There was a time when you could count on one of John Walker’s books to have one main story-line and only one. If a starship had a mission, that’s all the story would be about, that mission, that starship. There was nothing complicated in his past books. You knew what the Captain of the starship was going to do, just not how they were going to do it. Bu, all that has changed with this series.
Mr. Walker has at least three or maybe four different story-lines going on in this series. It started out simple enough with a retired EDF (Earth Defense Force) Commander Gareth Weston fighting off an invading horde of Veldon’s. They unexpectedly attacked Earth and destroyed all of Earth’s supposed defensive Space Naval Fleets. It appears they were after some very important scientist although why is not know yet. Gareth managed to meet up with one of these scientist and became part of this scientist experiment on the human body. Gareth went from a middle aged senior back to a strapping young 20-something after taking several of Dr. Keppler’s injections.
Escaping Earth, Commander Weston and Dr. Keppler went looking for Gareth’s daughter who was involved with the JTF and the Korlas, an alien species with an alliance with the humans of Earth. He found his daughter and they along with a very advanced starship found at an abandon research station found what remained of the Earth’s Space Navy. The Gareth Weston story-line then kind of faded into the background. Still, Weston and his daughter, Chelsea and the Pytheas, the advanced starship, are going into Veldon space to see if they have left anything behind to protect themselves since it appears all their space navy was used to attack and decimate Earth.
Next we’re with Admiral Gaston and the last remaining Space Fleet. The Admiral knows that the humans of Earth need allies to help take back the Earth or they as a species might cease to exist. He finds out that of all the politicians that died on Earth during the invasion, Sec. Def. Bracknel had managed to flee to the protection of the Korlas. How he did that is something of a mystery and needs further investigation, but Admiral Gaston is suddenly assassinated! His second-in-command, Captain Harold Kensington assume the military lead and is attempting to arrange a grand meeting of all the new alliance members. Except the site of the planned meeting is a thought-to-be peaceful new city on a new planet that is colonized by all the allied races to some extent. He finds that there is strong opposition to this pending alliance, so much so, that a riot takes place and numerous humans are setup as human bombs bent on killing all the dignitaries at the meeting. So there, you have another story-line.
How these aliens started coming together is by the work of Ambassador Alfred Chance who is definitely not a real Ambassador, far from it. Still, the “Ambassador” does manage to get in touch with the Likari and the Zitha who become allies. Now the Ambassador is out trying to figure out the mysterious Raldor. They have been working with a Raldor whom they believed to be an authority with there government, but he has been tasking the humans with problems they must overcome in order to secure an alliance with the Raldor. That story-line also turns up really convoluted and is just now getting resolved.
Lastly, the JTF, which was the organization for which Chelsea had worked for, arrested her for no reason when she returned to report in. It turns out that some deranged Commander of the JTF has some how taken over the operations and is working for himself of some other entity yet to be identified. He seems to have turned a lot of the JTF personnel in to zombies to do his bidding no matter what. Some of it is torture and even killing. Another JTF Commander, Patrick Worthing has taken off to find out who this guy is and stop his actions regardless of what it takes. Although he’s a sworn law enforcement officer, he’s out to kill Commander Trildair. So now you have a fourth story-line to read about.
The book jumps back and forth between each of these story-lines with hints that some of them may get resolved. There are a lot of characters in this story, but it seems the author has done a good job of keeping them straight or at least I did. I liked the writing, even though this series has strayed a long way from being about Commander Gareth Weston and his changing body (getting younger instead of older) and his mission to destroy the Veldon’s for what they did to Earth.
But, I will tell you that a lot of things do get answered in this book. Yes, it ends rather well, but you have to read it all they way to the end to enjoy that part. I don’t have a clue as to where this series goes from here. Earth hasn’t been touched since the Veldon’s invaded although they don’t appear to be occupying the planet. So, I guess future books will be about the retaking of Earth, I guess. Book 9, “End of Watch” sounds like it might be worth reading, that’s for sure.