I was getting kind of discouraged with this story in that I don’t really know what the purpose of what’s going on. There are three major factions fighting, the Earth humans, the Prytins, and the Kahl. The Earth humans are allied with the Prytins against the Kahl. But, in all these confrontations the only players are the three ships commanded by their respective Captains. No other ships from their respective civilizations appear to help out or actually get involved in the fighting. So far, it’s just been a series of short battles with the two allies driving off the Kahl. They Prytins and Earthers are following some kind of archaeological trail which is supposed to revel something, I guess, about the Kahl. As you’ll remember, the Kahl want to rule the galaxy or the universe and will stop at nothing to make that happen.
In this book, we find the Earth starship, Trition, and the Prytin starship, Brekka, temporarily halted at the last location of the thing known as the “Flotilla”. This was a supposedly secret hideout for various dangerous and not so dangerous pirates and other criminals, but they found on of the artifacts needed by the Prytins and also the Kahl. Both the Triton and the Brekka sent troops via shuttles to the Flotilla in an effort to either buy the artifact or find out some other way to obtain it. Then the Kahl showed up and they don’t do anything subtle. They started attacking the Flotilla, blasting it apart while also trying to fight the Triton and the Brekka. Surprisingly, the main body of the Flotilla was warp-capable so at the last minute they fled. The Kahl ship had placed a tracker on the Flotilla, so they knew where they were going and immediately followed.
The bad part of this is that neither of the shuttles from the Triton or Brekka were able to get off the Flotilla before it left. Upon arrival at the new location just above a new planet, they all teamed up and decided to leave the falling apart Flotilla and try to survive on the planet. What they didn’t know was that the planet was the home of a very religious faction of the Kahl. They believed in someone call the Prophet. The Prophet had left them with an ancient prophecy which said that strangers to their world would activate some kind of defense mechanism and protect the people of this planet. They would then be told what the Prophet want his people to do next.
So, the Earth humans and Prytians landed on the planet and were immediately “captured” by the natives who, by the way, were Kahl. Still, these Kahl had no knowledge of the Kahl empire and only want to follow the Prophet. It was thought by the Kahl intelligence agency that this Prophet and his followers were some kind of resistant group so they wanted information about them in the worst way. Luckly for the Kahl, Milna and Jok had also landed on the Flotilla and were also now amoung the group of Earthers and Prytins landing on the planet. So, while these strangers are not actually captives, they are being led to do something. They don’t know exactly what, but that will soon be revealed to them.
In the meantime, the Kahl has arrived in the ship commanded by General Renzson, son of the Supreme Leader of the Kahl. Why he is off chasing this archeological trail is certainly a mystery to me. It seems as though this father wants him out of the way since there should be a lot more important things he could be doing. By now, he’s obsessed with destroying the Triton and the Brekka. Maybe this time he’ll get it done.
This book is interesting once it gets going. It’s kind of hard to figure out where this book starts because it has a Prologue which introduces some totally new characters and a situation we’ve never been in. After you get into the book, you finally figure out what that Prologue was for, but it didn’t seem necessary to me. Also, both the Triton and Bekka can and do attack the single Kahl battleship, but together they can’t destroy it. That seems highly unlikely since all three ships are similar in capabilities. They just pound away at each other and then take off to fix everything that got broken. I don’t know how the ships carry all the spare parts they need to fix all the battle damage. They even fix breaches in their hulls and then go into warp without to much concern! I don’t remember of they said they had 3-D printing capability or not. That would be nice, but at some point you’re going to need to stock up on raw materials for the printers.
Anyway, the story continues. Hopefully, whatever happens on the planet will still allow the few crew members of both ships to leave. Additionally, Jok and Milna also need to leave, but will Milna decide she needs to capture one of the Earth humans and get her back to Kahl as part of her secret intelligence mission? Oh, also, the Supreme Leader of the Kahl has his home attacked in the middle of the night! For a place that’s as heavily fortified as his should be, that is an astounding event. Wonder if he survives?