It’s the 25th century, and humanity has reached the stars (and colonized them). They haven’t found aliens, however, and they also haven’t fought a war in over two hundred years. Everyone is simply too spread out, and the resources are far too plentiful. So the military has become complacent, and their ships are outdated. Even the old ships were built a hundred and fifty years after they were necessary. The technology used to build them is tightly controlled by a corporation, and the military isn’t even allowed to repair key components of the ships.
It sure would be a shame if humanity suddenly came into contact with a violent and advanced alien species….
Jackson Wolfe is an Earther, which means that he is generally looked down on by the rest of humanity. Earth is seen as a relic of humanity’s ancient and violent past. As such, they are seen as backward and not as advanced as those who colonized space. With that said, Wolfe somehow “lucked” into being the captain of a spaceship: a destroyer called The Blue Jacket. The Blue Jacket is part of Seventh Fleet, otherwise known as “the Black Fleet”, and is full of cast-offs and ruffians. Wolfe is also an alcoholic.
Enter his new executive officer, Celeste Wright, is an ambitious young officer from a more prestigious fleet, and has taken the job with the 7th because of the upward mobility. She isn’t really well-developed in this book (which is the fist in a trilogy), but does help create some tension early on before becoming a stalwart ally of Wolfe.
The Blue Jacket is given a job that sends them out to the frontier, where some ships have disappeared.
You can imagine, I suppose, where it goes from there.
I don’t know if it’s because of all the Wheel of Time nonsense, but this book just worked for me. I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering. It was a popular sci-fi book on Audible with a premise I found interesting. What I got was an engaging sci-fi novel that was everything it promised itself to be, and kept me interested for 10 hours. It absolutely fulfilled its promise without throwing up any obstacles.
This book isn’t going to redefine the genre. It’s a straight-up Star Trek-style military science fiction. Pretty heavy on the jargon, and light on the character complexity. But it’s fun.
As a bonus, the narrator is the superb Mark Boyett. He also narrated the Undying Mercenaries series – which I mostly enjoyed (I think I read a dozen of them), but loathed for the cookie-cutter production of them and rampant misogyny. There’s a lot of similarity between the two series (military science fiction), but I didn’t pick up on any misogyny. The closest this book came was a brief hint of some attraction by a pretty young ensign under Wolfe’s command. That only comes close, for me, because she doesn’t really seem to exist for any other reason.
Overall, this was a solid and inoffensive book. It was a nice palate cleanser for me.