In the previous book (“Mutineer”), we started getting into some of the idiotic political games being played on Earth. While Vice Admiral James Somerville and his Outer Defense Fleet had taken off to meet with the Varanni and find out about their Trade Alliance with twelve other civilizations, the UN Interplanetary Committee was meeting to declare James and his cohorts mutineers and traitors to the cause! This was pure politics. The current most aggressive UN representative on the Interplanetary Committee was Representative Jalesh Kapoor from India. She obviously had a grudge against James and was pushing an agenda to get him discredited for everything he has done so far. The fact that he is the greatest Naval Admiral Earth has in this modern era doesn’t phase her; she wants to tear him down for her own personal reasons.
James Somerville has heard he was branded before he even left Earth. Now on his way back to human territory, he was determined to go to Earth and get this matter settled. Meanwhile, his wife, Suzanna had manage to get a letter to James telling him that he couldn’t go to Earth because he would be immediately arrested and imprisoned without trial if the UN Interplanetary Committee got their way. James finally comes to realize that his wife is right, he needs to stay away from Earth, but still get his information disseminated as widely as possible. With Suzanna’s help, he begins to form a team of Earth dignitaries who are powerful in their own right, but not as powerful as the Interplanetary Committee. They have pledged to get James’ information out to the public so they can be aware of the coming danger that the Karacknids represent.
Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Somerville takes the Outer Defense Force to a hidden military shipyard that once was own and operated in secret by the Havenites. It’s a perfect location for him to build and enhance the few ships he has with Varanni and other technology he obtain while visiting and fighting along side those civilizations. Given enough time, James feels that he could put together a decent fighting force, but unless Earth and the UN start building more ships and using the tech info his has given them, the Earth is doomed. Some day soon, the Karacknids will either defeat the Varanni and come for Earth or they will come straight to Earth and wipe his civilization out of existence. As it stands now, the humans don’t stand a chance.
Wading through the first part of this book is pretty tiresome. There’s a lot of political ramblings going on. The UN Interplanetary Committee is way to powerful and even the Admirals that sit on this committee and the Military Tribunal have no backbone whatsoever! They bow to the dictates of Representative Kapoor as if she were the Queen of Earth! That was pretty much the first half of this book.
Finally towards about the mid-point something happens that is really unexpected. A major character in this book is killed off! I wasn’t expecting this to happen, but it did and now everyone has to carry on. Vice Admiral James Somerville doesn’t let the death of this character kill off his spirit after he gets a very straight and truthful taking to by his second in command, Rear Admiral Gupta. Then the exciting part of the book happens. We’re carried all the way to the point where the Karacknid fleet has actually entered the Solar System. With every ship the Earth has gathered together, they still won’t have enough to defeat this new enemy. Even if Vice Admiral Somerville and his enhanced ships get to Earth in time, it still might not be enough.
If Earth survives, something has to be done to get Earth organized for a much greater battle later on. The UN politics have to stop and some new organization has to be put in place. I wonder what it will look like? Former Prime Minister Fairfax of the British Star Kingdom has an idea of what this new system should look like, but he’ll have to survive this coming battle with the Karacknids for his idea to even get a chance.
Great book if you don’t mind slogging through the first half which is pretty dull and boring compared to the rest of the book. I’m definitely looking forward to book 9, “Empire’s Birth”.