Captain Jake Mercer and the crew of the Phoenix finally escape from Admiral Trajan’s relentless pursuit, hoping for some much needed rest and supplies. But while in the Oberon system the 51st brigade decides to make its move against Captain Mercer in revenge for the murder of one of its soldiers. Jake must enlist the help of a local paramilitary organization to not only regain his ship, but also to fight off the Vikorhov Federation, one of Admiral Trajan’s surrogates in the sector.
And all the while Ben’s mind is slowly re-written by the picobots, making him not only a danger to his enemies, but to his closest friends.
I felt that the first book in this series had some promise although already when I reviewed that one I was worried that it would turn into a never ending, being on the run, Fugitive / Battlestar Galactica type of story. Unfortunately this seems to be excactly the direction this series is taking.
The book plays out like a not too expensive TV-series. Our heroes fumble and stumble into one mess after another and their ship gets shot to pieces no matter where they go. That could still be a good story but I find Captain Mercer’s unprofessional behavior rather frustrating. He leaves one pickle just to clumsily walk into another rather obvious one. Actually, more than one. He has zero concept of military strategy, discipline or security. Especially the latter. A skilled captain would not constantly walk into the messes and obvious traps that Captain Mercer does.
This makes it difficult to want to relate to the lead character. He has little character that makes you want to follow him. Actually most of the characters in the book are fairly flat, uncharismatic and uninterresting. The story is quite a rollercoaster ride of action, sabotage, treason and various plot twists. Unfortunately I felt that the book did little to advance the main story arc.
What I hoped, after having read the first book, was that Captain Mercer would organize some resistance, gather a real fleet and then start to strike back against the Empire. However, now after the third book, he is still stumbling on his own feet and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. I am afraid that I am starting to loose interrest in The Pax Humana Saga.