I believe this is the first book of a new science fiction author. I could be wrong, but either way, it’s a darn good book no matter what. The story starts out right in the middle of a battle which is my kind of military science fiction. Unfortunately, this initial battle is just a simulation! But, just as Wing Commander Daniel Tharraleos and Lieutenant Chase Athanatos are getting ready to eat a meal, the battle station alarms start going off and all the pilots in the mess hall make a mad dash for their star fighters. Now the real battle begins.
The Star Alliance has been in a continuous war with the Obsidian Empire for a long, long time. While the war has been about equal between the two, word has spread that the Obsidian Empire had some how joined with the Zarlacks, an ancient, very war-like, race thought to have been extinct. This current battle shows that alliance in full force. There are Zarlack battleships and escorts among the Obsidian battleships and their combine forces are wiping out the Star Alliance in all sectors of their space. The Captain (wonder where all the Admirals are?) of the Battle Group which Daniel and Chase belong decides he’s had enough and he’s got to warp out of this battle to fight another day. He tells his navigator to put in some random coordinates and get them the heck out of there.
And of course, this random jump puts what’s left of the Star Alliance just on the edge of the Solar System. They soon find out that Earth is inhabited, but that the civilization there is about two centuries behind them in technology. They also realize that they might have just alerted the Zarlacks of their new location and revealed the planet Earth to this new enemy. The Zarlacks were notorious for attacking isolated planets that could not defend themeselves just to make sure they didn’t become competition in the future.
So, the former Star Alliance needs to get to Earth and see if they can agree to an alliance between the two. They are willing to defend Earth as long as Earth will supply manpower and material to repair and build new starships. Their only problem is that there may not be enough time before a Zarlack battle group arrives and begins destroying Earth.
There’s a lot of stuff going on in this book. That’s fine, I kind of like different story-lines. The main characters are pretty much identified although as with most books of this type, there seems to be one big hero who has to do everything all by himself, well, almost. Chase is the guy in this book. He’s a starfighter pilot, but is put on an Alliance dreadnought, the Iron Fire, as Captain with no explanation of where the current Captain went. There’s also the romantic angle when Commander Sarah Kepler is introduced. She and Chase get together almost immediately since they are both fighter pilots. It’s a nice addition to the story, but then Chase starts paying too much attention to Sarah’s well-being. And finally, the author does have some fantasy involved when he introduces visions from Aphrodite, the Olympian Goddess of Love. Fortunately, these insertions are few and far between.
I liked this book on the whole and will be reading the new two, Fury to the Stars (Universe in Flames: Book Two) and Destination Oblivion (Universe in Flames: Book Three).