Ark Royal – the Royal Navy’s outdated space carrier – has won a smashing victory against the enigmatic aliens, capturing one of their starships and returning to Earth. Now, Admiral Theodore Smith and his crew are assigned to command a fleet charged with making a deep-penetration raid into alien territory, a fleet made up of carriers from four different nations.
But with a crewman who isn’t what he seems, untested pilots and international friction – and a new and dangerous alien plan – can Ted and his crew survive their mission … or will they die, alone and unremarked, hundreds of light years from home?
The Nelson Touch continues the story started in Ark Royal. As you can see from my review of Ark Royal I thought it was a great book. This book is a worthy sequel. It has many of the same, likable, characters and they are of course as well done as in the previous book.
As the book blurb states, this time we follow the old carrier Ark Royal when she and a small fleet goes on the offensive in order to try to divert the aliens attention from Earth. Quite a bit of the book deals with various interpersonal relations. These parts are not my favorite parts and if I should criticize something it would be that I could do with a bit less of that. The “crewman who isn’t what he seems” helps make some of these parts interesting though. Speaking of said crewman, that part was not what I thought it would be. I was afraid that part of the story would be something completely different and more negative. Obviously I cannot divulge much without spoiling the book though. The book blurb also talks about “international friction” but there really was not too much of that in the book, which I am thankful for.
Naturally there is a good chunk of action in the book as well. As with the previous book these parts are well done and as believable as one can ask from a science fiction book. I do have a bit of a gripe with the idea of capturing a planet and start to dig in with the knowledge that they, with almost certainty, would have to abandon it rather shortly. The entire mission was supposed to be a raid and not an invasion after all. Normally one would have thought that they would just grab everything of interest and get out of there? That bit felt a bit less well thought through even though it was well written. That is a minor issue though.
The book ends in a, not too surprising, cliffhanger. I hate cliffhangers! Okay, okay, as I wrote it is not a surprising one and it does not cut the story in half. The book ends the story in a reasonable place but still…grumble grumble. Anyway, this is yet another really good book from Mr. Nuttall and I will certainly pick up the next one (which I would have done also without the cliffhanger of course :-)).