A strike group of the dozen most advanced ships in the Alliance is assembled and sent to a summit of the remaining great powers of Orion. It is a measure of the reputation and military prowess of humanity that they are to be allowed to participate in joint exercises with the Narau Navy, a combined military force made up of ships from the five alien empires. At the same time a diplomatic mission lands on the surface of the planet to meet with the leaders in the Helion Council.
The heart of this strike group is ANS Conqueror, the first battlecruiser to be constructed since the destruction of CCS Crusader in the Great Uprising. In a shocking move, the ship is attacked with overwhelming force while orbiting Helios and is sent crashing through the world’s atmosphere and down toward the urban sprawl that is populated by billions of citizens. As the hulk plummets down, it starts a diplomatic incident that could ignite hostilities between people that have so recently called each other friends.
Light years away from the politics and strife of Helios lies a fleet of ships with a Biomech command ship and its cargo of tortured prisoners. Some of these poor souls have been trapped there for months while others for much, much longer. Deep within this ship is a single prison cell that holds a man who dreams of escape and vengeance against those that seek to break him.
This is the third book in the Star Crusades Nexus series. I have quite enjoyed the other books in the series which I consider to be solid book although perhaps not fantastic ones. Unfortunately, I think this book started to turn down a road which I am not too happy with.
As with the previous books in this series there is plenty of action. The Jötnar and Spartan is fun reading as always although it detracts a bit from the fun that Spartan and his buddies spends pretty much all of the book being prisoners to the Biomechs. Likewise is it fun to read about Major Morato and Gun (another Jötnar) whip a bunch of disillusioned marines into shape.
What I do not like with this book though is that the story is going into the land of cheap soap opera stories. The Biomech threat hangs over the entire galaxy and yet, when the humans, who clearly is a combat asset, comes to Helios they step right into a mess of political bickering, plotting and betrayal. The Helios’ do not even hesitate to destroy important military assets of a potential new ally to resolve their own domestic “issues”. This is just so much nonsense not to mention so-not-fun-to-read. To me this took away a lot of the appeal of the book.
Just for fun the Biomechs add a bit of plotting and scheming of their own at the end of the book which also constitutes a good chunk of the obligatory cliff-hanger and added to the soap opera feeling I got when reading this book.
There are still good parts in this book but the overall story did certainly not appeal to me. Given the name of the fourth book, The Great Betrayal, I’m not sure that I am in the mood to pick that one up right now. I think I will read something else first.