No One Is Safe During a War of Extermination. Especially the Civilians. Rebecca Goldman was a bright and pretty child, a twelve year old with a loving family. Technology allowed them to live comfortably on the most dangerous planet in the Empire, Azure. And then the Ca’cadasans came, and it was suddenly survival of the fittest out in the wilderness. Losing everything, Rebecca has only herself to depend on in a jungle where everything is an enemy. Cornelius Walborski just wanted to killed Cacas. After losing his wife to the aliens on Sestius, he trains to become a Ranger, the augmented warriors of the Imperial Army. He has never seen anything like Azure, but there are Cacas to hunt, and a mission to perform. Two unlikely survivors find themselves thrust together, where the man will save the child, and save himself at the same time.
Doug Dandridge have done it again. I have to admit that I was concerned as to whether I was going to like this book since the author have pointed out that this book was going to be all planet-based, which I do not like that much, as opposed to previous books which have had a fair to large amount of space-based action, which I like a lot, in them.
I am happy to write that, despite this, I really really liked this book. The book is as well written as the previous books. It is also of a decent size unlike many books which, despite perhaps being good, are finished way too quickly. The book can be said to be a bit of a side-story from the main story arc in the series. It is not that it does not involve the war against the Ca’cadasans but it zooms in on the adventures of two people whose faith converge on one of the occupied planets. The big picture is not very present in this book nor is the emperor although he makes some appearances.
Quite a bit of the book is dedicated to the military training of Walborski and subsequent “enhancements” to become a ranger. In latter parts of the book when Walborski are deployed to Azure the author have built an interesting and dangerous world of beasts and animal-plant hybrids. As in the previous books we get a few glimpses of the other side as well and a new and interesting race is also introduced. The entire package, the training, the story of Rebecca, Walborski encounters with the emperor, the combat action, the little romance that is snuck into the story etc. etc. is so much fun to read.
When I had finished the previous book I was hoping that we would get into pay-back mode and that the humans where going to start to strike back. Well, the humans were certainly dishing out some pay-back in this book but it was not really the push-them-back kind of offensive that I was hoping for. Despite this, I am not disappointed. This was a great book to read and I am already looking forward to the next book in the series.