Indian ships have invaded three British-held systems and Indian troops have occupied British colonies, forcing Britain to choose between war and shame. The Royal Navy, battered by the fires of the First Interstellar War and desperately trying to recover from the terrifying casualties, must launch a counterattack and recover the colonies.
For HMS Warspite – and a task force of British warships – the stakes have never been so high. If the Royal Navy loses, Britain will be humiliated and the global power system will shift catastrophically, but even victory may come with too high a price. Pushed to the limits, the Royal Navy must take the offensive and determine the outcome quickly …
… Before the Indian gambit triggers off a civil war that will rip the human sphere apart.
As usual books from Christopher Nuttall are a fairly safe bet. Well, I guess it depends on your reading preferences of course but personally I quite like the books from this author and this one is no exception. Mr Nuttall often spins his stories from real world situations and events. Sometimes the link is rather direct and sometimes the link is somewhat stretched and quite embellished in the fictional parts of the book. In this book the influences from the Falklands war as well as the geopolitical state of the world in general (with quite a bit of fictional extrapolation into the future of course) are fairly obvious.
The book continues the story as it was left in the previous book in the series. If I should compare the two then this one is a more traditional military space opera. The story follows a fairly logical path given the events so far and there are really not many surprises along the way. The war breaks out of course and we get to follow it both in space and on the ground.
Warspite and its crew is of course present although they do not have such a central role as in the previous books. Nevertheless their contribution to the war effort is significant. Several other people from previous books are also back and, as usual, the characters and the story is good and well written.
The book was a pleasant read although it felt a bit more like a “standard” book in the genre than some of Mr Nuttall’s work which have been a bit more wow-inspiring. Still, it is quite high on the upper half on the scale though and the overall story of the book was definitely my cup of tea. The two warring factions do, naturally, have a few aces up their sleeves to prevent the action to be “just” a slug feast but, as I wrote, none of them were too surprising. The fact that there is a nice conclusion and a fairly happy ending, well not for the bad guys of course, is a plus as well. Some of Mr Nuttall’s books are having a somewhat dark tone and not so happy endings. This book is quite firmly in the other camp.
Something that annoys me a lot though are these idiot politicians that not only seems to be unable to collaborate but even starts wars when they continue their squabbling and pissing contents despite the fact that they have now realised that the humans are not alone in the universe and that there is a clear and present danger to the survival of the human race. Unfortunately that is probably a less fictional and more realistic part of the book though given the utter nincompoops that manages to get themselves elected over and over again in real life.
Bottom line, this is a very good book and I would not mind if Mr Nuttall continued with the stories in the Ark Royal universe. If nothing else I would really like to see one of those new Vanguard ships become reality and dish out some pain against whoever or whatever that got in their path.