfax from uploading the AllFather. This AllFather entity will take over the entire universe by using currently living humans as new vessels for those humans currently stuck in the subverse or digital world.

Yeah, this is a strange concept. Humanity has gone bonkers and decided that it’s better to live as digital entities than have to face the trials and tribulations of a living/breathing world. Not long ago, the Baccuhus Corporation perfected the uploading of a human conscience into digital form and allowing that conscience to create whatever world it liked. That meant that former living people could now become anything they wanted to and could live in a world that was perfect, if they so chose. Well, that was the way it was supposed to work. Like most sales pitches, it didn’t quite work out that way. Now, there is a move to get people out of those digital worlds and back into the real world, only these people don’t have bodies to occupy!

Mr. Rodney FairFax is a wealthy real human who has decided to help all those people trapped in the subverse as digital entities escape back into the real world. He intends to build huge artifacts or robots to which digital human entities will download. But, first he needs to test the concept using the mind of children! You’ll need to read the story to find out what needs to be done to bring back the digital humans. Just know that Commander Joe Pikeman is going to stop this effort or die trying.

Joe has been aided by a Shiva Knight or more like a ghost of his Father. The Shiva Knights are supposed to be the bravest of the brave and Commander Joe Pikeman is believed to be one of the most important Shiiva Knights to have existed. Yet, he doesn’t know he’s a Shiva Knight and he’s far from trained. That training is up to his Father Cal, the ghost or spirit entity that comes to visit him from time to time. Now Joe is a very practical guy and he doesn’t necessarily believe in some of this mystic stuff that his Father is trying to explain and teach him. He knows something of the “Fount” which you’ll have to figure out yourself, but it kin to what you might have heard as the “Force”. Commander Joe Pikeman has been very successful in using the Fount to do his job. He’s had to kill a number of pirates and other bad guys while using the Fount and he’s now finding out he can even do more only if he follows the training his Father is trying to give him.

His Father is no longer living since he had to face the same test Joe will to become a full fledge Shiva Knight. Joe will have to go to the center of the universe and fight some kind of ultimate evil and there’s a good chance he will die doing so. His Father did! So, Joe has his work cut out for him. If you’ve already read the other two books, then you’re well into the concepts used in this one. It should be an easy read and does tie up a lot of lose ends and makes for a very good story.