The Lone World (Ark Royal, #19).
By Christopher G. Nuttall.
My rating ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ out of 5 stars.
On her first deep-space mission, HMS Endeavour discovered two alien Dyson Spheres: one shattered, apparently nothing more than rubble orbiting a dying star; one seemingly intact, maintained by ancient super-technology so far advanced it may be beyond comprehension, inhabited by humans kidnapped from Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Nearly trapped within the sphere, Endeavour barely escaped, leaving behind a disturbing mystery. It is a mystery that must be solved – and quickly.
Now, months later, a multinational task force is heading out to the spheres. It’s mission: to unravel the secrets of the alien technology, to determine who built the spheres and why and, perhaps most importantly, if they are still watching their creations, silently judging the visitors to their worlds. But with the secret of super-tech up for grabs, and human nations and factions gambling everything on getting the tech first, everything hangs in the balance …
… And the spheres are waiting to see who’ll be the first to take what they can for themselves.
This series started off as a pure military science fiction story but since then it has mutated over several different story arcs and this latest story arc (trilogy) is more of a discovery/mystery fused with some military style science fiction.
It is a good book. As always Christopher Nuttall produces quality writing.
Most of the book is about the exploration and the mystery of the, seemingly uberpowerful, race that built the Dyson spheres. I quite liked the exploration / mystery and gradual discovery part of the book.
Then of course there is a snake in the garden as well. As always, I am not to found of these kind of machinations and when reading this stuff I always end up waiting for the devious plot to be exposed so we can get around to kicking the bad guys’ asses.
I do have to say though that I really like that the author had the courage to not invent some suitably woke bullshit enemy but instead uses the actual worst real and present threat to the free world today.
Once the despicable, treacherous plot comes out in the open we get a little bit of action. It does, fortunately, not go exactly as the bad guy scum hopes but it is not going very well either. This part of the story frustrated me quite a bit to be honest. It is the usual arrogant politicians, in this case from a despicable dictatorship, that are willing to risk unfathomable consequences for all of humanity for their own gain.
I really hope the next book, the third in this particular story arc, solves this in a satisfactory way. With some severe butt-kicking for the bad guys.
The book also ended in a rather huge surprise cliffhanger a’ la Hollywood. As always I do not like that kind of sensational cliffhangers. It was pretty clear that the story arc would not finish in this book so for me it would have been nicer to have a less sensational “To be continued…” ending.
Still, overall this is a solid four out of five star book. If we end up with some nice bad guy clobbering in the next book that one might be a five star one.