The Prince Awakens – This was a pleasant surprise.

The Prince Awakens (Prince of Britannia Saga, #1).
By Fred Hughes.
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ out of 5 stars.

Hazard King had always wanted to be an Imperial Fleet officer, just like his father. That was always going to be complicated since he was a Prince of the Realm. Complicated turned into almost impossible when the Empress is attacked. What is a simple lieutenant supposed to do with his mother in a coma, a seemingly invincible enemy on the offensive, a darkness from the past stirring and his paranoid older brother trying to assassinate him. The lieutenant remembers his oath and with a former spy, a handful of Marines, his uncle and most importantly, his father, decides to defend the Empire from all enemies whether foreign or domestic.

This is a book that I kind of just stumbled on. I do not really remember where it turned up but it must have been somewhere in my various recommendations that I get from Kindle, Goodreads or somewhere.

The main reason I decided to have a go at it was because I really like these type of stories with star kingdoms or empires where the concept of Kings, Emperors, Dukes etc. exists in a modern society. The fact that it is about a “coming of age” story of a Prince in the ranks of the empire’s Navy and a ongoing war with the prospect of some nice ship battles of course just added to my interest.

This book is more or less the debutante work of a new author and I must say that it is a very very good start. Some reviewers have compared this book with the works of David Weber and John Ringo (I can mention a few more in this genre like Terry Mixon and Doug Dandridge). Well, this author is not really at that level…yet. But if this is truly his first work I would be surprised if he doesn’t get there.

As the book blurb says, this book is about a young prince who doesn’t want to just wander around enjoying his heritage but make a career in the navy defending the empire. This is in the middle of a war against a somewhat mysterious alien foe as well so everything is set for some adventure and action.

I really like the Prince. He is generally likable and definitely competent. A bit like a male version of Honor Harrington.

The book starts of with the Prince seeing his first action in the war with this alien foe and with some nice fleet action. A very good start as far as I am concerned. During this rather short first part the Prince even manages to meet the girl of his dreams which, quite frankly, happened a wee bit fast to be really realistic but at least they seem to be a good match.

However, then the book switches direction which, at the time, I was not too happy about but it turned out to be quite good anyway.

I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprise about the switch but in walks his sniveling shit of a brother who unfortunately is the next in line for the throne and utterly unsuitable to rule over anything. Add to the mix the Marxist Federation vying for admission into the Empire (which the Empress vetoed luckily) and the fact that the brother has the moral compass of way too many politicians nowadays and we soon have ourselves a palace coup in the making.

From here on the rest of the book is more about resolving that particular crisis and the Prince’s ascension, not as a naval officer, but as a Prince in the Empire. I wasn’t to happy with the dipshit brother’s despicable machinations and some bits there in the beginning of that arc I even felt was a bit boring but once things started to pick up pace and the Prince started to sort things out it became a quite good read.

I do like that the book actually follows through and picks up all the pieces instead of just ousting that dipshit brother and leave the commies to continue their machinations. The Prince and his followers actually goes after the Marxist Federation which, of course, was the instigator of this entire mess. After all the previously mentioned dipshit brother had the brain capacity of one of the also previously mentioned politicians so a devising complex plot was quite out of his area of competence.

I quite like the choice of foe here. It points to a real threat that one can relate to in today’s world as well and I guess it saved the author from upsetting the woke mob by not mentioning an existing nation by name. But then (most) people know which is the major Marxist dictatorship around today anyway. Hint, the bad guy is not Russia like certain administrations like to use to deflect from their own numerous and gargantuan screw ups.

Overall I really liked this book. It is a decent sized book as well at around 450 pages. It is close but not quite at a five out of five rating and I will most certainly read the next one in the series.

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