Peace is not freedom. Peace is merely the absence of war.
The First Interstellar War is over, but the Royal Navy still has plenty of work to do. As Earth struggles to recover from the bombardment, Captain John Naiser is placed in command of HMS Warspite – an experimental heavy cruiser – and ordered to escort a squadron of colony ships to a star system of immense strategic importance.
But as the crew struggle to survive hundreds of light years from Earth, they find themselves dealing with the legacy of the war … and a threat which may sow the seeds of renewed conflict, or a deadly civil war that will rip the human sphere apart.
This book starts a new story arc in Christopher Nuttall’s Ark Royal universe. The war is over, for now, and humanity is recovering in the aftermath. As the blurb states the book introduces John Naiser, a newly appointed Captain on a new heavy cruiser with new and untried technology. They embark on what should have been a “simple” mission of claiming and supporting a new colony. Naturally not everything goes as planned and the mission parameters expand rather drastically over the course of the book.
It is a quite enjoyable book. It is a bit different in structure from the previous books in the series. You do not absolutely need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one although it certainly helps knowing the background. Where the previous books had a very distinct story and a distinct goal to works towards this one is more laying the groundwork for more stories to come. The story and the universe evolves as we go along for the ride. Problems and events of widely varying nature such as sabotage, natural floods, discovery of new … well you have to read the book to learn what they discover, unsuitable officers etc. etc. are thrown at the captain as the voyage continues.
It is a fun read although it of course have the advantages and disadvantages of being a bit of set-up book. There is that “new” feeling in new characters and new stories being introduced/started of course. There is also the feeling that most of the story was just to set up the scenario for the next book. Nevertheless, as I wrote, I did quite enjoy the book. Even though it was a bit of set-up over it, it was well done, never really felt like it dragged and a reasonable amount of action both on the ground and in space.
I assume there will be more coming in this series and I am looking forward to it.