Some times this book can get pretty confusing. There are a lot of characters all doing something different in different places. I’m having trouble keeping track of everybody, but the story is still pretty good and we get some exciting action along the way. I’m going to try and explain some of the things I think are going on.
First off, the Prologue in the book doesn’t make much sense. We don’t have a clue as to who these people are, what they are doing or even why. They have never been in the book before so it’s kind of hard to figure out why this part is even brought to the forefront. We do meet these people later, but I think it just confused things by having this Prologue so disconnected from everything.
We start off with a Lieutenant Franklin and his Sergeant Bjorn going after the supposed Ambassador Alfred and his supposed body guard, Ethyl. They are attempting to rendezvous at an out of the way abandoned space station but unfortunately its attracted attention from pirates and the Ambassadors ship is under attack. Lt. Franklin starts attacking the bad guys while telling Ambassador Alfred that he and his crew are going to have to abandon their ship. They do launch escape pods and the Lt. manages to rescue them. He finds Ambassador Alfred, Ethyl, Corporal Tesh and Sergeant Erda in the pod with Sergeant Erda needing immediate medical attention.
Back aboard the Admiral’s ship, Sergeant Erda starts receiving the medical while the rest get some much needed rest. Since he is supposed to be an Ambassador, Admiral Gaston has asked him to start making contact with the alien races that might provide allies in the humans fight against the Veldon. They all reload back on Lt. Franklin’s military scout ship with Sergeant Bjorn and they head off to meet with the Zitha, a race of human-like people that are mostly raiders. They. might be able to provide some troops if they can convince these people to support the humans in taking back Earth.
They planned to meet the Zitha at one of their outpost where they can establish the Ambassadors credentials and get permission to go to meet with the Zitha government officials. But, when approaching the Zitha outpost they find it under attack by unknown forces although they appear to be Zitha space ships attacking their own outpost. Lt. Franklin directs Sergeant Bjorn, Tesh and Ethyl to board the space station and see if they can stop the attack from the insides or at least find someone important to rescue so they would be in good with the Zitha. Turns out that’s not going to happen. The three boarding the space station are totally outgunned and barely make stay alive, well two of the do, one isn’t so lucky! You’ll have to read about the actions on this space station.
In between this story line is another thread that involves Gareth Weston, his daughter Chelsea, Lyra, Barty, Zed, Sergeant Driver and Doctor Augustus Keppler. They escaped a secret military depot in a super advanced starship that didn’t have its AI installed so it was limited in function. Zoe is AI in Gareth Weston’s brain. She’s an implanted chip, experimental and patterned after Gareth’s wife and also mother to Chelsea. She manages to make a copy of herself and get it inserted into the starship so they now have control of all the major systems. Zed, is the computer hacker genius who was part of Lyra’s criminal gang which included Barty. They now are working with Gareth and Chelsea to see if they can do something about the Veldon’s invasion of Earth. But, first they need to decrypt some intelligence the Earth Ambassador Nila Chance had received just before she and Sergeant Driver had to fleet the planet they were on when the Veldon attacked.
Gareth and his crew eventually all agree to head back to the planet which Sergeant Driver and his now deceased Ambassador left in order to recover the decryption keys so they could access the intelligence information. They do return only to find the planet almost destroyed with Veldon’s on the ground and starships orbiting in space. Still, with the capabilities of this strangely highly advanced starship, the manage to get on the ground. Now they have to get the keys and get out before getting killed, they all don’t make it!
Meanwhile, Admiral Gaston his stewing about what he should be doing with regards to his fleet personnel. They are wanting to know what’s going on at Earth. Even the rescued Minister of Defense wants to know while the Admiral wants to know how the Minister of Defense escaped the Veldon attack. He’s suspicious of the Minister and thinks he has designs of taking over command of the fleet. Admiral Gaston doesn’t believe the guy is capable of commanding the fleet and what’s left of Earth’s military assets so he needs to put the Minister in his place. That discussion takes up quite a lot of time in the book.
So, I hope by sorting out some of the actions in the above paragraphs gives you some understanding of what’s going on in the entire book. Everything is woven together, jumping from one thread to another. That’s not unusual in books, but because there are so many characters it’s hard sometimes to figure out who’s doing what. Or at least it is/was for me.
This is a good series and I’ll continue reading it with book 4, “Risky Alliance”, which is already on my reading list.