I seemed to have lost track of this series and then this book shows up on my reading list. It didn’t take me very long to get into to it once I reviewed my review of book 7, “Orders of Battle”. Yeah, I do sometimes go back and read my own reviews. Mostly it’s just to confirm that I have the correct next book in a series. And this is definitely the next book although that’s kind of sad. If you haven’t guessed, this is the end of the series!
Andrew Grayson, Major, Special Tactics Team commander is aboard the NACS Washington lost in Lanky space. Well, not exactly lost, they know where they are somewhat, and they know how they got there, but they don’t really know where this system is in relation to the universe. It is a dark place; a very dark place. That suits the Lankies just fine in that they are blind to visual stimulus; they work in the dark always.
Just how the Washington got here is covered in book 7, but their efforts now on focusing on how to survive first and second on how to return to human space. They need to figure out how to survive because they don’t exactly know how to get back to their origin. So, they are going to send out scouts to see if they can find water on what appears to be an icy moon. Whether it’s occupied by Lankies or not is to be seen. This scouting job is what Major Grayson and his team are onboard for. They take two special ops shuttles down to the moon and indeed, find ice, lots of ice and no Lankies. So, that’s one problem solved. It’s up to the Washington engineers to figure out how to harvest this ice and turn it into water, but they should be up to the task.
The next mission is to find a potentially habitual planet that has the right conditions to grow food or has something edible that humans can consume. The do find one such planet, but it appears to be Lanky occupied. Still, it’s fairly good size and there aren’t many other places to look. Even this planet is perpetually in the dark as there is no bright sun any where close. Once again, Grayson’s team is going down for a look and they are clearly aware that they do not want to engage the Lankies. They would prefer that the Lankies continue no to know that humans have come to this Lanky system. So far, they don’t seem to know of the NACS Washington’s presence and that’s the way it needs to stay. There are a lot of Lanky seed ships in this system and avoiding them is taking a lot of tricky maneuvering by the ship’s Captain.
So, down goes the STT with Grayson in charge and he’s brought a scientist specializing in alien environments who could determine what needs to be sampled that could later turn into something the crew could eat. The Washington is slowly going through it’s supplies and they definitely won’t last forever.
Unfortunately, this mission doesn’t go off with out some difficulty. In fact, it has some major difficulties. Grayson and a part of his scouting party find a deep, dark tunnel which the Lankies are using to grow something. The scientist says she needs samples so she get busy collecting them until she takes too long. Here’s where Major Grayson’s troubles begin. While very hastily evacuating the tunnels, part of his team has to stay back and stop the Lankies from overwhelming all of them. They do get most of the team evaced and back to the Washington, but Major Grayson’s days as a special operator are over! The ship’s doctor barely clears him for light duty.
Then the ship’s Captain has a plan for possibly getting back to their origin. He wants to do exactly what they did when they got here and that is to piggy-back on a Lanky starship going through their portal. He doesn’t know if it will work since the Lankies now know they are in this system. That’s what the rest of this book is all about. Can the Washington get back to human space and if they do, what happens next? Major Grayson is standing on his own feet, but he needs additional advanced medical care and certainly doesn’t need to be fighting Lankies, but that’s going to happen whether he wants to or not.
This was a very good series. I don’t know when this book was first published, but I read book 7 back in February of 2021. So, after a year it should have taken a while to figure out what was going on, but this story is so good, I got right into it. I hate to see the series end, but I think it was about time. There’s not much more that Major Andrew Grayson and his wife Haley can do. They need their own time to hopefully live out their lives in peace.