The Machines are on the move to eradicate the presence of intelligent life in their space.
The Empire of New Terra, newly come to this space, have discovered that the Death Machines they had created centuries before are still in existence, and they are out to destroy humanity. Exploration Command, with reinforcement by the Fleet, was able to stop them from destroying Klassek and Bolthole, but those were just the initial scouting forays. This time the Machines are coming in earnest, and they’re bringing overwhelming force with them, including more of their almost indestructible planet killers. It is a battle of extermination for the Empire and their Klassekian allies. The Machines are tireless and implacable, and the Empire is already stretched to the limit on all fronts. But organic intelligence has some abilities the Machines lack, and they hope that with some mighty weapons and some brilliant tactics they can carry the day. If not, the Machines will continue on their crusade of death in the Persius arm and beyond.
This is a great book. I really enjoy the books in the Exodus: Empires at War and Exodus: Machine War series. Doug Dandridge is one of my favorite authors. His books are well written with a great and well developed universe, interesting characters and great space action.
In this instalment the machines goes on a full out offensive against the humans at Klassek and Bolthole and the book contains not one but several great space battles. As the book blurb states they bring with them several of their indestructible (almost) planet killers and the humans are in for a rough ride.
However, the humans have something the machines lack. Human ingenuity, imagination and the capacity for thinking out of the box. Needless to say the machines get more than a few surprises. I am happy that all the unorthodox tactics that the humans deploy are well though out by the author. No silly “short cuts” and “magical” feats that borders on the unrealistic (in the context of a science fiction novel of course).
The book is one of the more space combat oriented books in the Exodus universe and I really enjoyed it. While it focuses largely on kicking machine butt it does still advance the story and for good measure it throws in a first contact situation introducing a new potential ally although there are quite a few reservations about the integrity and morale of this ally.
All in all one of the best books that I have read since I picked up and started reading again a couple of weeks ago. Maybe the best book this year.