Ten thousand years ago, a single alien super-ship survived a desperate battle. The vessel’s dying crew set the AI on automatic to defend the smashed rubble of their planet. Legend has it the faithful ship continues to patrol the empty battlefield, obeying its last order throughout the lonely centuries.
In the here and now, Earth needs a miracle. Out of the Beyond invade the New Men, stronger, faster and smarter than the old. Their superior warships and advanced technology destroy every fleet sent to stop them. Their spies have infiltrated the government and traitors plague Earth’s military.
Captain Maddox of Star Watch Intelligence wonders if the ancient legend could be true. Would such an old starship be able to face the technology of the New Men?
On the run from killers, Maddox searches for a group of talented misfits. He seeks Keith Maker, a drunken ex-strikefighter ace, Doctor Dana Rich the clone thief stuck on a prison planet and Lieutenant Valerie Noonan, the only person to have faced the New Men in battle and survived to tell about it.
Maddox has to find a place hidden in the Beyond and bring back a ship no one can enter. If he fails, the New Men will replace the old. If he succeeds, humanity might just have a fighting chance…
This is indeed a quite enjoyable science fiction adventure. I would not exactly call it hard science fiction but nevertheless the action, ship movements and tactics are plausible for a science fiction novel.
Although the main story is one of war between entities spanning numerous worlds the core story is one of a small team of heroes, sometimes quite unwilling ones, embarking on a quest to find the legendary starship, which has given the title of book. It is an interesting mix of, mostly likable, characters that are having very different personalities. Their quest is an adventurous one which spans various tasks like escaping the traitors in the commonwealth, getting themselves in and out of a prison planet and, of course, finding the previously mentioned starship (and surviving the encounter).
I fail to see why so many people seems to dislike this book according to the reviews. Yes it is a bit of simple pulp fiction but I have definitely read much worse stories. It is a good adventure story. It is a fairly light and quick read but, at least as far as I am concerned, it is an enjoyable story. A good mix of adventure, action and a decent enough background plot.
The final encounter with the lost starship was perhaps a bit of an anticlimax though in that, I felt, that it was not really the powerful warship that I was hoping for. Granted, it was not operating at full capacity and it was still powerful and it will, if the author so decides, have a fairly large impact on the future war. I could also have been without some of the “The New Men have infiltrated more or less everything” parts of the story but then, that is just a story type that I am not so found of. Nevertheless I am definitely looking forward to read the next instalment in the series.