We learned a terrible secret last voyage, the Swarm exists. It has a monstrous imperium, expanding, evolving and receiving incredible Builder tech.
Captain Maddox heads into the Deep Beyond to find the Swarm Imperium. We must know the worst so we can prepare against the deadliest species in the galaxy.
The captain and his crew battle loneliness and the terror of the unknown as they hunt through the stellar darkness. They’re thousands of light-years from home, from any help. What they find threatens their sanity and unity. It’s going to take the best Maddox and the ancient AI Galyan has to offer to pull the crew together. They have to save the starship from what waits in the galactic darkness or the human race will die.
I have to say that I felt this book to be the weakest in the series so far. Captain Maddox and his friends are back and the good Captain is mostly as enjoyable as usual. Unfortunately it takes some time for the story to get going and the internal monologues of the sex starved pilot Keith was downright embarrassing.
The book starts off with a bang. During a rather wild roller coaster ride Captain Maddox is submitted to one assassination attempt after another and ends up on a Spacer airship where the starting point of the story in this book is more or less established. After that the book slows down a wee bit and there is a lot of posturing etc. The professor is brought back in and I rather dislike that character. The Spacer that accompanies Maddox after his involuntary visit on the Spacer airship is also less than trustworthy to say the least.
In this first half of the book we are also forced to endure the infantile monologues of the previously mentioned pilot. I’m not sure if he was meant to be funny or not but he was certainly not funny to me. Penible as they say in French.
It also seems that there are androids everywhere. For crying out load, do they not check up on personnel that they let board the most important starship in Earth’s navy? A simply ancient airport scanner should have revealed the androids.
In the second half of the book the story starts to pick itself up and the real action, discoveries etc. starts. Maddox starts to take a grip of the situation again in his usual “I’m in command” kind of way. We learn some sad truths about the builders and there is of course ample opportunities to use Galyan’s weaponry.
The second half or at least the last third of the book is quite enjoyable but it does not really make up for the first half. Thus I feel obliged to give this installment in the series a mere average rating.