Captain Kat Falcone owes her life and career to her former right-hand man, William McElney, and she did everything in her power to make sure he was front and center for a promotion. But now that he has it, she fears he’ll have to watch his back. Captain McElney has been assigned to the HMS Uncanny—nicknamed Unlucky—a heavy cruiser tainted by the mysterious deaths of two former captains and rumors of mutineers. Nevertheless, as the interstellar war with the Theocracy rages on, the Uncanny will travel in tandem with Kat’s starship, the HMS Lightning, to the notoriously lawless Jorlem Sector to forge alliances for the Commonwealth and quash rampant piracy.
As Captain McElney struggles to whip a hostile crew of miscreants into a disciplined fighting force, Kat is saddled with an undermining new executive officer—an untested aristocrat whose bigotry colors his sense of duty. Both captains wage war against ruthless pirates while conspirators aboard the Uncanny plot to seize the ship. When the starships find themselves locked in a death match with an enemy juggernaut, Kat must make a desperate and devastating sacrifice.
This book, the third installment in the Angel in the Whirlwind series, maintains the same very high levels of being a good read as the two first books. I really like Kat and I really like Mr. Nuttall’s writing.
As the book blurb states Kat is sent on a new mission to the Jorlem Sector to try and forge alliances and fight pirates at the same time. Naturally she encounters a number of nasty customers including the sleazebag ruler of Jorlem itself. She also discovers a Theocracy warship. It is perhaps not the “juggernaut” that the blurb states but it is, apparently, a crossbreed between a battleship and a battlecruiser. Definitely big enough to complicate things for Kat & Co.
This book is not all about Kat though. She has to share the glory, or the disgrace, with her former XO who has been promoted to Captain and his new ship is going to follow Kat’s Lightning into the Jorlem Sector. The book flips between Kat and McElny as well as, to a lesser extent, the Theocracy tugs.
Speaking of the Theocracy thugs. The Theocracy are a real nasty bunch. ISIS in space! They are religious fanatics of the highest order and as such they of course have tunnel vision in their relations with other nations as well as a total disrespect for anyone not of their twisted beliefs. Their younger acolytes are thoroughly brainwashed into believing in the Theocracy and their supposed superiority society wise as well as military wise.
Surprisingly enough the Theocracy cleric and his dumbass aide are not the most despicable characters in the book. Just to make life even harder for Kat and McElny Mr. Nuttall throws in a malcontent officer in McElny’s crew. This guy is not only despicable but really the lowest of the lowest type of scum in that he does not hesitate to sell out the entire Commonwealth to the enemy to achieve his short sighted goals. He is a total asshole of the worst kind and I am never too happy about these characters in the books I read. He even manages to throw more crap into the fan than the Theocracy, at least within the scope of this book. Needless to say Kat and McElny prove to be a tougher nut to crack than previously mentioned various low lifes expect but the cost is high. Very high.
Then we have the annoying, somewhat lazy, and very bigoted new XO that was pushed onto Kat. I was about to write that he is the typical example of a narrow minded aristocrat child with an overinflated ego which has done nothing but lick the jam of the silver spoon he was born with. That would be a little unfair though. He is actually rather good at his job. He is bigoted and annoying like hell but unlike the Theocracy tugs and the above mentioned malcontent Kat’s XO could probably be turned around given some time.
In the end Kat has yet again improved her reputation as being someone you do not mess with. There are of course plenty of well done action in the book and, as usual, the characters and their interactions are equally well done.
I am looking forward to the next installment in the series. This book did not really end in what you would call a major cliffhanger but it nevertheless pointed, not so subtly, in the direction of a major showdown between the Theocracy and the Commonwealth. I have already preordered it and the book blurb certainly appears to support the “It’s clobbertime” theory.