While this book is supposed to be about the Grub Wars, it’s really a political treaty about the relationship between the UAM (United Assembly of Man) which once included the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood have withdrawn from UAM since they don’t believe it’s conceivable to ally themselves with the Kelthso and do not believe the Grubs are a threat if left alone. The Brotherhood have fought the Kelthso in the Gladiatorial events for the last 100 years. They are the enemy and nothing can seem to change their thinking that allows them to now ally with them. They would be just fine if the Grubs were to wipeout the Kelthso.
Yet, the Grubs now know about humanity. No one knows how intelligent the Grubs are or what their purpose is in invading Kelthso space and attempting to take over Kelthso planets. The Brotherhood wants to blame the Federation for attracting attention to humanity. They are trying their best to ignore the Grubs.
This isn’t going to work for a couple of reasons. First, the Grubs have found the Brotherhood on planet Destiny. How they did this is unknown, but they did attack Purgamentuim and somehow learned of the location for Destiny. Second, the Kelthso have this honor system where they consider the Federation and the Brotherhood as honorable warriors until the Brotherhood withdrew from the Alliance. Now they see the Brotherhood as without honor which must be restored. They way the Kelthso see as restoring that honor is by attacking the Brotherhood with everything they have. And, considering that the Kelthso have the tech to cancel humans weapon systems, that’s a fight the Brotherhood can’t afford while being attacked by the Grubs at the same time.
So, a xenobiologist by the name of Skylar Ybarra is trying to understand the Kelthso honor protocols. She can barely understand their native language while the Kelthso speak very good English, but they have a tendency to be very direct and not provide much in the way of explanations as to what they actually mean. She must find a way of satisfying the Kelthso honor system at the same time getting the Brotherhood back into the original alliance. One thing she does know is that if the Kelthso do attack the Brotherhood, the Federation will have to assist them simply because they are humans.
So we don’t see a lot of Grub fighting until late in the story. Our Marines are still there, but they have to contend with an attack by a Brotherhood destroyer upon a commercial freighter carrying a Marine detachment. That attack almost starts a war between the Federation and the Brotherhood, but cooler heads prevailed. Right after that our Marines were called on to protect the Brotherhood planet Destiny from a new Grub offensive.
The story isn’t near as confusing as I’m probably making it, but there are several storylines going on at the same time. There’s still no real credible weapons for the Marines to use against the Grubs and that’s surprising. The Marines are using some kind of spear with an electrical charge that has to be physically jabbed into the Grub to do any damage. And there has been nothing about why the Grubs are attacking humanity or ever where they come from. It seems like humanity needs to know more about the Grubs and at least try to capture on if at all possible.
So, I’ve enjoyed the story so far even with the main character going by the name of “Hondo”. That sounds so made-up (which it is) and the fact that the enemy is a bunch of grubs is kind of hard to imagine. Still, I’ll read the next book when it comes out.