In the wake of Earth’s collapse into chaos, Captain Hoshiko Stuart made the mistake of speaking her mind – and was exiled six months from Sol to a naval base in an unexplored and uncontacted sector. Placed in command of a single squadron of starships, she expected nothing but boredom.
But when she discovers an alien race threatening to exterminate all other races within the sector, Hoshiko and her squadron are drawn into a war to stop them, even if it means forging an alliance with aliens who may themselves become a threat to humanity and building an empire that may alienate her from her family once and for all.
This is a rather enjoyable adventure set in the A Learning Experience universe by Christopher Nuttall. The book is pretty much freestanding although it helps if you have read the previous books. It is also somewhat different from the previous books in that it does not focus so much on the original “learning experience”. The Solar Union is firmly established and this is more of a classical beat-the-invading-aliens kind of an adventure. It is a good adventure but it lacks a bit of the originality that the first books had.
This book introduces some new main characters and starts by spinning itself off from the core of the previous books by sending our hero to a naval base far away from Earth and the rest of the Solar Union.
Naturally this backwater outpost where are hero are supposed to be “disposed off” turns out to not be so calm and quiet as expected and things heat up rather quickly.
The story is fairly linear. Sure, there are the usual misfortunes and setbacks during the campaign but the core of the story is the, not so uncommon, one of encountering big bad aliens, build up your forces and then it is … clobbertime. It might not be the most original one but it is one that I like and, not surprisingly, it is well written as is generally the case when Christopher Nuttall does the writing.
The main hero is a quite likable character, there are not too many political dumbasses or otherwise annoying people on the side of the good guys and there are plenty of good fleet action. I would say that readers that liked the Honor Harrington and Kris Longknife books probably will like this one quite a lot.