When two of your favorite authors team up to write a book, you know it’s going to be good and this one delivers! It’s also the beginning of a new series that I can’t wait to continue to read. This story has a mixture of cops and military doing their thing which can sometime conflict in ways you wouldn’t normally think about.
Rick Partlow is always fighting the Tahni. That’s his nemesis in almost all of his military books. This one starts off with a kind of flashback to the very end of the latest Tahni versus the human’s Commonwealth. It’s a space battle with one name you’ll want to remember, Sanya Baretto.
Moving on to twenty-five years later, we get to meet another interesting character named Antonin Murdock. He was a Marine, but since the Tahni war ended just after he joined, there wasn’t much need for a lot of Marines. So he moved on and now he’s a Ranger. No not an Army Ranger, but a kind of “Texas Ranger”, doing police stuff out on the very frontier of the Commonwealth. It’s not all that exciting, but there isn’t much law in the frontier so he’s kept busy don’t police stuff and he’s on his own which suits him just fine. You’ll find out a lot more of his background. He didn’t exactly miss the Tahni war; no he was very much involved in it as a young boy on Aphrodite, his home planet once occupied by the Tahni.
Murdock has his own starship which has one of the first operational AI’s. He’s name his ship *Carmalita* and she (that what the AI’s voice sounds like) is developing a kind of personality of her own. *Carm*, (short for Carmalita), is pretty well armed and very capable. A lot of Murdock’s work is investigating what’s going on in a particular situation. You’ll find he has a strong sense of justice and that means apprehending the supposed wrong doers and bringing them back to stand trial. He certainly doesn’t like to be the judge, jury and executioner, but if the bad guys don’t give him an alternative, that’s what he’ll do. He’s just wrapped up a case of cattle rustling, yes, I said cattle rustling, on a frontier planet. He clearly stated why he had to kill the guy running the illegal operation and had filed his report with his HQ back on Masterson, an old space station.
Here you’ll get a glimpse of how politics is played in the Commonwealth. It seems that all policing actions for the core worlds are handled by the Commonwealth Patrol Service (CPS) while anything out on the frontier is left to the Rangers. The CPS is the big budget organization, but had a slice taken out to fund the Rangers. Not everyone was happy with that situation. But that wasn’t Murdocks problem. He had his next assignment and that was to investigate the disappearance of an automated freighter, the *Jarvis Kirkland*, which had headed out from Coracaesium. This was a frontier planet in the Brienne’s star system and that was here Murdock was now headed.
Now this is where things turn very interesting. When Murdock arrives from transition space to the vicinity of Coracaesium, he finds there are a lot of ships in orbit around the planet with no identification beacons broadcasting which was itself illegal. He thinks that he needs to be very careful approaching this planet and then attempt to make a clandestine landing and scout the area out as much as possible. Something definitely is going on with this planet, but he’s only one Ranger so he has to be careful. His caution was warranted until his luck ran out. He ran into one Sanya Baretto and that opened up a whole can of worms!
This is a very good book. The main character is someone you can identify with but some of the others you’ll meet are not introduced as in-depth as maybe you’d like, but really Murdock is the one to keep an eye on. While he’s not military, he’s going to get involved in some very harsh military actions which he doesn’t necessarily condone. But, again, he’s one Ranger against an enemy he doesn’t understand so he doesn’t want to make an enemy of the military guys he’s with.
I’m looking forward to book 2, “[Infiltration](https://amzn.to/3GmrMBi)”, now available on Amazon.