Matt Dragoneaux the Vigilante hits the star lanes with a fleet of T’Chak Dreadnought warships, aiming to defeat a two million year-old military machine that runs the galaxy for the Anarchate, a ruthless commercial combine that says anarchy is profitable. To that end the Anarchate allows cloneslavery for people, both human and alien. Matt hates the cloneslave harvesters who kidnapped his parents and sisters when he was just 16. Now, with the support of his lifemate Eliana, the AI Mata Hari who resembles the WWI spy and the winged dragon BattleMind, he attacks the Anarchate.
But the Anarchate battleglobes are led by an alien captain as sneaky and inventive as Matt. They fight each other with dueling antimatter beams, thermonuke assault sleds and Sun Glow beams that turn planets into miniature stars. Matt finds there is a cost to fighting a war—the lives of artificial intelligences with real emotions are at risk. As are Eliana and his fellow human pilots. Can he be more than a solo Vigilante? Can he ignite a crusade against cloneslavery? And can he lead a real war with pain and casualties? Or will hope, justice and freedom disappear from the galaxy?
This book follows straight from the previous one in the Vigilante Series. Matt gets command of the 500+ T’Chak Dreadnought which means that it is clobbertime. With this book the story has now expanded from the original lone vigilante to a regular war where fleets of 100+ capital ships clash.
The action is as done in the rather special hyper accelerated time of the AI’s which Matt, being a cyborg, can enter for short periods of time. This makes the action in this book a bit different from most science fiction novels which, to me, is a good thing. It makes the book more interesting to read. Matt and the other “organics” interaction with the T’Chak AI’s is another thing that makes this book stick out a bit from the crowd and makes it a fun read.
The book advances the story nicely and during the course of the book we also follow the Anarchate in their attempts to stop Matt. We do not only get to follow his direct adversaries but also get a few glimpses of the bigger scope of the Anarchate and the huge machinery that Matt have just pushed into motion by his actions.
In general this is a well read-worthy book with plenty of action, enjoyable characters (including the AI’s) and a bit of a special touch from the AI and Cyborg elements that, in my limited experience at least, makes the series stick out a bit from the average crowd of science fiction novels.