The year is 2126 it has been 30 years since Iran nuked Washington DC. America has traded security for liberty following the attack with the suspension of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution is not even taught in school any more. In this environment, Dan “D2” Daniels, a retired Army NCO of the old breed sworn to protect the constitution finds a crashed space ship and learns at the same time Earth will soon be invaded.
Using the technology from the space ship, Dan forms an army of fellow senior veterans with two missions. First, to revive the Republic they had sworn their allegiance to and their second mission to save that Republic, and the world with it. Their first foray includes converting the CVN 80, USS Enterprise, a rusting air craft carrier, from a rusted heap waiting to be scrapped, into the first ship of the new space fleet of the Gray Panthers.
The core story of this book is a nice idea. Unfortunately it is somewhat lacking in terms of implementation. The book is rather short, only a bit more than 160 pages, so it should perhaps not come as a surprise that the book is somewhat simple in terms of writing. However the writer tries to cram in a story that deserves at least a full length novel into those 160 and some pages which do not work very well.
The entire book feels rushed and many story elements are way too simplistic. The book is also somewhat uneven and sometimes I quite liked it but sometimes it really felt like Young Adult material despite the fact that the actual story is more of an old mans (wet) dream.
I quite liked the concept that this was not about a bunch of youngsters going on a adventure but rather the inverse. A bunch of old-timers not only gets a second chance to live but are indeed going on the mother of all adventures. Again the core story idea is a sound one for a science fiction book. I liked the characters as well as the alien AI even though they are rather simple with a unfortunate lack of character detail.
The story moves quite rapidly. Too rapidly for my taste. There are a lot of good wow-moments that could have been used much better if the author would have taken the time to work them out in some (quite a bit actually) more detail. Some things are also a bit too unrealistic, partly because of the lack of detail but also because they simply are rather unrealistic from the start.
It is obvious that the author is no fan of socialism and has created a rather disconcerting future with a socialist state in what used to be the USA. Well, it still is the USA but not the one we know. In 160 and some pages he manages to change that future, drastically while also building the means to defend Earth (for now at least) from the alien invaders. I quite liked how the bad guys (that being both the aliens and the socialist government of USA) got the short end of the stick. Both Dan and his best friend are guys not taking any shit from anyone. Yes it has macho-crap written all over it but what the heck, I liked it. It is just fiction after all.
Okay, okay, I have been harping the entire review about how this story was too short and too rushed but I really liked the actual story idea so I must confess that I was a bit disappointed at how it was implemented. I would say that the author tried to take too big a bite in one go. I would guess that this is a debutant work. His next book in the series is twice the size of this one and, although I have quite a few reservations about this one, I am going to read the next one. I have to see where the story goes and I hope that the author have picked up some experience with his first book. Also, I would like to encourage the author in the hope that he has more nice story ideas like this one.