Captain Leo Blake and his crew have been more or less grounded due to an outbreak of peace in the stellar region. They are naturally getting bored considering the terror they most recently experienced out in Rebel space. Under Rebel command, you had to always watch your back or it soon would have a club coming down on it very hard. And hitting you in the back was done only because they missed your head. Peaceful Earth with no fighting just wasn’t what the crew of the Hammerhead was used to.
But, it appears that peaceful existence might be coming to a halt. A rift in deep space has appeared and some unknown ships are arriving. General Vega, commanding all Earth space forces, decides he doesn’t want to wait to find out what’s coming through that rift so he orders his small phase-ship fleet to fire on the first vessel coming through. That turns out to be a mistake, since its none other than Admiral Flex with ships and crews from grief. Their cruisers make short work of the two phase-ships that fired on them and now they sit. Once they do contact Earth, they don’t want to talk to General Vega, but to Captain Blake. Fex is back to inform the Earth that he and his Grefs are there to form a protectorate over Earth. Since Earth has no means of defending itself, he wants the planet to commit to him as its planetary Commander. He wants any and all Earth space forces placed under his command.
Of course, that doesn’t sit well with the Earth. They initially refuse his demands so he takes his small fleet of two ships and departs warning Earth that he will return to enforce the “protectorate” decree for Earth. Meanwhile, Dr. Abrams, who dislikes Blake tremendously, has been busy building another ship. No, not a phase-ship, but a true starship, one that can form its own rift and fly to the stars! This is a significant accomplishment. He’s ordered by now Admiral Vega to give Captain Blake a tour of the new ship. The purpose of that tour is to familiarize Captain Blake with his new command.
When Captain Blake finishes building his new crew list, there are a lot of familiar names on it. All his original crew are back, but so are about four-hundred other crewmen and women. This new ship is a very large cruiser or small destroyer, but either way, much larger than the old Hammerhead. So now it needs a new name. The crew thinks about this for a while and settle on Devilfish! So, once again, Leo Blake and his crew are off to the far reaches of space. They need to find out if Fex is really doing the mission directed by Secretary Shug or if this is some deadly plan Fex has dreaded up to get rid of all Earth humans.
A “shake-down” cruise is in order for the Devilfish and it turns out to be a very interesting trip since Dr. Abrams doesn’t really know if his jump drive will actually work. It’s soon put to the test with some interesting results. Also, Godwin is back. He’s one of the Ancients or something like that. We’re not sure who’s side he’s on if he’s on anyone but his own. Blake seems to be the target of his attentions, but that’s not something Blake enjoys. He would just as soon see Godwin has gone permanently if possible.
Another good book in the series. And, surprisingly, it’s not over yet. Book #4, Earth Fleet is coming soon.