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5 Small Stars

It’s been over a year since I last read a book in this series. I don’t know why I never got back to it other than it might have just been released. I don’t know, but I did read it last night and it’s a good continuation to a story that’s been going on for a long, long time.

The Earth is in a desperate struggle against the Swarm. Nothing really is known about the Swarm, just that they are terribly advanced and powerful. They first came to notice about 30 years ago, which was known as the First Swarm War. Earth was pretty much devastated then and has taken all of the past 30 years to get well. Now the Swarm appears to be back.

The Swarm has or had the ability to take over different alien races and make them do their fighting. The Valarasi and Dolmasi were two such races and the Swarm control also included select humans. So, not only was the Earth fleet fighting against the Swarm, but also against two other alien races. There was a third race, the Skiohra who weren’t especially threatening, but they also weren’t very helpful. The First Swarm War was followed by a smaller episode still named the Second Swarm War, when the Swarm suddenly showed up and then left.

In the first Swarm War, Captain Tim Granger was the hero of the day. He had the bad habit of taking wounded fleet starships and throwing them into the Swarm ships and then detonating the Earth starships Q-drive. This certainly destroyed the Swarm ship and of course, every soul on the Earth ship. Still Captain Granger managed to hold off the Swarm and he eventually devised and executed a plan to get rid of the Swarm from this universe. Only thing is, it required him to fly his starship into a black hole with all the Swarm following. It worked, but now the Swarm is back and so is Captain Tim Granger!

But, this Tim Granger isn’t the same fire-brand he was many years ago. He’s been through a lot and it has aged him greatly, not in body, but in mind. He has no idea of how to get rid of the Swarm this time. It’s up to Admiral Shelby Proctor to figure out a plan and get it executed in a very short time. The plan she comes up with actually belonged to a young Lieutenant star-fighter and it was definitely pretty harebrained. At first it was thrown out as impossible to do in the time they had, but when no one could come up with any other viable plans, a second look helped to flesh out some details to the Lieutenant’s plan. It could just work. This plan also involved a black hole, but it was hoped that no one would have to travel through it like Time Granger had done. This plan also required all three races, the Valarasi, Dolmasi, Skiohra, and Humans to work together against the Swarm. That alone was going to be a major problem.

This series has shifted from being about Captain Timothy Granger and his exploits to Admiral Shelby Proctor. Admiral Proctor once served under Captain Granger, although she was a scientist rather than a starship tactician. But, she learned over the years and eventually became the Fleet Admiral and then shortly afterwards, retired to teach. Now with the Swarm back, she was quickly called back to active duty and she had her hands full. I don’t mind reading about Shelby Proctor since she was around when Tim Granger was doing his thing, but it’s kind of strange reading about Captain Granger when he was supposed to have died some thirty years ago. You’ll need to read the book to find out how he has survived all those years and how he can even be alive now. It’s kind of interesting, although it’s more of a side feature of this story.

There doesn’t appear to be an end to Admiral Shelby Proctors story nor is the author done with Tim Granger. The end of this book does reference to more to come.

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