Over Three Hundred Years Before Humanity Had Created Autonomous War Machines, One Of Their Greatest Mistakes. The machines had revolted, with deadly consequences, and humanity had barely escaped total disaster. But some of the Machines had escaped, and found a new home outside the Empire.
Already embroiled in a major war of extermination against an ancient foe, stretched to the limit, the New Terran Empire had found and saved a singular species with game changing powers in the unincorporated space opposite the main front. That space also houses Bolthole, a secret industrial base outside the Empire that is vital to the war effort. And they had found the home of the Machines, whose superindustrialized systems have produced a terrible war fleet with horrific plant killing vessels. Stretched to the limit, holding on by a string, the forces of Exploration Command must battle and protect the two vital systems, until Sean and the Empire can give them the means to fight another major war against an enemy of unknown but substantial industrial power. Can they hold on? Or will the Machines achieve a first victory on their way to the total defeat and destruction of the human species, and after them all life in the Galaxy.
The second series in the Exodus Universe continues, as humanity must pit all of its ingenuity and courage against emotionless killers who will do anything to destroy their creators.
Normally I find these “side stories” of a main series to be a bit of a fun diversion as best. They often feel like the author tries to milk a few more bucks out of a successful book series. This is, as far as I am concerned, not the case with Exodus: Machine War. This is a great story, a good story line and a great book. Of course I am somewhat biased in that I know what I like and the story of this book is very much my cup of tea. It is action all the way. It, especially, has some great fleet action as well as good ground action.
The book continues the story of Machine War: Supernova in a pretty logical way. There are plenty of tie-ins to the main story arc (the one of the war with the Cacas). Humanity is now facing a second War. A war against a relentless enemy hell bent on not only the extermination of humanity but any “organics” that they can get their sights (or maybe I should say sensory apparatus) on.
There are plenty of enjoyable characters around and I do like that the political bullshitters and obstructionists are, apart from a few references, largely absent in this book. The people fighting this war do truly have the support of the upper management.
The Klassekians are playing a big role in this book and their support of the war effort is very nicely weaved into the story. I quite like how the author added their special gifts to the mix without making it into a super-hero, cheap way out, plot element.
My favourite in this book is definitely the I-take-no-bullshit admiral. She is just my kind of character. Heck I wish we would have some of her calibre at the place I work. Zero political correctness, zero ass-kissing and plenty of competence. Shit, I think I am in love with a book character!
Bottom line is that this is a great book. It is truly loaded with action and the action, especially the fleet action, is really, really very good. The humans are quite inventive in their strategies against the machines and I do like how the author manages to make the humans exploit the weaknesses of the machine intellects, especially the lack of intuition and imagination, without making it look cheap.
Now I have yet another book, the next instalment in this series, to look forward to.