New author to me and a new series, but one that I’m a little disappointed in. This story should have been written with a 16th or 17th Century setting. I think the author could have done everything he did with the Starship Gilead while it plowed through the oceans fighting bad guys and an occasional pirate. There’s even one statement made by a traveling bard who’s fearful for his life that goes like this, “He didn’t know what was happening, but he intended to be ready to get the hell off this ship if she started taking on water.”* Taking on water isn’t going to happen in deep space.
This ship is also a relic to old kingdoms where the King’s sons were in-line for the throne just because they were his sons. That normally isn’t the way a naval ship operates so it doesn’t really fit in a starship setting. The current Captain of the Gilead is Windham Manthus. He’s been the Captain for some time now having taken over from his father, Elred Manthus (I’m assuming this is Windham’s Father, but it have been his Grandfather). He has lost his wife a few years ago to something called the “Wasting” disease, which in this day and age of starship exploration shouldn’t have been a thing to die from. Again, if this had been in the 16th or 17th Century, death by an incurable disease wouldn’t be surprising.
Captain Manthus does have son and that’s a big problem. His son is just now old enough to think he knows everything and believes he’s entitled to the respect of being the “heir of Gilead” just because he is. In truth, Jeremy Manthus was an undisciplined teenager who thought he was better than anyone else on the ship just because of who his father was. He almost demanded the same respect given his father although Jeremy certainly hadn’t earned it like his father. The boy was trouble and Captain Manthus knew it but he was at a loss about what to do about his son.
There is also a daughter to the Captain named Adrienne. She’s about 17 so older than Jeremy, but again, in this day and age, she’s not considered an equal to men! Her lot in life is to be available when the time comes for the Gilead to need allies in strengthening it’s dominance over a specific part of space. The Gilead was one of the largest spaceships in existence and as such had set itself up as a protectorate over several planets. The people on these planets had little choice since they definitely couldn’t fight a starship from the ground and they had no space navies of their own. So, they gave supplies and other support to the starship Gilead in payment for protection. If the Gilead ever needed additional support, then the ship’s Captain planned to offer his daughter, Adrienne, to the other ship’s Captain as a wife in order to ensure a bond between the two ships. This apparently was the practice in this day and age which is really way behind what you would have thought an advanced civilization would be treating women. As far as I can tell, there are no women serving as crew members aboard the starship Gilead nor of any other starship!
So, any way, this story is about the Gilead trying to protect multiple planets and doing so against an occasional pirate attack until an old, very old enemy comes back. This enemy was thought to have died almost three hundred years ago, but he and his ship appear during a massive explosion that rents a black hole in space. Through this hole appears the starship Babylon! It was a sister ship of the Gilead, but some how it had been restored to its original fighting condition while the Gilead was showing a lot of wear and tear. The Babylon also wasn’t friendly. Aboard her were the former President of the United Planetary Federation who had named himself Emperor Kokabiel which had kicked off the Galactic Civil War. He was now back and intended to re-establish his Empire once again.
Again, this story should have been written for the 16th or 17th centuries. It would have made since during that time period with ships sailing around cannons blazing in broadsides and boarding parties ready to jump across to the other ship. I’m not interested in this type of story so I’ll probably be dropping this series now.
* Graves, John. Relics of Utopia (Starship Gilead Book 1) (p. 150). Aethon Books. Kindle Edition.