I read the first book in this series back in January of this year and wasn’t sure I’d get around to reading book 2 or 3 because the concept of this story is really weird. Still, after reading this book, I guess it’s not that much different from any other sci-fi book that has good guys and bad guys trying to do each other in.
If you’ve forgotten, Commander Joe Pikeman, Guardsman, responsible for the Axim Subverse terminal, is our main character. What does that mean? Well, most of the humans in this universe have uploaded themselves to servers located on planets, moons and whatnot, and their physical bodies are no longer existent. People were sold a message that living a digital life was much better than struggling through the current physical life and now that the Baccuhus Corporation had perfected the upload process, anyone who could afford to, could upload themselves into a world of their choosing. You could become anyone or anything you desired and live an almost wondrous life as long as the robots left to attend to the servers did their jobs correctly. You also wouldn’t die while in this altered reality. Commander Pikeman was on of those people who chose not to upload himself and stay in the real world. He and his fellow Guardsmen were entrusted with the job of making sure the servers that now contained most of humanity, were always working like they should. In fact, Joe Pikeman was a Toubleshooter, and a very good one a that.
His job mostly consisted of finding out why various servers weren’t working properly and making sure they were safeguarded against mostly pirates. There did exist small colonies of humans, like himself, who hadn’t uplifted because they didn’t like the idea or hadn’t the money, and he was also in charge of their well-being also. One such person at one location happened to be his own Daughter, Harmony. She was starting to give him some trouble now mainly because he hadn’t been around much and she wanted to experience more than what was available at her home town. So, although Joe didn’t need the extra trouble, Harmony had taken off in her Grandfathers starship and went to find the pirates to either stop them or join them, Joe wasn’t all that sure.
So, now he had to go find his daughter. Commander has a ship and a crew comprised of a robot named Dice, and three other entities whom all were uplifted people. What you find is that some uplifted people get bored with what they can do so they volunteer to man real starships as crew members. One crew member was actually Joe’s previous wife, although he didn’t find that out until later, and two other crew members turned out to be different than what he though he was getting.
In this book, Commander Pikeman joins up with another Guardsman to help secure a troubled server in another sector. That server is under the control of a very mean overlord who is trading children for weapons. That’s not a good thing to do. By helping a fellow Guardsman and this community, Commander Pikeman was hoping to get back into the good graces of his Commanders at HQ. He had done some things that were not approved and could have led to his dismissal from the Guard so he had to do something.
While doing this he finds out there is an much more evil entity out there some where that is building an army. Why he’s doing this is something you’ll read about in part of this book and the next. The story is written quite well and keeps you interested all the way through. Not everything is so great in the virtual worlds that are on these servers.