Tag Archives: space opera

Coming Soon: Renegades: Out of Time

Sutek Press will release Renegades: Out of Time, the third book of The Renegades series, November 12th, 2016.  It’s less than a week away, but I think this is the best Renegades book yet.

The Renegades are running out of time.

Captain Mike Noguchi has led his band of Renegades out of the heart of a interstellar war, forged them together into a privateer crew, and has learned of an ancient alien facility that may hold clues to a conspiracy which  seems bent on his crew’s destruction.

But that facility is on a planet conquered by the Chxor.  The Renegades will need to slip across the battle-lines, infiltrate a conquered world, and find their way inside a facility which has kept its secrets for untold generations.  Along the way they’ll need to fight genetically engineered monsters, a psychotic military commander, and an entire army of Chxor.
Yet even if they manage that, some secrets may be too much for them to handle.  Their enemies have already done terrible things with the knowledge found there… can the Renegades survive secrets from outside of time?

The Sacred Stars is Now Live!

sacredstars-02The Sacred Stars, Book Four of the Shadow Space Chronicles is now live.  You can pick up a copy at Amazon today!

Alannis Giovanni has followed in her family’s footsteps and joined the United Colonies Fleet.  As a bare Ensign, she’s been assigned to the Fleet’s newest, most powerful cruiser, the Constellation, on it’s maiden voyage: a simple show-the-flag mission that should be good for her to learn what it is to be an officer.

But things are never simple.  At their most distant port, they come across allies in need.  The Ghornath species are in search of their origins and an array of enemies are trying to stop them.  The crew of the Constellation will have to face pirates, aliens, and uncover a ten thousand-year-old secret in order not just to save their allies, but to thwart a threat that might well catch the rest of the Fleet off-guard.
 
These battles will test Alannis, force her to grow and become the officer that her position and blood demand of her… yet the greatest threat may be one she is the least prepared to face.
You can read the snippets for The Sacred Stars here.

The Sacred Stars Snippet Three

Here’s the third snippet for The Sacred Stars.  You can find the first one here and the second here.  The Sacred Stars will be published September 9th, 2016.

 

“Well,” Captain Daniel Beeson said, “what do you think of the new officers?”

His Executive Officer sighed a bit as he sat back in his chair.  “Lieutenant Busch seems pretty solid.  I haven’t had much of a chance to take the measure of any of our new ensigns yet… though I can’t believe we got stuck with Giovanni.”

“What do you mean by that?” Daniel asked.  He’d served under Lucius Giovanni as his flag captain and in several other positions.  He’d actually been excited to see the Emperor’s little sister was going to join their crew, particularly after seeing her graduation scores from Faraday’s Military Academy.

“I’m certain we’ll have some officers who should know better sucking up to her and heaven help us if she’s the type to throw her civilian rank around,” Commander Bowder said.

Daniel gave his XO a look, “Have you seen any sign of that so far?”

“Well… no,” Commander Bowder responded.  “But that’s not to say it hasn’t happened.  I find it more than a little suspicious that she’s got the scores she does without at least some favoritism.  I mean, most officers can’t help but think of her political connections and adjust their behavior.”

Daniel considered his XO for a long moment.  The officer was one of the Dreyfus Fleet personnel, one who had survived Admiral Dreyfus’s attempted coup and who had been cleared of any involvement.

While Admiral Dreyfus and his cabal of officers had organized a coup, the vast majority of the Dreyfus Fleet personnel had been in the dark about the conspiracy.  The mutinous elements had thrown the entire fleet into disarray and left all too many good people dead.  The survivors had fallen into one of three types in Daniel’s experience.  A small majority had simply never recovered from the betrayal.  Most of them had left behind everything they knew in order to be a last defense for humanity.  Admiral Dreyfus’s betrayal had left them so bitter or disillusioned that many had simply left service.

