This one has two threads that don’t actually come together until probably the next book. That’s not a spoiler, just what happens. Both threads have some very good writing and interesting things happening.
First off, we’re on Aphrodite with Sgt. Ryan Hendrix. He’s got a mission to organize the local civilian population into a capable militia. He’s then to use these local civilians to disrupt, destroy and damage everything the Tahni touch on the planet. Ryan isn’t an ordinary Marine, no he’s been significantly enhanced since he almost got killed the last time he was in combat. He’s recovered quite well and with his enhancements, he’s more of a super-Marine now and he belongs to Fleet Intelligence. They are expecting the fleet at some point in the near future to attempt to regain Aphrodite and they want Ryan and nine other just like him to create cells of resistance fighters to prep the battlefield for that coming conflict.
Ryan has the skills, but he doesn’t know if he’s got the personnel to pull this mission off. The people he makes initial contact with are no more than famers and technical workers and those were the ones that were hiding outside the cities. When the Tahni landed, the immediately captured and shutdown every large settlement on the planet. Sarasvati was the settlement Sgt. Hendrix was to target with his fighters when they started doing whatever. But first he had to train them and that was going to be a job. Most had some hunting experience, but a hunting rifle wasn’t anything like the weapons he was going to have to use. Those weapons for the most part were Tahni weapons which his militia would have to take from the dead Tahni. He wasn’t supposed to lead this group, only train them, but they didn’t want to act like soldiers since they definitely weren’t so he had to find someone to act as the civilian leadership. He did that in Lloyd Chen, a software engineer. He also found Kathrine Adams also seemed to know a little of what she was doing so he used her as his second, kind of like a squad leader. She was good at fighting as were some others, but not many.
Still, the Tahni didn’t begin to understand humans. No, the Tahni thought that once a species was conquered/captured then they would have to immediately obey any and all commands from their conquerors! That’s not going to happen with humans. So, when Sgt. Hendrix started ambushing the first of many Tahni patrols out in the farm lands, they didn’t know why or who was doing the attacks. These initial patrols were also lightly armed and manned by Tahni soldiers that were not front-line troops. They didn’t wear the Tahni Shock Trooper armor so they were pretty much defenseless when it came to ambushes. Oh, they had weapons and knew how to use them, but they didn’t understand small unit tactics so their Patrols were pretty easily wiped out. That is until they started taking these resistance fighters seriously. And when they captured a significant group, it was thought that all future efforts were going to end unless those captives were rescued. Not an easy mission.
The other thread to this book is back with Captain Travis Miller and the Prometheus . Yes, he’s got a new ship and a new mission. While he wants to go to Aphrodite and liberate it from the Tahni, his Higher HQ can’t give him those orders since the politicians back in the Solar System are afraid to send the fleet in harms way which might leave Earth venerable to Tahni attack. Captain Miller and his immediate boss, Admiral Worthington don’t believe the Tahni are capable of doing that. They don’t even think the Tahni know exactly where Earth is. But, if they ever captured an Earth starship and found navigation data, then that would clearly provide them with Earth’s location and that’s exactly what the politicians didn’t want to happen. So, he was ordered to attack other smaller Tahni outpost and disrupt any kind of actions they might be taking. This did get the Tahni stirred up, but once again, Captain Miller and his task force were applying superior tactics and the Tahni were finding very little success in these engagements. Captain Miller was getting impatient with not taking the fight directly to the Tahni and liberating Aphrodite.
So you get to read about both activities and there’s quite a lot of stuff going on. While Captain Miller seems to be causing the Tahni serious problems, he’s not really causing them great concern. And, while Sgt. Hendricks is stirring up a lot of problems on Aphrodite, he’s only one small group that’s had any success. The other nine special operators aren’t having near the success with their raids. Still, they know they can’t go on indefinitely, so when is the fleet coming to remove the Tahni from the planet?
This is a good series and I like the writing. It continues with the fourth book in the series, “Armageddon” which will be out on Amazon on 23 November 2021.