This is the kind of science fiction writing that got me into reading science fiction. I have read three Cason Mach Space Operas now and each one was a thrilling ride with weird aliens, fantastic pseudo-science, fighting, being smart-aleck, humorous and just downright fun!
In this story, Carson and his crew aboard the Intrepid are conned into a most dangerous mission by none other than the President Morgan of the Salus Sphere, Now, if you’ve read these books before, Morgan isn’t exactly a best friend of Mach. They did work together while in the Common Wealth Defense Force (CWDF), but Carson left under less than stellar circumstances and Morgan went on to become President of the Salus Sphere. Morgan knows that this mission in which he’s recruited Carson is a one-way mission regardless of how much money Mach and his crew would make. They are going to be working for the Vestans which have some very peculiar and ancient traditions.
It turns out that even knowing about these ancient traditions will be a death sentence on any non-Vestian! So, nothing new in what Caron Mach has to do. He’s supposed to land on a planet (Terminus) that doesn’t exist and find a Vestan Guardian, either his body or him alive, and get back out, although there are plans not to let him ever leave the planet.
The story kind of splits into two different actions with Carson and two of his crew investigating the disappearance of the Vestan Guardian and his ship with Babcock as the temporary Captain of the Intrepid. Both go there separate ways and as usual, both get into lots of trouble. Now you have some great space warfare and some exciting ground fighting in one story; can’t get much better than that.
If you haven’t started reading Carson Mach Space Opera books, then I encourage you to do so. They are well written, well edited and fun to read.