Seventy years ago, the interstellar supercarrier Ark Royal was the pride of the Royal Navy. But now, her weapons are outdated and her solid-state armour nothing more than a burden on her colossal hull. She floats in permanent orbit near Earth, a dumping ground for the officers and crew the Royal Navy wishes to keep out of the public eye.
But when a deadly alien threat appears, the modern starships built by humanity are no match for the powerful alien weapons. Ark Royal and her mismatched crew must go on the offensive, buying time with their lives And yet, with a drunkard for a Captain, an over-ambitious first officer and a crew composed of reservists and the dregs of the service, do they have even the faintest hope of surviving …
… And returning to an Earth which may no longer be there?
This is only the second book from Christopher Nuttall that I have read. The first one, Sufficiently Advanced Technology, was a good book. This one was great!
I like the basic story. First contact is made and they are not friendly. Nothing like an alien invasion to spice up a science fiction book. The aliens rather easily smash the modern human ships who, thanks to politician’s short-sighted urge to cut costs are simply too fragile to stand against the enemy which, just to add to the problems, are technologically superior. Humanity’s only hope is the old carrier Ark Royal, the last of the human ships still built with solid armor and her aging crew who is the only ones who can run her.
This is a solid space adventure with plenty of space battles and enjoyable characters. The actual combat is well done and the physics is believable…for a science fiction book of course. I would not hesitate to compare this book to work like Star Carrier by Ian Douglas or Odyssey One by Evan C. Currie. Both are book series that I like quite a lot.
I actually find very little not to like with this book. If I should try to come up with something it would probably be the dumbass journalists that the Captain is forced to take with him. I hate journalists just as much as politicians. 9 out of 10 of them are lying assholes with a political agenda that happily profits from other people’s misery. Said journalists do not really play a very prominent role in the book though apart from two of them which are not too bad.
The last parts of the book felt that they was a wee bit rushed though. Not only learning to understand alien technology but learning to adapt and use it in such a short time was a bit over the top. It almost felt like there was an urge to finish the book within a certain time or within a certain number of pages.
These are minor complaints though. On the whole this is a great book. As it stands today it is not part of a book series but the war against the aliens are far from over. At the end of the book the author asks the reader whether or not we would like a sequel and, since the author has a WordPress blog, I wrote a comment on the entry for Ark Royal saying that a sequel would be appreciated. Apparently I was not the only one appreciating the book since I got a reply stating that a sequel was in the works.