Then there were a small percentage who had emerged with a new outlook.  They’d seen the cost of when ambition and selfishness became the motivation of leaders.  Many of them were some of the most dedicated and most enthusiastic people in uniform that Daniel had served with.   Lieutenant Michele Konetsky and others like her had truly come into their own during the Dreyfus Coup and the time afterward.

The last type were like Bowder.  They had come out of the Dreyfus Coup still with a desire to serve and protect humanity… but they’d had their idealism shaken to its core.  It had left Richard Bowder with cynicism as his defining characteristic.  Daniel Beeson had read Commander Bowder’s personnel file.  Commander Bowder’s captain had been a member of the cabal, but when he’d ordered his crew to fire on loyalist ships, they’d mutinied.  A quarter of Richard Bowder’s fellow officers and crew had sided with their captain in a fight that had left a third of the crew dead.  Commander Bowder had emerged as the senior surviving officer and he’d managed to lock down his ship and then use it to fire in support of other loyalist ships.

In many ways, Daniel understood the other man’s cynicism having lost so much himself.

Daniel Beeson had joined Lucius Giovanni’s crew as something of a lark, to thumb his nose at his father, the commander of Faraday Colony’s Military Defense Forces.  Yet when the Chxor had captured the planet, it meant Daniel was aboard the War Shrike and not on Faraday.  That was literally the reason that of his three brothers, two sisters, mother, father, assorted cousins, uncles and aunts who were all either in the military or closely affiliated, he was the only surviving member of his family.

Daniel had lost everything, but he had not given into despair.  The Baron had been such a symbol of optimism and hope.  Lucius Giovanni had never given up, never even faltered on his mission to liberate first Faraday, then Nova Roma and other worlds along the way.

In the face of that, both working as an officer under him and now as a commander entrusted by Lucius to lead, Daniel simply couldn’t contemplate giving in to cynicism or doubt.  And while he could understand that Commander Bowder had, somewhat, it was certainly something that he was determined to prevent from undermining the morale of the rest of the crew.

Daniel chose his words carefully, keeping Commander Bowder’s past in mind, “I don’t think that the Emperor would tolerate that kind of behavior, Commander.  For that matter, I don’t think that General Proscia would tolerate any favoritism at the Academy.”

His XO grunted noncommittally.  “Well, I certainly won’t treat her any differently and I’ll hammer anyone else who does, for that matter.”

“That’s what I’d expect of you,” Daniel said.   “Now, what do you think about initial personnel assignments?”

“Lieutenant Commander Voronkov already put claim to Ensign Medica,” Commander Bowder said.  The Nova Roma ensign had branch specified for engineering.  While they’d probably rotate him through some of the other departments for broadening, he was on the fast-track for engineering.  Daniel wouldn’t be surprised if the young man eventually transferred to Research and Development.

“Ensign Shan I’d recommend for assisting Lieutenant Cassat at sensors.  She’s a little weak on her sensor scores, but there’s no better way to improve than working at it every day,” Commander Bowder said.  “Lieutenant Busch is already slotted for communications.  I’d say we put Ensign Giovanni there.”

“Comms?”

“She’s from high social status and it’s an area where we can monitor her actual skills before moving her on,” Commander Bowder said.  He shrugged, “If she can’t pull her weight, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.”

“Seems like something of a waste given her skills,” Daniel said cautiously.  She had the highest rating of all their ensigns for weapons, telemetry, and already had her civilian certifications for navigation.  Still, he was willing to entertain the trial run if it meant his XO felt better about her proficiency.  “What about tactical department?”

“I think Ensign Yamahito,” Commander Bowder said.  “Lieutenant Commander Douglas has Lieutenant Perkins for fire control and Lieutenant Duchan on missile telemetry.   Yamahito has an acceptable rating for his telemetry, but I’d like to give him some real-world experience to go along with that.”

“Okay,” Daniel nodded.  “I can go with that.”  They had a nice long cruise ahead of them to rotate their new officers around with plenty of time to break them all in, so he wasn’t too concerned about finding just the right fit for everyone.  Breaking them in, finding their strengths and weaknesses was the key part… and it wasn’t something that would happen right away.

