A very complicated book. Not really my kind of book although there is some military involvement, this is more a tale of political intrigue and wealthy families fighting against each other. You have a tendency, or at least I did, to get lost in the first part of the book. This is where you meet all the characters and there are a lot. You kind of focus on a 19 year old kid who doesn’t seem to act 19 much, and read what happens to him while he has no control over anything. His name is Preston Hopkins which is shortened to Hop! I can’t think of any 19 year old that would be want to be called “Hop”.
There there are the very wealthy families who have set up mega-corporations to manage their holdings. Most are in to mining the asteroid belt and any thing else in the Solar System. The immediate families are dysfunctional beyond imagination, well not beyond someone’s imagination. None of the “old ones” seem sane and I can tell none of their spoiled children are sane. One corporate family feels that one of his mines was sabotaged on purpose and he wants revenge. So, he’s bent on becoming the “Emperor of the Outer Solar System”! Ganymede is where the initial attack by the Stolz Corporation takes place. Many of our characters are on Ganymede, but they all manage to escape and flee to a United Federation battleship which just arrived in the area for this exact purpose although the Captain of the Freya did not intend for his arrival to coincide withe the attack. Still, he is in position to rescue some very important people and then get them safely out of harms way for awhile.
From there on the book is mostly about the interactions of these very rich and spoiled people. There are a few that are not so bad, but most of them are pretty stupid and could not care for anyone but themselves. They have probably lost everything, but the shock of that fact has not actually hit them yet. We also have AIs (Artificial Intelligence) entities that appear to be sentient! These Level 2 AIs can occupy human bodies called a blank and can exist as humans with very little means of detecting them as AIs for a long time. Then there are the Legacy AIs which were built by man and remain on the low end of the pecking order for AIs and even humans. Overall this is the Network. This is throughout the galaxy and is actually managed by the Network Administrator who is a sentient AI at the central core of the Network wherever that is.
The AIs do not want to see harm come to the humans. They do understand that humans are flawed and they vigorously avoid taking sides in human aggressive behavior to other humans. But, everything in the Solar System flows through the Network AI Hub. He sees and hears everything. He knows that the humans are once again fighting against each other, but he is also aware that he has been contacted by another artificial intelligent from outside the solar system. This would be mankinds first alien encounter, except it didn’t contact mankind. It contacted the Network Administrator and asked if it could study our solar system. For what purpose, no one knows at this point and the alien AI is being very, very vague.
The book was interesting all except the homosexual scenes. I don’t like reading that kind of story line and it appears that one of the two parties involved has been killed, but I won’t read any more of these books due to the inclusion of such acts. It’s just not necessary and not to my liking. As a reader, I have the right to choose what I want to read and I have chosen not to read any more of this series. You make you own decision, but before warned, there are objectionable sex scenes in this book.