I was hoping this would be a new great series, but I had never read this author so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, let me clearly state that this was a wonderful start to a new series. I don’t think there is anything more science fiction that traveling to the stars in search of a new home for humanity. I’ve read numerous books on that theme and they most all are very good. This one falls in to the very good, if not great category! The story is about humanity spreading out beyond our solar system. We have developed space travel and are populating our nearby planets with humans who very much need to leave Earth so it can recover. Earth isn’t devastated, but after the war in 2040, there’s a lot of rebuilding required. Fortunately, the governments of Earth have come together to explore space and have even set it off-limits to war-fighting and conquest. Each country has pledged to share in their space discoveries and so far that is going well.
Now humanity is on the threshold of going to another star system, Alpha Centauri. What they discover there was to be shared among the member nations, except the Republic threw a monkey wrench into that deal. After the war of 2040, most of North America joined together to form the Republic. This was to offset the Asian Alliance saw China, India, Japan, the Koreas, and the rest of Southeast Asia forming the Asian Alliance. In Europe, Russia and most all the European countries joined to form the Greater European Union (GEU). Great Britain was the exception. They broke with Europe and joined the Republic. and finally, the African Union came into being and that shaped up the geo/political system in the World War III in 2050. All these nations had been part of the Space Exploration Treaty (SET) for 20 years until just now. The treat was up for renewal and the Republic was set to sign the new treaty until one of our probes returned.
It had been sent out in an entirely different direction than Alpha Centauri, but what it came back with was stunning. The probe had found a new solar system with not only one, but two habitable planets. One of them specifically was barely larger than Earth and all the atmospheric readings said that this planet was almost and exact copy of Earth. Humanity had found a new home! Then further analysis of photos showed clear and unmistakable evidence of some kind of intelligent life. They had photos of mines actually being worked by some kind of intelligent beings so while the planet wasn’t uninhabited, it certainly wasn’t fully populated. The Republic decided that they needed to redirect their current efforts for the Alpha Centauri mission to this new one. They wanted to go to New Eden and claim it for the Republic. This would definitely mean the Republic would not renew the upcoming SET agreement. Whether that was a wise move or not, is yet to be seen.
The ships destined for Alpha Centauri have a new mission. The Rook and the Voyager had been designated for this mission and now it was going to involve an entirely new set of circumstances. They were going out with a first contact team to see if they could actually establish some kind of relationship with an alien civilization. They had no idea what they were getting into. This is an exciting story!
This book is well written. It reads very smoothly and continues along at a brisk pace. There does seem to be some filler material as concerns the pirate activities in the solar system, but that doesn’t seem to be a major part of the story, yet a few chapters are devoted to this thread at the beginning and towards the end. I’m not sure why the pirate stuff was even added, but it’s there and while it doesn’t distract from the main story, it’s doesn’t appear a necessary part of the entire book. You’ll also figure out that the first few initial characters you read about don’t live very long! Eventually, you read about the crews of the first two exploration ships, the Rook and the Voyager. This where the excitement begins. The book also stops at the right place; it leaves you wanting more and fortunately, all four books in this series are available on Amazon. I immediately got book two, “Into the Battle” and I know it will be as exciting as this first book. Excellent science fiction reading!