I’ve only read one other book by this author, M. R. Forbes, and it’s interesting that he uses a bunch of convicts to do his fighting. In “Hell’s Rejects”, a group of criminals breaks out of “Hell” a maximum security prison and eventually start helping the military that put them there. Now, back to this book, we have a war hero, Captain Mitchell “Ares” Williams, running for his life after being framed for something he didn’t do. He runs right into a bunch of, you guessed it, criminals setup on a salvage starship called the “Schism”. But, things are not quite as they appear.
Captain Mitch Williams was leading the good life. A Space Marine fighter pilot who had not only survived the battle for Liberty, but who became the hero of the galaxy when he single-handedly destroyed the Federation behemoth that was attacking the planet Liberty. He’s now touring the galaxy being used as a recruiting tool for the Alliance Navy. And, he’s doing a good job. He’s a handsome fairly young guy, with a natural charm that makes his life interesting when meeting some of the galaxy’s more attractive females. He doesn’t mind the attention although it can be quite taxing at times and he would very much like to just go away for awhile and rest. Yet, there’s no rest for him now or in the future. The Federation knows who he is and they won’t forget what he did. He lets his guard down once and slips his handlers (a PR guy for the Navy) and winds up getting that handler killed and himself almost assassinated.
He understands the assassination attempt. He doesn’t like the idea of being a target, but he’s military so he knows what they are trying to do. Then he gets another handler, but unlike the previous PR guy, this is one mean Major. She now outranks him and she’s not going to cut him any slack. He’s going to do what he’s told and go where he’s told and that’s a fact. Except everything is a lie.
This is a very good, fast paced story. It’s not just about the Alliance and Federation fighting each other, but something else is happening out on the fringes of the galaxy. Earth long ago launched its first FTL ship, the Goliath, which also became the first FTL ship lost forever. No one really knows where it went. Now, it’s up to Captain Williams to find it or Earth and all of humanity might just cease to exist.
I wish writers would find better military consultants when they write military stories. This one got some things right, but then it get confusing later on. We have a ships Captain, who is rightly called Captain by the crew, but she’s actually an Admiral. Now it totally doesn’t make sense why an Admiral would be commanding only a single ship on the fringes of the know galaxy. At best, the Captain of this ship would be a Navy Captain. That would make sense. There there’s the problem with Captain Williams coming aboard. He should have been temporarily promoted to Major so as not to have two Captains running around on one ship. That’s why Marine Captain equivalents in the Navy are called Lieutenants. There’s just one Captain of a ship and it doesn’t really matter what his/her rank is, as long as he/she is on the ship, he/she is addressed as Captain. Going around calling Williams, “Captain”, confuses the hell out of some parts of the book. Ok, that’s my grip for this book.
It is a good start to a really interesting series. I already have the second book, “The End of Liberty” and I just realized that this series already extends out to book 7! Wow! I’ve got a lot of reading to do.