This is kind of a continuation to Mr. Dalzelle’s previous series title, “The Black Fleet Trilogy”. I have previously read and reviewed all three of those books and was happy to see this new series come along with all the same characters as in the previous series. Captain Jackson Wolfe is now Admiral Jackson Wolfe something of a hero in that he defeated the last Phage starship which saved the planet Earth from destruction. Since the end of the Phage war, there has been a relative peace, yet humans seem to thrive on conflict and can’t stop from making stuff up if it’s not already coming for them.
The Eastern Star Alliance (ESA) has become unhappy with the way Earth and the other factions are dividing up known space for colonization. They are threatening to take over, by force, if necessary, colonizes that might have become less than enamored with their current home faction. They are not ready to star a full-fledged war unless it can be seen that the United Terran Federation started it. And, they would like none other than Admiral Jackson Wolfe to be the very person to instigate that war. They would hope that he does something which would justify the ESA’s capture and execution of Admiral Wolfe. They strongly feel that his participation in the Phage War greatly reduced the ESA’s potential bounty of having an alliance with the alien Phage. Admiral Wolfe’s defeat of the Phage cutoff a valuable source of new technology that the ESA was counting on so they could directly face the United Terran Federation in future war.
So, the ESA has set a trap for Admiral Wolfe. They know of a colony planet that has some interesting in leaving the Federation and might decide to join the ESA. They send an exceptionally large fleet into that planets system to begin negotiations knowing all along that the Federation will have to send someone or some fleet to counter this ESA incursion. That fleet will be and is commanded by Admiral Jackson Wolfe, just as they had desired.
While the ESA hadn’t gotten all the new tech from the Phage that they would have liked to have received, they did receive some significant stuff. They could now build antimatter bombs and had some very good stealth tech on-board some smaller, highly maneuverable ships. Since antimatter bombs were very lethal, not capital ship would carry them into battle, so they were loaded aboard the new small stealth ships and had them waiting in surprise for Admiral Wolfe as he approached the planet.
Release of an antimatter bomb over a populated planet was not something anyone would ever consider. It had never happen in previous wars and didn’t even happen during the Phage War, but things do not always work out as planned. Just who’s going to be blamed when not one, but three of these bombs are dropped on planet Odmena?