Humanity is losing the war. The once-mighty space navies have been crippled, officers and crew have been stretched to the limit and Earth herself has come under heavy attack. The end cannot be long delayed. For Admiral Smith and the crew of HMS Ark Royal, the stakes have never been so high.
The one hope is to make contact with alien factions that might oppose the war. But, as Ark Royal sets off on a desperate diplomatic mission, it rapidly becomes clear that there are both human and alien factions that wish to fight the war to the bitter end – and that her previous missions have sown the seeds of success … or total failure.
There is no doubt whatsoever that this is a great book and a good ending to the Ark Royal trilogy even though it is somewhat tragic.
The book takes off immediately after the events in the previous book and conditions on Earth are somewhat apocalyptic to say the least. All our familiar faces from the previous books are present and accounted for, including the ones the rest of humanity thinks are dead. Needless to say the latter place a crucial role in the story.
As usual the characters are great, the story compelling and the action good. As is usually the case when it comes to alien invasions, they in themselves are never really enough. Almost every author seems to be compelled to show off humanity’s treacherous nature and I would say downright stupidity by including some despicable saboteur or other dark plot. So also in this book. Unlike a lot of books today it is not some muslim faction or communist China that plays the bad guys but Mr. Nuttall has awoken the good old trusty Russian bear. I guess it goes together with recent times. To be honest Mr. Nuttall gives them a believable reason for their actions although I still think they are behaving like idiots.
This book exposes much more of the aliens, their reasoning and, perhaps most importantly, the actual reason for the war. Gradually the book works itself up for the grand finale which, not surprisingly, becomes a showdown between Ark Royal and the alien warmongers. The outcome? Well I do not think that I spoil too much when I say that the outcome is satisfactory…for humanity…but unfortunately not for all the people involved. I am afraid that I am a bit of a simpleton when it comes to book and movie endings. I want happy endings and this one was bit of a mixed feeling.
Regardless of this, this is a great book and, despite its tragic bits, a good ending to the Ark Royal trilogy.