Well, I can definitely relate to the main character, Gareth Weston, in this book. He’s a retired veteran who has not taken easily to his new retirement life style. After nearly forty-years in service his body is feeling the effects of all those years of a physically demanding profession. I definitely can relate to that! He does miss his service time, but realized that it was time for him to move on so now he’s in quiet mountain retreat attempting to keep his body in some kind of shape, but it’s very hard work.
Gareth did leave the military with something more than most soldiers. He was part of an experiment where he received an implant in his head that was a neural interface with an artificial intelligence. This device was like a computer inside his brain and it had taken on the engrams of his departed wife, Zoe. She was now his constant companion and was what was keeping him sane after losing her and his military career. His implant was one of a kind and had been created/invented by his wife. The military knew about it and at one time thinking about adopting this kind of implant for all their soldiers, but that didn’t happen without his wife driving the effort. There wasn’t anyone around who could have safely removed the implant so he kept it in retirement, but few people even knew anything about it.
Ok, that’s one story-line in this book. The other involves an Earth Ambassador, Nila Chance and her security/body guard, Sergeant Bryce Driver. They had just received some encrypted intel about the Veldon’s intentions. The Veldon’s was an alien race that had not too long ago been at war with the humans and the Korla, another alien species. Ambassador Chance was on a Korla border planet when she received the intel from one of her operatives at about the same time the Veldons started bombarding the planet. She and her body guard made their escape, barely, but didn’t really have any place to go without addition fuel for their spaceship.
Then there’s Lyra Vahst, a former military veteran, who didn’t find the military all that pleasant. She had gotten out and now was operating as a small time pirate stealing various items from unsuspecting places until she got on the radar of one Lieutenant Commander Chelsea Weston. While she wasn’t military, she did represent a police force thats job was to capture criminals like Lyra Vahst and that’s what Chelsea has been attempting to do for some time. Except Lyra just happened to be one step ahead of Chelsea’s efforts. But now that Lyra and her very small crew had just stolen some very valuable military maps, they made their escape only to realize that their spaceship was running out of fuel. So, they picked a very remote military fuel depot in hopes of stealing what fuel they needed and also any military maps of the area. Lyra believed there were a lot of abandon military depots left over from the previous war with the Veldons and she wanted to see if she and her crew could get rich selling this military hardware, if they could find it.
So, both the Ambassador and the pirate Vahst were closing in on this remote military refueling depot. Additionally, Lt Cmdr Weston had followed Vahst and was heading to the same destination. Meanwhile, Earth was now under attack by the Veldons. And Earth was being destroyed! It seems that someone wasn’t doing their job in watching the Veldons over the past peaceful years and didn’t realize that they were preparing to go to war again. Now they have suddenly appeared above Earth with a humongous fleet that is quickly destroying the five Earth fleets that are supposed to be protecting Earth and the Solar System.
Admiral Thomas Gaston and his fleet were out in deep space, know where actually, conducting training exercises. He had just received knews about the Veldons conducting actions very close to the Earth/Korla/Veldon border and brought this to the attention of the Minister of Defense back on Earth. The Minister said he knew about this and that it was just the Veldons conducting training exercises just as was Admiral Gaston. The Defense Minister told the Admiral not to worry about it and that’s about the last thing he told anyone. Admiral Gaston soon realizes that his fleet may be the only military assets left of Earth’s entire planet. He begins heading towards Earth attempting to reach out to any other colony fleets or any Earth allies, like the Korla, but so far his comms seem to be well and truly jammed.
Now back on Earth, believe it or not, Gareth Weston has found a neighbor who has an underground hanger with a very capable spaceship ready to launch. So he and Doctor Augustus Keppler had managed to escape Earth, got to the moon and then had fled to deep space with the intent of finding his daughter Lieutenant Commander Chelsea Weston. Gareth figured she had better ties with the Earth military allies so he was going to offer his services to them if they would take him. Additionally, Doctor Keppler had injected Gareth with an experimental drug when he found Gareth almost dead from a run-in with the Veldons when they landed on the mountain Gareth and Doctor Keppler had their homes. What this drug did to Gareth might be the reason the Veldons are attacking Earth. It certainly makes a significant change in Gareth. You’ll have to read the book to find out just what.
A very good start to what could be a very good series. It does seem kind of bleak in that Earth couldn’t even defend itself from a vicious enemy they should have known was preparing to attack. How the Veldons apparently invented some advance tech that got them orbiting over Earth without any early warning is something that needs to be explained. Unfortunately, with the bombardment of Earth, there’s very few who might listen to the story. Still, this continues in book 2, “Hearts of Men” available on Amazon. I’ve added it to my reading list already.