This story is really taking off on a strange tangent. I’m not exactly sure where it will wind up but it certainly has changed from what I thought it was going to be about. Jack Rhodes is a human that was adducted by aliens along with his 11 year old daughter. They eventually found themselves saved by the Black Company, mercenary company, in a galaxy that Earth knew nothing about. The Imperium was what controlled the galaxy and as long as you didn’t mess with the Imperium directly, you were fine to do as you pleased. Even setting yourself up as a Warlord and attacking other planets was a concern of the Imperium as long as the planets or citizens you were messing with weren’t Imperium. So Earth was easy pickin’s for alien and even AIs of all kinds until the Black Company stepped in.
The Black Company made it a habit of rescuing humans whenever and wherever they could. They rescued Jack and his daughter and Jack evenutally became a Black Company member. He did well after his body was give enhancements and his implant was inserted in his brain. None of this was unusual in the existing galaxy. People were enhanced all the time and humans took to it well. It even extend their life a great number of years. Jack and the Black Company were doing their thing, i.e., taking jobs from other warlords and getting paid. They even once in a while did some work for the Imperium when they didn’t want it known the Imperium was involved.
One of the major efforts undertaken by the Black Company was to find out if the Raeth were involved with Earth. They were, so Black Company, at the request of the Imperium, eradicated the Raeth presence on the planet. They then informed Earth that there was a larger galaxy they needed to be aware of and eventually signed a contract to protect Earth. The Imperium then stepped in a also started providing Earth defenses in order to stop the Raeth from annexing the Solar System. Now the Black Company wants to ensure that all the civilizations in the galaxy understands that Earth will no longer be feeding grounds and their citizens no longer use for slave labor. Any humans found in slavery anywhere in the galaxy will be freed by the Black Company if they found them. That’s what they are about right now.
Jack Rhodes was made an officer in the Black Company based on his Marine experience. He is quite capable of defending himself and in so doing killed several Imperium soldiers when he was first abducted. The Imperium didn’t like that and sentenced him to twenty years of death! Fortunately, it wasn’t permanent death, so after twenty years he was revived by his now grown daughter. She had been busy getting her medical degree and was now a licensed Imperium doctor. Jack had some trouble understanding that when he last saw her, she was 11, and now she’s 21 and an adult. His daughter’s fiancè, an Imperium, was appointed Governor of Earth and his father was a high ranking Imperium official whom Jack reported to for various assignments for the Black Company.
This latest assignments was just as stange as most others. The Centurion, as Jack called this Imperium, told Jack there was a human colony on the opposite side of the Imperium Empire that Earth didn’t know about. How these people got there is unknown, but the Centurion thought Jack and Black Company should visit and let them know they could return to Earth now that Earth was part of the Imperium. This planet called Eden had been populated for hundreds of years and most people probably didn’t know Earth still existed. But Black Company still made the long trip to the planet. While in the area, the Centurion wanted Black Company to find out if there was another Empire just outside the frontier borders and if so, was it a possible threat to the Imperium.
So, this mission is going to have some definite twists and turns all involving time. It’s going to get very confusing as you try to follow along with the story. At Eden, the Black Company finds that some of the humans living there have been taken as slaves periodically by pirates. These pirates make the unfortunate mistake of showing up while the Black Company command ship, the Musashi, is in orbit. They attack with numerous pirate ships which are definitely junkers and don’t last long against the Musashi. What’s left of the pirate fleet flees back to it home base with the Musashi following them. Black Company (Jack and Isla) demand to know what they did with the previous humans they took from Eden. They stated they were sold at a market deeper in the unknown part of space.
So, now the Black Company is following leads to where the human slaves wound up. What ever planet or civilization took the humans in as slaves were told to return them to the Musashi or face the consequences. Most of these places tried to put up a fight but were quickly subdued and returned the humans to the Black Company. But, during one such attempt to get the human slaves back, a huge ship that is cloaked approaches the same planet and eventually captures Jack Rhodes himself who had gone down to the planet to negotiate release of the humans.
Now begins the strangest part of this entire book. I had trouble following some of it, but the author does try to keep things pretty simple. Still, there are a lot of things said that are down-right lies so you don’t know who to really believe or what can or cannot be done. I’m not sure what this twist to the story was created, but I guess it can now evolve to a much longer series. Either way, I will continue to read these books because they are very interesting.
The next book 4 has strangely not been identifed at the end of this book and is not available on Amazon. We’ll just have to wait to find out when it’s published.