Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the Solar System…
Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is North American Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go.
After surviving a disastrous space-borne assault, Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony—and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun.
Andrew Grayson’s adventures continues in Lines of Departure. This book series is yet another of those apocalyptic visions of our future were incompetent politicians have created an unsustainable welfare state which is about to come crashing down on them. Well, at least that is pretty much the backdrop. The book is, luckily, not really about said welfare state but about Andrew Grayson, his (mis)adventures in the North American Defense Corps and, of course, about the fact that Earth is about to be steamrolled over by the planet grabbing aliens from the first book.
Of course the humans cannot (yet) unite even when faced with such a dire threat and it does not help that a good chunk of the political as well as military leadership are incompetents assholes. The book blurb states that Andrew’s ship is packed with malcontents and troublemakers. I would say that this is not entirely correct. It is packed with people that opens their mouth when previously mentioned assholes gives them irresponsible and even immoral orders. Anyway, as you may guess it all ends up in a big clusterfuck at which time the aliens make their timely appearance. That is of course when it is time to bring out the really big guns. To bad they have to find one first…
The book is well written and it feels more focused than the previous book. Andrew is not jumping around all the time for instance. Well, he is being given assignments making him fly all over the place but he is not changing his role dramatically as he did in the last book and which I found a bit far-fetched. The action is not bad at all. A fair amount of the book is non-combat oriented though and Andrew spends quite some time with his mother and doing a lot of talking about the sad state of the more and more dysfunctional society around him. As I wrote, it was quite well written and it did not bother me too much but all the dialogue as well as monologue about this was sometimes on the limit of being a bit too much.
The book ends with quite a bit of fireworks as well as some surprises and a rather big cliffhanger. I cannot say that the cliffhanger surprised me enormously though and it will be interesting to see what will happen next. One thing that annoyed me tremendously was the fact that, despite knowing the threat there seemed to have been little work going on to actually counter it. Sure a few improvements to weapons and suits but nothing really worth much. Several years were supposed to have passed after all and the basic science behind the fireworks at the end of this book was not really very innovative in that anyone could have figured that one out and it would be rather easy to make a much more efficient “real” weapon along those lines.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable book and I have put Frontlines #3 on my to read list already.