It took me awhile to figure out what this book was about. Even after reading my reviews on the first two books, I still wasn’t sure what was going on. I finally figured out who Captain William Gorman was and realized he was a clone of the real Gorman, but he’s built his own life now. He got a crew together and with his ship, the Royal Fortune, they managed to some what save the planet Vindar. It was infested with an evil alien presence called the Skaintz. These aliens ate organic beings which included humans. Captain Gorman managed to convince the pirates of the Sword Worlds to hire out as a mercenary army for the Vindar. While this “army” didn’t completely save the planet, it did destroy the Skaintz on the planet.
Captain Gorman’s exploits have come to the attention of the Conclave. The Conclave is the name for the majority of the human planets in this part of the galaxy. They have a governing body who is ruled ultimately by the Connactic, a single person as Chairman of the Board, so to speak. The Connactic wasn’t actually supposed to exist in normal times, but with the invasion of the Skaintz, this wasn’t normal times. The Conclave also operated a large fleet of ships manned by androids. These androids usually acted by a Conclave-wide police force, enforcing the laws of the Conclave. Captain Gorman, as a smuggler, usually didn’t want anything to do with the Conclave androids and especially didn’t have anything to do with the Connactic. He didn’t really know if that person actually even existed.
Well, until he was contacted by an android called B-6. Only B-6 wasn’t a typical android. This was almost a completely sentient being. He exhibited none of the normal strict formal language and motion of normal androids, so Gorman was very skeptical of him right from the start. After a short conversation with B-6, Gorman was told he was being summoned to meet with the Connactic. As far as Gorman knew, no one had every actually met the Connactic.
Well, Gorman soon found out something starling about the Conclave and the Connactic. But, that reveal didn’t stop the Connactic telling Gorman that she needed him for a mission. He was to go through a slip-gate controlled by the Conclave into another system that was believed to be fully contaminated by the Skaintz. Gorman was to be a scout for the Conclave. He was guaranteed that the slip-gate he used would be active after 30 days of his scouting. Now if he could only trust the Connactic.
Gorman would find that not only should he trust the Connactic, but it trusted him also. He was even allowed to command a large ground army of androids attempting to eradicate the Skaintz on an infected planet. Yet, Gorman knew that the Conclave and humans couldn’t just wait for the Skaintz to invade very human planet. That would be suicide. So, he once again, came up with a plan that involved the Sword Worlds, their vast fleet of starships and Count Trask. This was the same guy that was behind Gorman’s original death. If this plan didn’t work, then humanity would definitely be consumed, literally, by the advancing Skaintz.
The story is confusing at first because it’s hard to understand the situation you initially find Captain Gorman. His crew is leaving and he’s not sure what he will do next. He could continue on with his smuggling activities, but he knows he needs some rest and maybe if he gave his crew some time off they might be willing to come back. But, his plans are changed by the Connactic. The story kind of straightens out when he does meet this entity and then the story gets pretty interesting from that point on.
This does appear to be the end of this series. I can’t say I’m disappointed in it ending. The story-line is no where near as good as Larson’s “Undying Mercenaries” or even some of his other writings. I hope he gets back to the “Undying Mercenaries” series petty soon.