Mr. Weil is one of my very favorite military science fiction authors. He is a prolific writer. I don’t know how many books he’s written, but there is a lot. And they all are well written stories with great characters and interesting plots.
In this book, Earth has finally found out that it’s not all fun and games in the universe. For some reason, Earth has explored the stars to the extent they have colonized another planet almost like Earth. While that planet, Newton, has only about six million Earth transplants, it’s growing daily and will very soon become self sufficient. Earth, meanwhile, is sending out other exploration ships with “happy faces” on them (not really), telling anyone in the universe who will listen that we are here, come visit us! So very naive!
Well, our stupidity bites us in the backside very quickly. The Profiteers arrive and they are not the nice little green men we were expecting. They viciously attack and destroy all of the Earth’s space defense fleet with little trouble. Then they begin dropping nuclear weapons on some of our larger cities, like Washington, D.C., Chicago and a number of foreign capitals. That was just the beginning. Then the Profiteers, led by High Profiteer Creed, demand Earth turn over all its precious metals, especially gold, and other jewels and gems as tribute to their new Masters. The Profiteers were also going to send shuttles to Earth to start rounding up healthy young women and men for the slave markets in Kubitz.
The Profiteers turn out to be your normal run of the mill space pirates that just happen to have found Earth in the far distant backwaters of the universe. They make a living by finding defenseless planets or spaceships and attacking them for their gold and other valuables. They then turn them into credits on the planet Kubitz which happens to be in the middle of a large Empire devoted solely to commerce, legal or illegal.
Earth has quite a lot of growing up to do if it survives this first alien encounter. Fortunately, Admiral Kurt Vickers had a small fleet conducting military exercises around the colony planet Newton. He finds out about the devastating attack on Earth and gathers his meager forces to go find out what they can do to help Earth, if anything. They know they will be outgunned and out shipped from initial reports. He cannot risk getting his fleet destroyed, so he must be very careful if he engages the Profiteers in battle. From that point on, it’s up to Admiral Vickers to figure out how to save Earth from total destruction. He and his ship, the Star Cross, must become educated in the ways of the real universe, and do so, very, very quickly.
I liked this story because it was so simple and straightforward. Most everything that happened, happened like it should with very little unexpected successes or failures. In some books, just when you think the good guys are going to get away with something, some calamity happens to cause a setback. Not so in this book. Admiral Vickers has a plan and he makes it happen. Oh, he does get attacked and he does lose ships and men, but not to the point of completely shutting down all hope for Earth. It’s a good story to read. One of the most amazing things I like about this book is that all the character names are pronounceable. I mean, even the aliens have understandable and pronounceable names. That makes for a quicker reading book in my opinion. I wish more authors would understand that names don’t have to have all be alien all the time.
I think you’ll like this book and I believe this may be just the beginning of a great series. I really hope so.