“Has Lieutenant Thomas signed aboard yet?” Daniel asked.  The Marine Lieutenant would fill out their officer component.  Thomas had requested a late report date, his mother had suffered a fatal accident just two days earlier.

“Not yet,” Commander Bowder said.  “Possibly sometime in the next few days.”

Daniel nodded.  In truth, he wouldn’t be surprised if the Marine didn’t show before they departed.  Daniel had lost his entire family during the Chxor occupation of Faraday, so he understood taking time for family.  The last thing he wanted was for one of his officers to have something like that hanging over his head during the entire cruise.

“Okay,” Daniel said.  “We’ll go with what you’ve suggested, for now.  The latest on our deployment date is still seventy-two hours.  Make certain Lieutenant Monteif has everything squared away as far as extra supplies and spares for the voyage.”  Their quartermaster had been tasked with stocking them up for the long journey to the Hachiman Gu system.  Since it would take them almost three months to get there, plus an indeterminate time there, and another three months on the return voyage, they would be gone at least seven months.

In a newly commissioned, first-of-her-line, ship integrating a number of new technologies, he thought wryly, and we still have civilian engineers aboard.  It would certainly be an interesting cruise.

***

 

Chapter II

 

UCS Constellation, Faraday System

United Colonies

June 22, 2407

 

“Alannis,” Ensign Scott Yamahito called out, “come commiserate with your fellow ensigns.”

Alanis shook her head as she saw him.  He and Ensign Ashtar Shan sat at a table in the officer’s wardroom.  She nodded at Ashtar and then Scott.  “Scott, I thought you were supposed to go to the Champion.”

“I was,” he replied, “I traded with Andrew Terrapin when I heard the Constellation was headed for Shogunate space.”

“Oh?” Alannis asked.

“Yeah, I have some cousins who live back there still, I might be able to meet them, depending on how long we’re there,” Scott said.  “Plus I’d kind of like to see where I come from, you know?”

She remembered then that Scott’s parents had been refugees from the Dai Yamato system, what was now part of the Shogunate.  As far as she knew, Scott hadn’t shown any preference to return, until now.  Beside him, Ashtar Shan rolled her eyes.

Sounds like he’s got another of his wild hares to chase, Alannis thought.  This wouldn’t be the first time that Scott had become incredibly excited about something odd.  In his time at the Faraday Military Academy he’d developed a number of odd hobbies ranging from Close Quarter Combat Competition to detailed historical military vehicle models to a variety of games.

Scott seemed to get interested, build up a serious skill level or proficiency, and then lose interest and move on. It didn’t exactly surprise her that he would have changed assignments just to look into one such interest.

“Well, it’s good to have you here,” Alannis said.  “How are you two settling in?”  She’d already talked with Ashtar since the two of them shared quarters.  The female officer from the Tehran System had been on an accelerated course of instruction at the Faraday Military Academy and they’d actually become good friends and Alannis had come to appreciate the woman’s abilities.

“They put me in the tactical department,” Scott said with his goofy grin.  “I’m in missile telemetry, working with the Interceptor Mark Nineteens and I’m secondary lead with the new Moljnir Mark Ones and the Arrow Mark Twelves.”

“Oh,” Alannis said and forced herself to smile, “that’s great.”

“Where did you end up?” Scott asked.

“She’s assigned to communications,” Ashtar said before Alannis could reply.

“Oh…” Scott’s face fell.  “Geez, wow… uh, why’d they do that?  I mean, I’m a technical type, but I thought you were on a fast-track for tactical.”

“It’s an assignment,” Alannis shrugged.  “It’s not my business and I’m sure they’ll move us around a bit.”  She tried to keep the disappointment she felt out of her voice.  She knew she wasn’t entirely successful from how Scott shook his head.

