“Evil hides best in the shadows, preferring to work in the darkness. It withers and dies when exposed to the bright light of truth for all to see.”
~ Vice Admiral Jack Steele
Book 3 in the Wings of Steele series. With the Freedom gone forever, Jack Steele is awarded a new ship and a new position. A newly minted Vice Admiral, Jack Steele replaces the functionally insane Admiral Pottsdorn as the commander of Task Force Lancer.
Leaving behind a stabilized and closely monitored Veloria Prime bound for the Terran system, their new mission is to invite Earth into the United Federation of Worlds. And the UFW Directorate will accept nothing less than success. But trouble brews on Earth and the deep space between Velora Prime and the Terran System is anything but friendly.
This is another very enjoyable book in the Wings of Steele series. The previous books were quite focused on Jack Steele himself. Jack is now an Admiral and as a consequence he can no longer be the central character of the book the in same way as in the two first ones. That is not to say that he doesn’t do his best to try though. That Admirals do not take part in landing parties and in general go gung-ho on dangerous missions…well I guess someone forgot to tell Jack that when they made him Admiral.
However I guess that is what contributes to make the book fun reading, that Jack can, to some extent, continue to be the gung-ho adventurer that we got to know him as in the previous books. The fact that he is also and Admiral with a fleet, although a rather small fleet I have to say, backing him up is kind of mixing the best of two worlds.
The book is quite well written although at times I felt that the decisions and actions were a bit ad-hoc and illogical. However the book is spending a lot of time following Jack’s friends back on Earth and how they are chased by government (or are they?) thugs. In one sense this is good since it means that, despite this being the third book in the series, we get some of those wow-aliens-ufos-and-all-that-shit-is-real surprise effects that I quite like. In most books of this type those are gone after the first book.
However, personally, I think this being chased and running around back on Earth is taking a bit too much space in the book. Also, the author starts to spin a web of conspiracies inside and outside of governments which at one point were starting to get silly to the extent that I was reaching for my trusty tinfoil hat. I left it on the shelf though since towards the end the author tied that part of the story into other events in the previous book in a way that was perhaps not the most convincing but at least satisfactory.
I would say that those two things are the main reasons that I gave this book a wee bit lower rating than the previous one. These are of course quite a bit personal preferences and other readers might love the “fugitive” parts back on Earth.
On the whole this is an enjoyable book though (although based on some of the content some people in countries like Iran and North-Korea might have a different opinion of course 🙂 ). There are plenty of adventure and action. The characters are likable and the book makes you keep wanting to follow them from one adventurous task to the next. Even though the book does not exactly end mid-air, it does have quite a bit of conclusion, it does indeed fire of somewhat of a fairly big cliffhanger on the last page. It is a decent enough cliffhanger though since it rather starts the next book off as opposed to leaving this one hanging in the air.
I for one are hoping that there will be a fourth Wings of Steele book.