Rating:

5 Small Stars
Fatal Fringe
834

One thing about John Walker, when he writes a military book, it’s about one mission and only one mission. There’s never any doubt about what the unit he’s writing about is going to do or how it comes out. I like that a lot.

Now he’s got a new series out titled “Ether War”. Ether, as you’ll find out seems to be some kind of mineral that is refined to produce rocket fuel allowing FTL or warp drive. The Human Confederacy has been expanding its borders with this new capability. And as humans, there comes a time when some people want to rebel against the existing government. That rebellion has been put down and now relative peace exists in known human space. Some of the rebels have fled to the frontiers of space and become pirates operating on the fringes of the Human Confederacy.

Also out there on the fringes are the newly discovered Ether mines. These mines were mostly ran by the Mechant Conglomerate (MerCon) who provided some minimal security for the sites. One small site had recently been blow up. That, in it self, was surprising because, while ether was very unstable, it wouldn’t blow up unless it was directly made to do so. Most pirates who would have attacked a mining site would have just wanted to steal some ether, but not destroy the site since they would probably want to come back and do the same thing again. But, this site was totally gone. It appeared that someone had ignited all the ether. The only thing left where once a complete mining facility stood was a huge crate in the ground.

So, now enters the starship USS Morrigan, “a hybrid of the heavy battlecruiser and the faster destroyers that made up the fleet.”(1) It is commanded by Captain Noah Markel who has a long history with the Human Confederacy. He’s a brilliant tactician and has rose in the ranks quite rapidly. Captain Markel is also known to bend the rules here and there always focused on successfully accomplishing his mission.

Captain Merkel has requested the assignment of Marine Major Oliver Peck, who had previously worked with him during the rebellion war. Major Peck has also seen some rapid advancement due to battlefield promotions, but he is certainly capable of doing the job, especially with his special condition. Years earlier and during the rebellion war, the use of ether as a drug injected into humans was almost common for soldiers. It made them into super soliders capable of doing just about anything. They were faster, smarter and stronger while the ether flowed through their veins. But, just like any drug, it had its side-effects.

Major Peck is an ether user. He depends on it regularly, but his circumstances are unique which is why such a dependency is allowed to exist while he’s in the military. Oliver and his sister, Rita, were born as an experiment to attempt to lessen the bad side-effects of ether while trying to enhance the good effects. So far, these two have shown the experiment to be working, but the Human Confederation has since decided that the use of ether by military personnel is now barred. Still, Major Peck is a good Marine and Captain Markel wants him to lead his Marine contingent on the Morrigan.

Back to the mission. The USS Morrigan is assigned the mission of finding out what happened to the ether mining facility and to apprehend or decisively stop this kind of attack from happening again. Of course, everyone figures that it was done by some rogue pirates, but that proves to be totally wrong. It just might have been aliens and, if so, this would be humanities first contact with such.

Oh, and Major Peck’s sister, Rita, is involved. She’s the same as the Major, an ether user, and while she was also once a Marine, she’s since been through out under less than honorable conditions.

A great start to a good series. I hope to see more soon.

(1) Walker, John. Fatal Fringe: Ether War Book 1 . Kindle Edition.

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