It is the year 2315, the 33rd year of the Krag Wars. The tide has been running against humankind and its allies. One small destroyer, the USS Cumberland, under the command of its young Cajun skipper, Max Robichaux, fights along with the rest of the Union and Allied navies to preserve the very existence of the human race.
Having delivered the Union’s response to the Krag ultimatum, the USS Cumberland is ambushed on its way home by an overwhelmingly powerful enemy task force. Max, with the brilliant Dr. Ibrahim Sahin at his side as ship’s surgeon, adviser, and friend, must use all his skill to defeat the enemy, only to find that Admiral Hornmeyer has an even more challenging mission for the destroyer and her intrepid crew.
The Cumberland must slip deep into enemy held space and attack a key fuel and supply depot that the Krag must have to defeat an upcoming Union and allied offensive. And, if Max and his crew survive that, they must then hunt down a brilliant and elusive Krag commander, code named “Admiral Birch” to prevent him from masterminding the Krag defense to the impending attack.
Oh, and one more thing, not only is Admiral Birch hopping from star system to star system in an armed convoy, there is a very good chance that the whole mission is an elaborate trap designed to destroy the Cumberland and kill its promising new commander.
This is another very enjoyable book in the Man Of War series. Not unsurprisingly it continues he adventures of Max Robichaux and his, now, firmly established crew. Unfortunately I read this book when I was in Sweden attending my fathers funeral and I did not really have the time (or tools) to write a review at that time so I am writing this from memory and my memory have a tendency to be coated with Teflon at times.
In any case, it was nice to make the acquaintance of Max Robichaux and his friends again. As with the previous book the space combat is excellent. The dialogue is entertaining although I got the impression that it was less inspired than in the previous books. Actually I felt that the entire book was a bit more “just” jumping from one adventure scene to another than the previous ones. It also felt shorter. It is still a great book but it did not reach the wow-standard that Mr. Honsinger managed to set with the previous one. But then that was a tall order to match. This is still a great book as far as I am concerned.
There are still a great number of really good episodes. Quite early in the book there are some great space combat and Max gets himself both in and out of some serious pickle. He also has to manage a few challenges to his authority. The loud mouthed Admiral is back as well. I must say that I quite like this character even though he mostly manages by distance and through some rather indirect means in this book.
I enjoyed the book immensely and I certainly hope that Mr. Honsinger continues the series. Especially given the ending which leaves Max and his crew in quite a bit of a mess.