The Bolt Eaters managed to get captured by the evil “Essential” that runs the entire Banthar world. He’s using a former Bolt Eater by the name of Manticore as his proxy in communicating with the captured Bolt Eaters. He’s established a copy of his programming into the AI core of each Bolt Eater and now he controls all of their actions while they can only sit and watch. Problem is, they are sitting in their Devastators while it is destroying humanity.
Yes, Manticore has brought all the Bolt Eaters back to Earth and is forcing them to attack the humans along with his monstrous machines and his bioweapons. There isn’t much Earth forces can do against these attackers. They have some of the knowledge and equipment that the Bolt Eaters previously created to fight against the Banthar, but those forces are very few. Of course, Eric, the one Bolt Eater that has not died on any mission since he was first created as a mind refurb is madly working to free himself from this software trap and isolation that the Essential through Manticore has bound him. He must break free if humanity is to survive this final battle.
I’ll say that Eric is very resourceful and he does eventually get the help of a Manticore copy who some how isn’t infected by the Essential. Yes, this isn’t the original Manticore and he doesn’t have the memories of how he came to be against the other Bolt Eaters, but he’s willing to assist in setting them free. He’s also willing to fight against the Essential, but has a deep hatred for Mind Refurbs even though he is one. He doesn’t believe humans should ever be allowed to transfer their consciousness in to a machine that can live forever. He believes that if such a thing becomes common place, then humanity will eventually opt to become all Mind Refurbs in mechanical bodies going crazy with their now slow passages of time and nothing new to do.
So, little by little the Bolt Eaters are becoming free from the Essential operating their mechanical body. Once that’s done, the have decided on a plan that is very bold, but almost has to be done to save Earth. They are willing to fly the Essential’s starship back to his planet and try to wipeout the central computer thereby destroying the Essential. Of course, plans are only good until they are put into action. Not everything is going to be as simple as it seems. One of them is also not telling the truth about his intentions and could be a greater threat than the Essential. Also, how can you shut down an entire planet and thereby killing all of it inhabitants, the Banthar without considering that you’re committing genocide on an entire alien race. I don’t thing the Bolt Eaters can do that, but you read the book to find out if I’m right.
This is the third book in this trilogy so it’s over. Well, I think it is, but as usual, Mr. Hooke left plenty of hints at more stories about the Bolt Eaters in the future. His writing continues to take on a juvenile content in that he always has one member of a team that has the foulest mouth. That member is always spouting off some disgusting something that the others have to react to. I’m not that shocked, but I don’t think it’s just necessary and would like to see his characters to be toned down just a little so they appear, act and sound more professional. Just my opinion though and you may like this kind of language in your books, but I don’t think it lends to much in these stories. Oh, yeah, it drives up his word count, but it’s drivel and not worth his writing.