Warning! This book is very dark. If you’ve ever suffered from PTSD, you might want to consider reading something else. Still, I had a mild case, if there is such a thing, of PTSD after my Vietnam War experiences and I got through the book pretty well. It does bring back some memories I would have preferred to forget. But, then again, if you have had no such experiences, then this book might be very appealing to you because it follows right behind the privous book in the series, “Earth Rising”.
We get to keep reading about all our former main characters, Captain Enavi Ben-Ari, Marco Emery, Lialani and Addy, although they have all gone their separate ways. As you’ll recall, the humans have defeated the scum. They destroyed the emperor himself in that cave on Abaddon. They were all war heroes! Now, their five year enlistments are up and they are looking forward to becoming civilians and going home; back to the Earth they almost died to defend. But, things have changed in five years; changed for the worse. Humans, in my opinion, tend to scare easy and when they do, they become very stupid. All the brave ones that fought to save Earth from the scum went to war leaving the scared, afraid, and cowards back home. Now, they are waiting for the return of all those war veterans and they start to turn ugly. It’s unfortunate that Marco and Addy have to return to this kind of situation. They are not viewed as war heroes, but now they are viewed a war criminals who exterminated an entire alien race. It doesn’t matter that this alien race killed over a billion humans. That’s how stupid people thing.
Also, and I don’t know how anyone could stand for this, the Home Defense Force (HDF) doesn’t pay it’s troops! That’s pretty stupid right there. Remember, that all eighteen year olds have to “volunteer” for the HDF or spend their five years in prison. So, Marco, Addy and Lialani are dumped back on Earth with no money, no jobs and no where to live. Their expected to return to their original homes, but that’s not going to happen. What comes next for our trio is heartbreaking all through the book. And not just for these three.
Captain Einav Ben-Ari has found something totally unexpected while on a rescue mission in the new DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ). A human signal is calling out for help and she and her crew of the HDFS Saint Brendan have gone to investigate. She finds something more terrible than the scum. Something she can’t believe exists. Then, after barely escaping a very intelligent trap, she reports back to her superior, Admiral Komagata. To her shock, he already knows about this enemy in the deep dark. The rest of the story gets much, much worse. “Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet vellum.” — Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus (“Let him who desires peace, prepare for war.”)
I’ll have to read the next book, because there has to be some kind of better ending for humanity than what was left in this book.