This is a British-based story. Being an American, I can sometimes get confused with British terminology especially with their Admiralty stuff. I’m not exactly sure what constitutes some one in the Admiralty. I would have thought that it would only be comprised of Admirals, but no, our very capable Captain Jess Tolvern of the HMS Blackbeardappears to be part of the Admiralty, but I’m not sure why; nor doe it make any difference, I guess.
The HMS Blackbeard was scouting shipping lanes back towards Old Earth when they had come upon a derelict ship adrift in space and didn’t recognize it’s origin. At that time, Captain Tolvern took an away team to search the derelict to see if they could find where it came from and what had happened to it. During her mission, unknown ships came out of slip-space and began to attack the Blackbeard. It fought hard and managed to barely drive off the attackers, but only after suffering some serious damage. Admiral James Drake was commanding the small flotilla that consisted of the Blackbeardand several other support ships. When Captain Tolvern managed to return to the Blackbear, she found that the ships bridge had been pretty much destroyed. The Admiral had been miraculously recovered by one of the crew even though he had some sever and life-threatening burns. It should also be noted that Admiral James Drake was also Captain Jess Tolven’s husband!
So now she is in command. Apparently, and this is where I get confused, Captain Tolvern’s home planet of Albion had just recently fought and won a war against the Apex. Earth’s old colonies had lost contact with the home world and previous to the Apex War, had fought amongst themselves. They had to unite in order to stand against the Apex. So, in the current Blackbeard flotilla were ships belonging to some kind of old Earth Vikings, and an alien race called the Hroom. The Captain of the lead Viborg ship, the Boghammer, was Ulfgar Svensen and he wasn’t accustomed to taking orders from women. And to make matters worse, an Albion officer by the rank and name of Lieutenant Elizabeth Kelly, had been assigned as “liaison” to the Boghammerby Admiral Drake. While these “Vikings” were part of a new alliance, the Albions didn’t necessarily understand that when the Viborg gave their word to abide by an agreement, that’s what they did. They resented Lt Kelly’s presence on their ship and that caused all sorts of problems later on. It was interesting to see how this problem was worked out.
So, now HMS Blackbeard is trapped in a system with very little resources. The ships of the small flotilla have been shot up pretty bad and they do not know when this new enemy will return. And to make matters worse, it appears this new enemy knows how to collapse slip-gates and has done so to the gate serving the Persia system where about a third of the Albion fleet was residing. So, reinforcements are going to be very few and very short if they get any at all. What Captain Tolvern has now is what she will have to fight with the next time the enemy shows up. You can be assured that they will show up again and with a much bigger force.
Lots of good space warfare. A lot of it was confusing as is most large battles, but things got accomplished well and not so well. How Jess Tolvern handles the battles ahead of her is pretty remarkable considering she is also worrying about her dying husband. They have him in stasis right now, but much find a doctor and a facility that can begin his long recovery if that can be done at all.
I found the names of the ships and the different civilizations kind of confusing. I wasn’t sure if they were from Old Earth or were still trying to find it. I don’t know that it matters anyway, but wherever they are, it’s not in the Solar System. I’m not sure if I’ll continue reading this series; there’s just something that doesn’t appeal to me about the whole story. Still, I would recommend you read this first book and make up your own mind.