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5 Small Stars

I think this was the most exciting book of the series. There’s a lot of action and a lot of things get completed in a good way. That’s not necessarily a spoiler, it’s just that thing happen to work out even though they didn’t appear to be going that way. Strangely enough, our main characters, Flint Lancaster, Dr. Wren Sando, and Charles all get left out of the major battle for Earth, but they do get in their final licks!

Now that the Eureka is back in the Sol System, they have a lot of catching up to do. It has been thirty years for the humans on this side of the Rift while only about a year has passed for those aboard the Eureka. They find Serina, yeah, the same cadet Serina that Ace had a crush on before he dived through the Rift, now known as Grand Admiral Serina. She is leading the Earth Fleet as did her Mom, twenty years before. Right now, it’s a desperate stalemate between the Earth Fleet and the Invaders (Watchers). While the Invaders have gained footholds on Mercury, Jupiter’s moons, Europa, and Saturn’s Titan, they haven’t directly attacked Earth. Neither has the Earth Fleet been able to amass enough forces to dislodge the Invaders from their holdings. Lots of Earth Fleet personnel have died over the past thirty years, yet here was Ace, now returned looking only a year older. Grand Admiral Serina was just about worn out.

So, was the return of the Pilgrim and the Eureka enough to turn the tides of the war? Maybe, maybe not. Still, this did give the humans an added influx of vital starfighters and supplies. Benson was also back on the Eureka, in a prison cell where he should have stayed forever. Yet Wren and Charles went to visit with him and listened to him tell them they needed to contact the Shadow. This was the leader of a rebellious group of humans who violently disliked the Earth Fleet. Yet, they were still humans and Benson believed the time was right to ask them to join the fight. So a plan was formed to make contact with this Shadow organization and set up a meeting. It was vaguely known that the Shadow organization had a few hundred ships of varying capabilities, but anything would help now.

Admiral Serina and Dr. Sando went to meet the leader of the Shadow organization. He/she was called the “Shadow” because no one had ever seen his/her face. Benson was certain the Shadow was a female since he had once engaged her organization for a job. Once the meeting started and the Shadow spoke, it was obvious that this was a male. Further, it will be an extreme shock to Grand Admiral Serina when the true identity of the Shadow is revealed.

Now with the forces of the Shadow and Earth Fleet combined, it was time to go on the attack. They believed they Invaders had gathered much of their fleet at Europa, so that’s where Grand Admiral Serina focused her attack. Only things didn’t go as planned. They found only a few of the Invaders in the vicinity of Europa and not many of the Shadow ships actually showed up. It appears that the Shadow organization has turned against Earth Fleet at the last moment. Grand Admiral Serina now realizes they were set up for defeat and the Invaders had gone to Earth while they were out at Europa. Can she get the Earth Fleet back to Earth quickly enough and even if she does, do they now have enough forces to win this fight. Without the Shadow assets, it looks pretty bleak for Earth.

As I mentioned, this book has a lot of action going on. Just when you thought something was going to favor the Earth Fleet, something bad happens. As for Flint Lancaster, he’s gotten himself captured by the Invaders and is in a prison of sorts on Europa. Of course, Wren, Ace and Charles have vowed to rescue him even though that’s not what Grand Admiral Serina wants to allocate forces to do. Still, they know Flint would stop at nothing to rescue either one of them.

Great series, but this seems like the end. They do finally close things up with a visit back through the Rift to the colony planet. Councilman Jarden, now with his Wife and Son for over two years, gets to see his daughter again although she has aged some thirty years. Things are getting better on Earth, not perfect, but former Councilman Jarden thinks it’s time to go back home.

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