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This is a new author to me and a new series. Both I will continue to read because this book was absolutely fantastic! I’ll admit that I’m not always in for books that have a female leading character, but this book has one that I’d be proud to serve under although she does scare me somewhat! Tanis Richards, Major, Military Intelligence and CounterInsurgency, Terran Security Forces, is our lead character. She is hard nosed, no nonsense, and very good at doing her job which she had done for quite some time. Apparently, in this far future, age is something of a misnomer since life extensions have caused humans to live far longer than in the 21st Century. Tanis is about 72 and has put in nearly 50 years of service. That’s a long, long time no matter who’s counting. And she has been counting and has come to the conclusion that she’s finally tired of the work. She’s definitely not a desk jockey so she has been in lots of action and managed to stay alive so far, but she feels it’s time to move on.

So, she has volunteered for a slot on the soon to be launched GSS (Generational Space Service) Intrepid. This is a starship like none other. It is huge, over thirty kilometers (or 18.6 miles) in length and has some huge new engines based on a new, experimental design. The ship is designed to take its passengers far, far from the Solar System, but it is also unconventional in that it’s designed to come back empty. The two huge habitation modules will be detached at their destination and form the nucleus of an orbiting space station ready for the colonist to debark and settle on the new planet. For the trip, the passengers will be in stasis (asleep) including Major Richards.

Major Richards didn’t volunteer just to be a passenger. No, she’s the ships Chief of Security and the job starts the moment she gets her orders. There are a number of groups that don’t believe humans should be expanding out beyond the Solar System. Most of these groups make their views knowns via loud and boisterous protests, but a few can be considered dangerous. That’s where this book really shines. The action starts before Major Richards even gets to the Intrepid. She’s aboard another starship docking to the Mars orbiting station when she hears explosions on the docks and people screaming as they run from the area. Tanis springs into action and eventually has to stop some terrorist from detonating a nuclear device blowing the station and all the ships attached to kingdom come!

This is what I liked about this book. The action is non-stop, but it’s not contrived or unrealistic in why or where it’s happening. Now, there are times where Major Richards takes some unnecessary chances to attempt to catch the bad guys, but she definitely isn’t one to sit in an office or even an operations center if there’s something that needs to be done. She got a lot of help from a number of other characters you’ll meet. Most all of these additional characters are military, but the military rank structure is screwed up to say the least. The author tries to explain this, but it just adds more stupid acronymous which you have to struggle through in the entire book.

You’ll also get the idea that something recently happened to Major Tanis Richard that has somewhat tainted her past. She was once a Lieutenant Colonel. It’s highly unusual for an Officer to get busted down a rank and still be in uniform. There’s hints about some kind of secret mission she recently accomplished and got a rather frightening nickname as the “Butcher of Toro”. I hope there’s a book on that story because I’d be interested in reading it. Oh, and just so you know, once the Intrepid leaves the Solar System, she and all the other military aboard won’t be part of Earths military. They’ll be commanded by an Admiral and a ship’s Captain and that’s it. She could even become a civilian if that what she wants.

All of that future will be covered in the next book, “A Path into Darkness”, which I have already acquired from Amazon. I’ll be reading this one and all the rest of the books in this series. The author tells and excellent story, has great editing and keeps you wanting more. The only, only downside is the cover art. It’s kind of cartoonish and probably could be toned down a bit. Just my opinion.

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