Thirteen books in this series so far. That’s fantastic. S. H. Jucha is a wonderful writer and very different from what I normally read in science fiction. Oh, this is a military science book, don’t get me wrong on that, but his treatment of war and warfighting in general is really magical. Led by Alex Racine, a former New Terran heavy worlder, his gathering of Omnians, Harakens, New Terrans, Dischnya and just about any other species he has met, have gathered around the planet Toral. They are now deciding what to do and when to do it.
Meanwhile, a group of Omnians that did not go with Alex and his fleet, have found a new water world that they initially explore. While the planet seems benign, it’s below the surface that they get in trouble. A traveler ship has been swallowed by a gigantic almost transparent sea monster. It has gone to it’s cave to digest its food and the traveler has no idea how to get out of their situation.
Back aboard the Sojourn, a Haraken explorer ship, Captain Azasdau and Willem, were in charge of the expeditionary mission and responsible for any and everything happening with the expedition. Yet, they were at a loss on how to rescue the “eaten” traveler with seven of their crew aboard. Even the Trident Captain, Adrianna Plummer, had no idea how to extract the traveler. They didn’t even have a good location for the traveler since it had dived to a depth that was out of communications reach. Still, there was no thought to abandon the traveler.
Then a fleet of seven unknown battleships has appeared in the system headed for the water world. Seven battleships against one Trident isn’t even close to a fair fight. Captain Plummer recognizes her disadvantage, but vows not to abandon her duty. She’ll stay to defend the Sojourn no matter the cost. She doesn’t even know if these unknown battleships are hostile. That is until they launch a mass of missiles directed towards the Guardian. So she has her hands full while the Sojourn has to figure out how to get their lost traveler recovered so they can leave this planet. They have no desire to claim this world, only to know whether it has a sentient life or not.
Back to Alex and his fleet around Toral, home world to the Toralians. Five battleship fleets have arrived in the vicinity of Toral, each with a Governor from the various Toralian colonies. They’ve come to see what has happened to their home world and to claim their right as ruler of the Toralians since the previous ruler has died. They do not know that President Sargut has formed a new society consisting of former Toralians and Omnian Sisters. They now go by the group name of Talusians. The new President doesn’t want a fight with his Governors, but they don’t appear to be giving him much choice. Of course, Alex and his fleet aren’t just sitting around doing nothing. They have shown the Toralian fleets that they face a formidable foe and are reminded that this is the same fleet that defeated Artifice!
So, this is just a few of the things going on in this book. While it seems there are several places where the book could have ended, it didn’t! Alex always seems to want to do something else and his people have no trouble following his lead. He is as usual, ready and willing to give these alien races the benefit of the doubt and if they are willing to be peaceful, they can reap the benefits of Omnian technology and be richly rewarded. Alex is just seeking good neighbors so the universe can live in peace. If he finds a race of sentient beings that don’t understand this concept, then he’s willing to teach them a good lesson and not allow them to settle worlds anywhere near human settlements.
A very well written story with the same kind of brilliant humanity that all previous twelve books have contained. And it doesn’t appear to end here. The next book is title “Alliance” and I’m sure it’s going to be great!