Boy, was the beginning of this book ever depressing! That’s probably an understatement. If you read the last book, then you know Emperor James Somerville and Earth entire fleet has pretty much been destroyed at Shanghai and are now trying to get back to the Solar System to protect Earth. He feels that he has failed which, in some respects, he has. His idea of going out and attacking the Karacknids to see if he could cause them enough trouble to prevent their attack on Earth. His plane didn’t work out very well and now he’s forced to attempt to protect Shanghai against a far superior Karacknid fleet.
While Earth feels pretty good about fielding two, three, or even five hundred starships, the Karacknids don’t seem to believe that anything less than a thousand ships is would producing or using in a battle. Around Shanghai, they have fielded almost five thousand starships with another five thousand potentially available. Admiral Somerville has or had about two thousand ships in total and they were no where near enough. Not only was the attack by the Karacknid fleet devastating, but they landed troops on the surface of Shanghai and capture every major city with lots of Earth Marines dying for a lost planet. General Johnston fought as hard as possible, but there were just too many Karacknids and they has orbital bombardment support. It was hoped that the Karacknids would use the planet for their own purposes after capturing it and not just destroy it completely. So, the million of humans remaining on planet Shanghai are on Emperor Somerville’s mind and conscience as his remaining fleet work their way back to Earth.
Once he does get back to the Solar System, he certainly surprises his wife, Empress Christine! Although she did not want to think it, she had thought he had died during the battles around Shanghai. That he lived was something she was greatful for, but now he tells her that he’s just came back to Earth to die with her and his son, Jonathan! The Karacknids do indeed show up in the Solar System. Earth has decided that it can only protect Earth and Mars and that of those two, Earth has the priority. It doesn’t really matter anyway since they all know they cannot protect either from the Karacknid fleet.
There is a possibility that Empress Christine and Jonathan can escape to join the Varanni Alliance. If they take off immediately, Christine’s personal space yacht could get her and Jonathan out of the Solar System and become part of the Varanni Alliance’s Operation New Hope. This was to be a collection of colony ships built by respective alien civilizations that would then been loaded and sent far, far away from the Karacknid empire. It was hoped that this small group of like-mined beings could re-build their civilizations and eventually return in force to take back all that the Karacknids had stolen. There was a very good possibility that Operation New Hope was soon going to be implemented by the Varanni Headquarters and the humans needed to get whomever was going to their part of space.
So, James and Christine said their goodbye’s once again. He was definitely staying and defending Earth no matter what, while she needed to get gone. Then the Karacknid fleet arrives! It immediately closes off all the warp passages out of the Solar System. It doesn’t appear that anyone is going to get out of this situation! Earth now has only a very few battle worthy ships and no more coming. All of their immediate allies have sent what they could and there are no other ships or assets of any kind anywhere around to stop the Karacknid invasion! Is this the end of the human empire established by Empress Christine and Emperor James Somerville.
I don’t see a mention of Book 13, so that doesn’t seem promising. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. This book was very good in that it really put you in the dumps to read about how badly the humans were doing with the war against the Karacknids. The Karacknid empire is just so vast and their ability to produce new fleets or ships is very overwhelming. Surely there is something that can help the humans?