Captain Jacob Mercer and the USS Phoenix barely escape with their lives from the Imperial ambush at Liberty Station, and soon find themselves orbiting the frontier world Destiny, a forbidding planet infested with pirate gangs. With critically unstable engines, Jake is forced to seek raw material for badly needed repairs before the ruthless Admiral Trajan tracks them down.
A MYSTERY DEEPENS…
As they negotiate with the pirates, the crew learns some uncomfortable truths about their hero, Admiral Pritchard, and that Trajan’s plans may not stop at the destruction of the Resistance. Before long, Jake and his team find themselves at the mercy of the most despised class in the Thousand Worlds: slavers.
AND SACRIFICES MUST BE MADE.
With the Captain stranded on the dusty planet below, Commander Megan Po leads the Phoenix in one more deadly showdown with Admiral Trajan, and comes face to face with her most dreaded nightmare: sending people under her charge to die.
Quite okay light reading in the science fiction / action genre. The books follows more or less directly from The Terran Gambit, the first book in The Pax Humana series. The rather badly mauled Phoenix is on the run from Admiral Trajan and his cronies and of course in need for supplies. Not a very original story of course but a working one.
The book is enjoyable to read. The writing is quite okay and I would say that it has improved somewhat from the first book. With the exception of the temporary bad guys introduced in this book the characters are the same which means that they are quite good, both the heroes and the nasty main villain, Admiral Trajan. The story itself is a bit of a shift from the story in the first book in that instead of involving some major fleet action we have ventured into the realm of lone ship running away and most of the story develops on the ground of the planet, Destiny. Personally I am more in favor of the major fleet action.
Also, the way this story went I am now wondering whether this is going to be a endless string of adventures with a red thread going through them for sure but where we still never really see the end. I really hope that intention for the series is that Jake and the Phoenix recovers, builds some muscle (as in a proper fleet) and proceeds to dish out some ass-whooping to the empire within a reasonably limited series of books.
The author is throwing around the “grand plan” of the Emperor quite a lot. I hope that, when it is finally revealed, it measures up to the expectations that the author is building.
Bottom line is that this is quite enjoyable reading although I am a bit worried that it might turn into a never ending Fugitive / Battlestar Galactica type of story.