“That’s just crazy,” Scott said.  “I can’t believe they did that.  What kind of idiot would send you to communications…”

“Ensigns,” a calm voice interrupted.

All three of them looked up to see that Lieutenant Busch stood over their table.  Alannis’s face went pale as she recognized the head of the communication department.  “The Captain and the XO made the assignment determinations.   If you have any constructive criticism, I’m sure they would both like to hear your opinions and draw from the depths of your experience.”

Alannis winced.  This was hardly the way to look good for her new boss.

“Sorry, ma’am,” Scott said.

The Lieutenant ignored him and looked at Alannis.  “Ensign Giovanni, there’s a lot of message traffic to sort through since we’re heading out.  I just finished approvals for the next update packet.  You need to get down to the department and verify those approvals.”

Alannis winced.  She had just finished an eight hour shift already.  Every ship in the Fleet updated their communications packets on the hour and they uploaded and downloaded that information by priority.  Orders came through with the highest priority, personal communications with the lowest.  When they left, the ansible would have only so much bandwidth, especially as they drew further away from Faraday.

While some of those priorities were easy enough, others were a bit more complicated.  Maintenance reports from different departments, systems malfunctions, ammunition and fuel reserves, and dozens of other updates would wait in the queue until there was time.  Prioritizing different data points over others would take both attention to detail and a great deal of time.

And most of what I’ll be doing is double-checking what Lieutenant Busch already did.  “Yes ma’am, I’ll get right on it.”  She looked down at her tray.  She hadn’t eaten anything yet, but she didn’t want to look bad by finishing it.  She stood and gave her friends nods and then hurried out.

She just hoped this wasn’t an omen or something.

***

The Sacred Stars Coming Soon

The Sacred Stars, book four of the Shadow Space Chronicles, is coming soon!  You can expect it in early September (probably just after labor day).

You can never go home.

Alannis Giovanni has followed in her family’s footsteps and joined the United Colonies Fleet.  As a bare Ensign, she’s been assigned to the Fleet’s newest, most powerful cruiser, the Constellation, on it’s maiden voyage: a simple show-the-flag mission that should be good for her to learn what it is to be an officer.

But things are never simple.  At their most distant port, they come across allies in need.  The Ghornath species are in search of their origins and an array of enemies are trying to stop them.  The crew of the Constellation will have to face pirates, aliens, and uncover a ten thousand-year-old secret in order not just to save their allies, but to thwart a threat that might well catch the rest of the Fleet off-guard.
 
These battles will test Alannis, force her to grow and become the officer that her position and blood demand of her… yet the greatest threat may be one she is the least prepared to face.

Book Sale and Release for Renegades: Out of the Cold

Renegades: Out of the Cold
Renegades: Out of the Cold

Renegades: Out of the Cold is now available from Amazon!  As a limited time promotional event, the first novel of the series, Renegades: Origins, will be available for $2.99 and my short story  set in the same universe, Look to the Stars, will be available for free for the weekend.  My novel, The Fallen Race, set in the same universe will also be discounted to $2.99 for the weekend.

The Renegades are coming out of the cold.

They have escaped from an alien prison, stolen a ship, survived pirate attacks, and now they are finally returning to civilization.
Yet civilization brings all new threats.  Old enemies await and new enemies abound.  They’ll have to work together to survive, even as their own pasts and fortunes seek to tear them apart.  Along the way, they’ll face an infamous assassin, slavers, bounty hunters, and get caught up in the biggest war that humanity has ever seen.
Because the Chxor are coming and if the Renegades won’t help stop them, who will?
Get your copy here.

Valor’s Child on Kindle Scout!

Valor's Child by Kal Spriggs
Valor’s Child by Kal Spriggs

Hello everyone!  Valor’s Child is now on Kindle Scout.  The excerpt there contains the first five thousand words.  Those of you who nominate it (if it gets selected for publishing), will then receive the entire novel for free.

