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This series is getting pretty depressing! It seems that the humans of the Solar System are doomed and there’s not much they can do about it. I don’t know if the actual solution to their situation has been already implemented, but there’s no hint of it in these books.

Admiral James Somerville is about to become Emperor Somerville with his wedding to Empress Christine. They had been planning this wedding for some time and were only going to do it when the Empire was fully formed with all the human colonies. That happened once James convinced the New Delhi planet to join the Empire. So, Empress Christine who was already the Empress of China, took the thrown as the Empress of Humanity and married Admiral James Somerville who is now Emperor James Somerville. His first act upon becoming Emperor is to recognize that the entire empire is a risk of being annihilated if the fleet with his allies don’t stop the Karacknids.

He has dispatched Admiral Becket and the Viper along with a small fleet to support what Captain Kansas has started on the far side of the Karacknid’s empire. She is to harass the Karacknids any way possible, destroying supply convoys and other supply installation as she finds them. She is also to continue the attempt to gain new allies against the Karacknids. She initially finds that the Karacknids in this part of their empire have become complacent. They are not nearly as dangerous as the Karacknid battle fleets she has already faced once around Earth. Her fleet is making some progress in disrupting Karacknid activities in this part of their empire, but that empire is so large, she has no idea if it is helping anything in the long term. She has kept Captain Kansas and her ship even though Captain Kansas would have liked to go home and got involved in everything she has missed for the almost year she has been gone. Unfortunately, she’ll have to wait for her return to Earth. Admiral Becket has good use of Captain Kansas and her experience with this area of space. So we get some insight into other things that are going on but whether these other things will have any impact on the threat to Earth is yet to be seen.

Back to the Solar System, Emperor and Admiral Somerville draws up plans to go after the Karacknids. He knows that if he just sits around Earth, the Karacknids will have all the time in the world to build up an impossible to defeat armada and attack Earth when they choose. So, he convinces Empress Christine that his plan must be put into effect and that he must lead this armada to the edges of the Karacknid empire. It seems to be a good plan and with all the ships gathered, they can have some decidedly favorable engagements with the Karacknids on the humans terms. He plans on raiding several systems the Karacknids have already conquered, not to liberate the inhabitants, but to destroy anything and everything that might be useful to the Karacknids. This is something that he is somewhat reluctant to do, but these alien civilizations have become nothing more than slaves to the Karacknids and won’t be that much worse off after he destroys their ability to produce goods for the Karacknids.

Meanwhile, unknown to Admiral Somerville, the Karacknids have finally finished their war on the far side of their empire and are not slowly moving battle-hardened fleets to the frontier with Earth and the Alliance. This is going to be a major problem. The fleet destined to invade the Solar System and attempt to destroy Earth has been placed under the command of High Admiral Tanaka-lang. This is a very competent opponent and what’s even more threatening is that he is bringing a fleet of over 10,000 ships with him. There isn’t a way in heck the humans and all their allies can muster enough ships and equipment to even make a dent in this large of a fleet. Still, Admiral Somerville gathers all his forces to face this large and dangerous Karacknid invasion. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well for the humans and their allies! This could be the end of everything!

As I said earlier, this is getting pretty depressing. The humans have a few positive things that happen here and there, but by and large, they are getting destroyed. They finally have to face a Karacknid invasion fleet which they have absolutely no answer for. They don’t have any allies that they know of who could possibly provide additional ships in time to stop another invasion of Earth. Admiral Somerville will attempt to meet the Karacknids out over New Shanghai in the New Shanghai System. If he fails here, the Earth is all that’s left.

Pretty good read, but I take exception to one particular incident that happened during the book. An assassination attempt is made against Empress Christine which you’ll read about. That attempt wasn’t totally successful, but it was followed up by another attempt later. Fortunately, Lieutenant General Johnston, a long-time friend of James Somerville, was placed in charge of protecting Christine and others while James was away with the fleet. This he takes as a personal duty to his now Emperor. He manages to capture on of the terrorist in the act and forces her to reveal the location of another terrorist team who are in the same attempt to kill Empress Christine. General Johnston isn’t easy on this captive in forcing the information he needed out of her. While his actions were brutal, they did result in him finding an killing (he personally) the second and final terrorist. Empress Christine goes into a rage when she finds out what actions Johnston took to force the information he needed from a captured spy. She says that he had no right to treat a citizen of the Empire in such terrible manner! She demotes him to Colonel and sends him to New Shanghai to train new Marines! In my opinion, this was wrong, totally! The person General Johnston tortured was not a “citizen of the Empire” because they had renounced their citizenship when they became terrorist. To treat someone they way she did after he saved her life is totally wrong and should never have happened. He did what he had to do in a time of war to protect the Empire. What more can you ask of someone? Anyway, I felt so strongly about this so I had to write it in my review.

Looks like book 12, “Last Stand”, available on Amazon. I have it on my reading list although I’ll probably take a break from reading this series for a while.

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