Victoria’s fate hangs by a thread.
The Dominion’s surprise attack was almost a total success. Victoria’s home world was captured. Victoria’s vaunted Second Fleet was annihilated, its Third Fleet shattered. The Home Fleet fought a bitter and bloody rear-guard action as Queen Anne and the space station Atlas fled to Refuge, but now they are trapped there. The Dominion fleet batters at the worm hole defenses and its strength increases every day. The Victorian forces are not strong enough to fight their way out. It is a war of attrition that Victoria cannot win.
But an unexpected ally holds a millennia-old secret, a secret that offers a chance of survival…if Queen Anne and Admiral Douthat are bold enough. In order to exploit this opportunity, Admiral Douthat must divide the already weak Victorian forces and launch an audacious attack. If they succeed they could blunt the Dominion advance and buy precious time.
If they lose, they lose everything.
This book is definitely my cup of tea. Military space opera just the way I want it. If I should compare it to something else what comes to mind is David webers Honor Harrington series (quite a bit less talk, talk, talk in Alarm of War though) or Doug Dandridge’s Empires At War series. The two books in this series is perhaps a wee bit less complex in terms of the universe and the characters. They also move the story along at a faster pace. It was not until the seventh book that our heores started to really kick back in Empires at War after all. In Alarm of War we get to that stage already in this, the second, book in the series.
After the first book (which I also liked quite a lot) I was a bit worried that it would turn into some perpetual being on the run series a’la Battlestar Galactica. Luckily this is not the way it plays out. It looks like the Victorians are trapped but not everything is as it seams and the Dominions are in for a few nasty surprises. To put it simply it is payback time.
The book is very good. Well written with a nice balance between the various parts although a good chunk of it is action of course. We get single ship action, fleet action and marine action interspersed with Cookie fighting for survival on the Dominion prison ship and Emily having a “vacation” on Refuge. All intermix in bringing the main story arc forwards of course and all of it was very enjoyable reading.
Since a third book is already in the writing I was almost expecting this one to end in a big cliffhanger but to my surprise it does not really. Sure, the author throws in a huge teaser just at the end but it is not really a cliffhanger. The book have a clear, and as far as I am concerned satisfactory, ending. However, the author was rather liberal in spreading around hints that some other players might dip their dirty toes in the swamp of interstellar politics and conquering. Well, I am not sure that will go entirely as planned.
I am indeed looking forward to the next book in the series. I hope that the wait will not be as long as between book one and two.