The defenders of Earth, the Gray Panther Army saved the Earth from an invasion from the Libra Alliance on 6 January 2128. The jubilation was short lived as Earth’s defenders found out there was a second deadlier fleet that would arrive at Earth in about two years.
The Gray Panther Army consisting of ancient veterans, who have been enhanced through nanite technology to once again be young men and women, are forced to expand their ranks to include even the young. The Gray Panthers enlist the services of Matt Andrews and his team of crack flyers “Matt’s Marauders.” Their mission; to fly captured fighters deep in enemy space from a captured raider to buy Earth time as defenses are built up and the fleet increased in anticipation for the looming invasion.
This book is definitely an improvement over the first book by this author. The book is longer and the pace is better. It takes a more reasonable time to let events unfold (at least until the end). It still shows that the author is at the beginning of his learning curve but he has made much progress.
Dan and company is back although the book do not center as much as Dan himself as the previous book. Sure, he is still a main character but in this book a number of other characters are also allowed to take a leading role in the various events that unfold. The story is a pretty wild ride and sometimes stretches the bounds of realism, even for a science fiction book.
The Gray Panthers are desperately trying to build up sufficient forces to repel the coming invasion fleet. At the same time a mission is launched to acquire a substance needed to build advanced components for their effort. During the mission they get to interact with intergalactic bankers (!!!) and other parties. Here it does indeed go a bit wild and I would say that the behavior of these aliens are a wee bit weird as well as simplistic, even a bit childish. The latter being enforced by the sometimes somewhat silly names of things.
Back on Earth the humans are, not surprisingly, behaving as humans (especially the politicians as well as certain other organisations on the government payroll). Something which hampers the efforts in building up the defense forces. Dan is of course still a person that does not take any shit so these people are rather quickly realizing that they put their fot in the wrong place.
Then we come to the end and here is where I got a bit of a gripe with the book. We have this nice build up for a bit of alien clobbering but it kind of felt like the author ran out of steam. It starts of pretty okay but then suddenly the events of the “big fight” are simply reported to the reader in short sentences almost in the form of a Reuters news telegram.
Anyway, despite some shortcomings, as mentioned above, it was a fairly fun book to read and the story is far from finished. I hope the author plans to continue the series.