Rating:

5 Small Stars
Cauldron of Fire
834

This is a very long book. It could have easily been broken into two separate books, but it begins a story and ends it in this single volume which is typical of the previous books in this series.

Tyler Barron and the Dauntless are deep in Alliance territory having formed an alliance with the new (Grey) Imperator Tarkus Vennius. They are preparing to attack a Red Alliance supply convoy which they have been doing for some time. These attacks are slightly annoying the Red Alliance, but the Grey Alliance doesn’t have enough resources to effectively mount an aggressive offense. Now, there appears to be a traitor within the Grey Alliance higher command. They are being attacked with more forces than would be expected for a routine supply convoy escort.

One of the major differences in the Red Alliance Forces is the presence of a new character, Jovi Grachus, an extradorinaiy fighter pilot who has a major grudge attitude toward Tyler Barron and the Dauntless. Jovi was the best friend of Commander-Altum Katrine Rigellus. They have lived, played and grew up together on the Rigellus’ estate since they were very small children. The loss of her best friend Kat was very hard on Jovi. She was not able to accompany her friend and the Vindictus when they were sent to test the Confederation. But, now she has made a vow to avenge the death of her friend and all those involved. She knows that Captain Tyler Barron and the Dauntless defeated Kat, but she assumes something was done that gave the Dauntless an unfair advantage because Kat and her ship were just too good. She also believed that Tarkus Vennius had ordered Kat on the ill-fated mission without proper support. We know that it was the Council and the Imperatrix herself that made those orders without any input from Commander-Maximus Vennius.

So, now we have a vengeful hot-shot pilot out to make those responsible for Kats death pay and pay dearly. Her attack squadron is causing havoc with the Grey fighter squadrons. Kyle “Thunder” Jamison and Jake “Raptor” Stockton noticed this vastly improved Red squadron almost immediately. Unfortunately, the battle did not allow for a concentrated attack on that Red squadron so she was able to escape that first encounter. Little did they know that the false Imperator, Calavius, also notices Jovi’s talents and promotes her to lead the entire Red Alliance fighter wing.

So, this book kind of has two stories going on at the same time. One is the background story of how will the Grey Alliance defeat the Red Alliance given that the former has so few assets. Even with the addition of a few more Confederation super-battleships, things still won’t go well for the Greys if they can’t come up with some kind of wild plan.

The second story is about the fighter pilots. Without giving away the story, the Grey Alliance and specifically Dauntless’s veteran fighter pilots are in extreme danger.

So, while all this is going on, the Confederation is still fighting a war with the Union. They have both been on the defense, but the Confederation Senate now wants action and has order Admiral Striker to attack. He obviously doesn’t believe his forces are enough to make a successful attack, but orders are orders. Unfortunately, the Union has been out in the Badlands and found something that might just tip the balance of power in the war.

So, how does all of this end. Well, you’ll read how the Confederation and Alliance end up, but the Confederation and Union are still at war and will continue to be for quite some time or if the Union does in fact, have a dangerous new weapon, that war might be over very soon also!

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