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“The Expanse”


5 Small Stars
The Expanse

Another excellent story by Mr. Brown. I’ve read every one of his episodes in the Frontiers Saga and it keeps getting better all the time. While the story line started out as a little far fetched and had some of his very young characters performing far above their normal capabilities, I am now getting pretty comfortable with everything that’s going on.

As you remember, the UES Aurora was only on a highly classified mission to test a new “jump drive” that would provide the Earth with a significant advantage against a future enemy, the Jung! While the Jung had not attacked the Solar System yet, they were known to have been in the area and were thought to just be massing their armada for such an attack. If Aurora had a successful test, then they would return to Earth and every Earth Defense Force ship would be retro fitted with this new “jump drive”.

The jump drive allows a starship to actually jump from one place to another over vast distances, light-years, in the blink of an eye. Even the scientist and his daughter that build this prototype didn’t know completely how it worked. Aurora was crewed by a normal contingency although most of her crew were green, fresh out of the Academy or from another starship. Capt Roberts was planning to use this mission to break-in his new crew.

Unfortunately, the Jung must have found out about the classified mission. When the UES Aurora made it’s first historical jump for about three light-years, they found two Jung starships waiting for them. During the ensuing action and to avoid capture of his ship, Captain Roberts began immediately attacking the two Jung vessels. After destroying the first one, he began his attack on the second. The two ships closed unexpectedly with one launching a nuclear tipped missile. In order to avoid that threat, the Aurora initiated a jump.

That jump occurred at the exact time of the nuclear denotation! Upon recovering from the jump, the Aurora found itself in the middle of another major battle against a huge ship with several other small ships all around it. Apparently, the smaller ships were attacking the larger shipping but they were not very successful. The Aurora was fired on and immediately began returning fire.

Ok, that’s enough back ground. Suffice it to say, the Aurora was not any where near Earth but in a totally new and deadly galaxy. Most of her crew had been killed including most all of her senior officers including Captain Roberts. A very young and totally green Lieutenant had to take over and became the defacto Captain. His orders from the dying Captain Roberts was to get the Aurora back to Earth at all cost.

You will need to read the previous six books to find out how the Aurora survived four months in a hostile environment with very little help. Performing miracles became the norm for this patched together crew.

But, they did survive and now they are headed back to Earth. This book tells about that trip home. With the jump drive very much proven and improved, it should take about three to four weeks to jump back to the Solar System. What happens along he way is pretty boring except for the exciting parts. The Earth crew has their minds on what will happen to them once they return to Earth. The new captain, Captain Scott, is eager to get out from under the burden of command. He feels that he’s not really qualified for this job and hasn’t done a very good job. He doesn’t know if he’ll be courtmarshaled or just kicked out of the service.

But you, the reader, should know that getting back to Earth would have to be the end of the story, right! Well, I’ll tell you they do get back but the story doesn’t end here. The crew of the Aurora has more fighting to do!

A great addition to this series. Highly recommended. This book was very well written and edited.

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