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“Orders of Battle”


5 Small Stars

So this one wasn’t one of the most exciting books in the series, but it had its points. I really like the way these stories are so well written. It almost feels like you’re there and experiencing the things that Major Andrew Grayson are going through, almost, but not quite. There’s no replacing the real thing.

Major Greyson has gotten himself a real nice cushy, peaceful assignment after what’s been non-stop combat. While he enjoyed his time in the little town of Liberty Falls, Vt., he did have the undesirable task of saying goodbye to his Mother who passed  peacefully pasted away. At least he was home when she died so he could make all the final arrangements and say his last goodbyes.

He also got to spend the time with his wife, now Lieutenant Colonel Halley Greyson, wish they both always enjoy. They knew they’d have to get back to work with both going on new assignments. Those assignments would take them away from each other and who knows where they would wind up. Right now it was a pretty peaceful time. The Lankys had now been around now going on four years. After Earth bombed the heck out of Mars and destroyed the three Lanky ships in orbit, they hadn’t come back, yet! Know one knows when, where or if the Lankys will come back, but everyone is betting that they will. Either Humanity or the Lankys are going to have to be exterminated and of course the Graysons are more inclined to want the Lankys to be permanently gone.

Major Greyson has been assigned to a training the International Special Tactics School (ISTS) in the wonderful placed called Reykjavik, Iceland.  He goes through Keflavik Base and then out to his new assignment with the ISTS. He’s in charge of the training of a bunch of new special operators which isn’t a bad duty in that no one is shooting at him. He’s got nice accommodations, great chow and his boss isn’t one to hang around over his shoulder. So, life is good!

Then , now Brigadier General Khaled Masoud shows up! That’s not a good thing for Major Grayson. He and the General have some bad blood between them going back to the days when the General was a Major and Grayson was a young Lieutenant. It seems that then Major Masoud used Lt. Grayson’s troops as a diversion to get something else done without mentioning anything about this to Grayson. Most of that company was wiped out, practically all killed except for Grayson. The Major never apologized nor did he think much of what Grayson went through with the loss of those men. Still, BGen Masoud is his boss’es boss so he has to listen when the BGen comes a calling. 

What he wants Major Grayson for is to deploy for six months in place of another Major in command of a Special Tactics Team aboard a new  Avenger class battlecarrier, the Washington. The guy he’s replacing is being pulled for some medical reason and BGen Masoud knows just how good Grayson is so he’s not holding a grudge against him even if Grayson is. Now Major Grayson has to overcome his immediate feeling of telling the BGen to “take a hike”!  That wouldn’t be very good for anyone  in anybodies military. He is getting the opportunity to “volunteer” for the assignment which means that if you don’t, you can pretty much kiss-off the rest of your career and any possible promotions. So, what’s he going to do.

Well, first, he needs to talk to his wife, Halley. That’s a good move. They both know that they won’t be seeing each other for quite some time anyway, but it was going to work out that they would both be due for some leave time at about the same time later in the year. This deployment would delay that meeting and might get them off schedule. But, truth is, Major Grayson is getting restless! He knows he doesn’t necessarily want to go back into combat, but he’s getting a little tired and bored of all this peacetime stuff. Halley, as a combat pilot is feeling something of the same, but she has a deployment already scheduled in her near future. The thing is, BGen Masoud can’t tell Maj. Grayson anything about the deployment. Still, Grayson accepts the assignment and ships out to the Washington.

Now it gets interesting. Even the Washington’s commander doesn’t know what their orders are until they are well underway. When the time to revel those orders comes, Maj. Grayson and a whole lot of people are wondering if they will every make it back home at all. It’s not so much that they are going in harms way, it’s the fact that they get carried a long way away through an unfortunate accident. There’s a lot more to this story since the Washington certainly hasn’t solved any of the problems they are now facing in a region of space that no human has ever seen. It could be quite some time before Andrew Grayson and Halley ever get to see each other,  a very long time, in fact.

Great, smooth reading and leaves you wanting more. I just like the way the characters interact, nothing phony about any of them. Their thoughts about being on a dangerous deployment are about what you would expect. And, in these stories, the ships Captain doesn’t go galavanting on away missions like some silly TV shows by the name  similar to Star Trac! Oh, there was one thing that I noticed that is wrong. The commander of the Washington might be a Colonel or a Commander of even a Navy Captain, but when he makes an announcement on the 1MC, he says, “This is the Captain!…”, not, “This is the Commander!”.  Even if he was just a Lieutenant, once he’s in command of the ship, he is the ship’s Captain and should be identified like that when aboard the ship. I don’t know why Mr. Kloos let this slip by, but his editors or someone should have caught it.  Still, it sure ain’t a big enough reason to stop reading this series. I’m ready for the next one!

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