Rating:

5 Small Stars
Embers of War

It’s been a few months since I was reading this series. It ended with the Earth in pretty big trouble from an alien species called the Naga. These creatures were an advanced war-fighting civilization that we first encountered in the starship Satori’s initial ventures into space. We’ve seen some crew members of the Satori captured by the Naga, although in one instance, it turned out pretty well. Dan was the original pilot of the Satori while being confined to a wheelchair. During his capture by the Naga, he was subjected to some pretty intense torture as well as incredible pleasures. The device they used on him was also healing his broken spine to the point that he has now gained the complete use of his legs.

Dan is now the Captain of the Independence, the Earth’s second starship after the Satori. It is a captured Naga battle-cruiser that has been heavily modified by humans. His ship is just now finishing readiness tests and appears to be ready for the mission. He soon gets one resulting from a surprising quantum call from Naga Command telling Gaurl, the former Naga vessel, Captain, to report on and head back to the home planet. Before replying, Dan contacts General Hereford and asks him what he should say in return. After consulting with the President, they tell Dan he should try and negotiate a peaceful approach to friendly relations with the Naga. They want him to offer to return the Naga battle-cruiser and the Naga prisoners they are holding. Dan doesn’t think the “peaceful” approach is going to work because he knows the Naga only act from a position of strength. So he fashions his response in that manner. This results in his mission to the Naga homeworld to return the Naga prisoners, but not the warship.

In the meantime, the Satori, commanded by Beth, has been assigned their own mission. Now that Earth has been to deep space via the Satori, they’ve found that it’s not a friendly environment. So, they feel that they must setup a colony somewhere to preserve humanity. With Earth not having much of a defense right now, one serious attack by the Naga, could wipeout all humanity. The Satori has been ordered to take a colony group plus all their equipment and land them on Dust! That is the original planet the Satori visited and found to be extremely hostile. It is a desert planet made that way by the Naga. The Naga had engineered a creature called the “ratzards” whose blood was just a viral as their bite. Once their blood came in contact with water, it turned the water into some kind of oily sludge. That sludge now had contaminated all the water on Dust which therefore resulted in a desert and desolate planet.

Yet, Earth Command wanted to build a colony there of all places. They believed a colony situated deep in one of the tunnels could survive and keep humanity alive while they developed the planet. The crew of the Satori had already placed an anti-agent in the sludge oceans that appears to be working. Upon arriving back over Dust, the Satori finds that about 30% of the planets oceans are now water instead of the sludge. The anti-agent is eating and destroying the viral containment allowing clouds to be formed and some actual green vegetation to grow. Still, the tunnel that has been identified for the colony was the same tunnel that was infested with giant centipede-like creatures, both young and old. These creatures are very tough, strong and very hard to kill. So, it’s going to be a big problem to clean out this tunnel if they have moved back into their old nesting grounds.

So, both ships are off on their respective mission seemingly in different parts of the galaxy. But, nothing seems to be surprising in this book. There is another alien species roaming the same space as both the humans and Naga. These creatures are unknown to either group, but they are known to be enemies of the Naga. It is believed that the Satori was built by this species a long time ago. {This seems kind of far fetched since the Satori was easily converted to a human occupied starship given what these mysterious aliens turn out to be.} It is also soon found out that these new aliens don’t like anyone and after wiping out the Naga, are going to do the same to Earth and humanity.

Very exciting book with lots of fighting. It gets kind of depressing since every time Earth sends a starship on a mission, it’s found almost never up to the task. We’re always lacking in advanced technology and have no clue as to what is going on in the galaxy as a whole. This story isn’t over so you need to keep reading this book to understand what comes next.