Just last month I was reviewing the first book in this series, “The Acheron”, and I started out the review by indicating that the lead or main character is a female by the name of Sandrine Hollande. Well, she’s back, but this time she doesn’t actual steal the show. In fact, she’s the reason this whole story turns out the way it does. See, Sandi, has gotten herself in some very, very deep trouble. And of course, she turns to Ash Carpenter or rather Commander Ashton Carpenter for help!
Now, Commander Carpenter has stayed with the military after the end of the Second Tahni war. It’s been awhile and things have certainly slowed down for this peace time military. Promotions and such aren’t coming very fast and most of the officers are just waiting for retirement. That’s exactly the situation for Ash. But, at least his hobby has kept him busy. He’s purchased, at great personal expense, a surplus cutter which needed quite an extensive refit to make it space-worthy once again. He had been working on it in his spare time and was about ready to take the Acheron on it’s maiden voyage. Then Sandi showed up!
If you remember, Sandi had gone against orders to rescue Ash when he crashed on a Tahni held moon durning their last mission. That act saved Ash’s live and made Ash fell in Sandi’ debt. Unfortunately, she was here to collect on that debt even though she didn’t really want to get Ash involved in her mess. That last mission against orders had resulted in her flight certificate being revoked so she was a pilot with on “legal” way to fly. That resulted in very few jobs until she got a gig with the one of the cartels running guns! Then this one last run didn’t turn out so well and she had to depart very hastily. Now she was asking Ash to give her a loan so she could get out of the entire area so the cartel wouldn’t be always coming for her.
Of course Ash, couldn’t believe that Sandi had been dumb enough to get involved with that kind of trash. Once you got involved with the cartels, you usually didn’t get out unless you were very dead. So, he knew that Sandi would have to go a very long ways away to get the cartel off her back. What Sandi didn’t tell him right away was that she had gotten some very confidential information about one of the cartels illegal gun supply schedules. The wanted that information back and now. They were willing to see her dead to make sure she didn’t get a chance to either sell that info or go to the authorities. She had chosen to run, but Ash was in no condition to loan her anything. So, the did the next best thing and offered to go with her and try to settle things with the cartel.
So now, both Ash and Sandi are back working for the cartel and they have a specific mission that involves picking up some very dangerous missiles from a government supply depot. Apparently, there’s a Fleet Admiral who’s making a fortune by selling military equipment to the cartels and this next weapon system could very well set one of the cartels up as the master of them all. But, Ash and Sandi had no intention of letting these cartel idiots getting their hands on “planet-buster” nuclear missiles. Just how they were going to prevent that is the rest of the story!
I liked the writing as I have of all of Rick Partlow’s books. While this isn’t a strictly military sci-fi book, it does have the same things, missions, and orders and specific things you can and cannot do. Additionally, the female lead didn’t do everything in this story, Ash actually had a lot to do and was there the entire time. He’s not actually the hero type, but he certainly isn’t a coward either. There were some other characters introduced and they all worked out pretty well. I like how the story ends with a connection to future stories that could be pretty good with the new team that will form around Ash and Sandi. I’ll continue reading this series for sure!