The Burden of Command – Great military Sci-Fi.

The Burden of Command.
Empire Rising, #14.
By D. J. Holmes.
My rating ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ out of 5 stars.

For twenty years Humanity has enjoyed an uneasy peace after the Battle of Gayla and the death of the Karacknid Imperator. His death caused the Karacknid Empire to collapse into a bitter civil war. Yet Emperor Somerville is certain the peace will not last. Tanaka-lan is one of three contenders left vying for the title of Imperator, and James knows that if he wins, the flames of war will ignite once again.

The Human Empire has not squandered the respite it was given. Fleets have been rebuilt and defenses put in place. Yet a new generation of Imperial citizens has grown up who have known only peace. They are growing restless with the burden of Imperial taxes, and secession is on the lips of many. Just when it seems the Karacknid civil war is coming to an end, James is confronted by the prospect that his own Empire may fall to infighting and divisions. Faced with threats from within and without, he and Christine must rely on a new cadre of Imperial naval officers to keep the peace. Officers who must learn for themselves the true Burden of Command.

This books is a great piece of military science fiction. It is the 14th book in the Empire Rising series by D. J. Holmes. The entire series has been very good. As with most series there have been some ups and downs but the majority of the books in the series have been staying at four stars or above.

I did feel a bit worried in the first third of the book since there was a lot of politics and scheming going on. Something that I absolutely despise. Especially the kind of bullshit where left wing politicians wants to divert money from the defense of, in this case, humanity so they can buy more votes at home. Politicians that are, as always, too bloody stupid to realize that just because the enemy is not knocking on the doorstep at this very moment it doesn’t mean that the danger is not there.

Of course they are quickly proven wrong the hard way. As is always the case with the left wing politicians they are also not really doing what they are doing for “the people” but for their own benefit so the initial scheming are truly despicable.

What saves the book is for one thing that these asshats are not left around to fester for too long and for another thing that they way they are dealt with allows the main characters to shine when it comes to the moral high ground as well as their competence as military commanders.

The book is very well written with good story, excellent characters and good military strategies and action. It is one thing that I have liked in every book in the series. The quality of the writing is perhaps even more impressing when you take into account that it is not exactly a lightweight volume. The book weighs in at 557 pages which is quite above the average for novels today. It is not unusual for this writer though. The previous book in the series had a whooping 746 pages. Fortunately, unlike another famous author I know, this author doesn’t fill the story with endless dialogue and talk, talk, talk. It is a well balanced book.

The book is really the first book in a new story arc in the Empire Rising universe. Once the first crisis is averted and the political asshats have been dealt with there are some discoveries by our heroic main protagonist which leads to an unexpected twist and… Well, I don’t want to spoil the story but let’s just say that a rather large load of waste products was just dumped onto a rather large fan. The Karacknids are not the only race out there after all.

The journey that the book takes us on is filled with very likable characters (asshat politicians excluded of course), mysteries, discoveries and lots of action ranging from simple boarding operations, marine operations to large scale naval battles.

This is how military science fiction and space opera should be. The only gripe I have is that now I probably have to wait quite a while for the next one in the series. Especially in view of the fact that these are not exactly small novellas and, I would assume, takes some time to write.

7 thoughts on “The Burden of Command – Great military Sci-Fi.

    1. There’s a fair amount of marine combat. In some of the early books I remember there was a stranded marine detachment having to help the inhabitants fight a guerrilla war for most of the book and in some if the other books there was a similar story when the enemy unexpectedly took control of the orbitals.

      But I would nevertheless say the series is more a military space opera / space battle type of series than a marine action one though.

      Liked by 1 person

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