The planet Century lies at the very verge of human space.  It is a frontier world, where hard work is not only essential to survival, it is a way of life.  Jiden knows all about hard work, and she’s ready to buckle down and fulfill her dreams, to rise above her parent’s modest background and to stake her claim and be successful on her own merit. 

Yet there’s one hurdle she has to face, her grandmother insists she attend the Century Military Academy’s Prep School.  She plans to keep her head down, to get past this last obstacle, and then to pursue her dreams.  Yet nothing goes to plan: she becomes the center of controversy, she finds herself drawn into infighting among the other candidates, and worst of all… she finds a resonance within her heart at the ideals of duty and service. 

Remember: your support is what will get this book published.  Please take the time to go to Kindle Scout and nominate it.  Here is the direct link: Valor’s Child on Kindle Scout

Book Review: Glynn Stewart’s Starship’s Mage

Glynn Stewart's Starship's Mage
Glynn Stewart’s Starship’s Mage

Leo Champion described Glynn Stewart to me as one of the best authors he’s had the experience of working with. Since I also work with Leo, I took that as a bit of a challenge to step up my game, but as a reader, it made me want to check out what Glynn has written, particularly since he seems to be reading my blog and writing book reviews about my stuff.

I’m happy to say I haven’t been disappointed. Glynn Stewart’s Space Opera/Fantasy novel, Starship’s Mage, is excellent. The main character, Damien, is engaging and interesting and Glynn has created a fascinating world, one where technology and magic coexist in a science fiction setting, much like another of my favorite author’s works: Ryk Spoor.

The trials and tribulations of young Damien are vast and varied, as he tries to fix one problem only to create three more in the process. Damien is smart (possibly too smart for his own good), and he is hard working and a loyal friend. He’s also painfully naïve and far too eager to please, which make fun character flaws in a character as powerful as a wizard can be.

Overall, the book definitely feels like the first book of a planned “epic” series. While young Damien grows powerful, we still see that not only does he have limits, but those limits are profound compared to his opponents. The other characters, from ship’s officers to pirates are robust and rewarding in their own ways and in general, it was a fun read.

That isn’t to say it is a “perfect” book. There were a few minor gramatical errors (less, in fact, than some books I’ve recently read from major publishers), but there was also a nagging repetition where some things would be explained multiple times. I can understand the urge, in case the reader wasn’t paying attention, but for me, it actually broke my immersion a little bit as some of the technology and universe was explained once and then again, right before it became pertinent to the story. That said, it’s a very minor pet peeve in a book that I really enjoyed.  (Further note: I hadn’t realized it was originally released as novellas, so it suffers from the same problem as my own Renegades: Origins, so disregard)

My only question, at the end of it, is what do you call this genre? Space Fantasy sounds… trite and doesn’t adequately describe it. It feels like “Hard” fantasy, where the magic has rules and the story revolves as much around those rules as the characters. Science Fantasy just sounds odd. Whatever it is, it’s fun, fast, and enjoyable.

You can pick it up here from Amazon.

In a galaxy tied together by the magic of the elite Jump Magi, Damien Montgomery is a newly graduated member of their number.
With no family or connections to find a ship, he is forced to service on an interstellar freighter known to be hunted by pirates.
When he takes drastic action to save the Blue Jay from their pursuers, he sets in motion a sequence of events beyond his control – and attracts enemies on both sides of the law!

Starship’s Mage was originally released as five separate episodes.

Book Review: Frank Chadwick’s How Dark the World Becomes

How Dark the World Becomes by Frank Chadwick
How Dark the World Becomes by Frank Chadwick

Frank Chadwick’s How Dark the World Becomes is a space opera, adventure science fiction novel from Baen Books. I’ll admit that I was somewhat dubious about a “new” author, but I quickly became fully absorbed in the story of Sasha Naradnyo.

At first glance he is an utterly reprehensible character: he’s a mid-level crime boss who makes money from running gambling rackets and drugs. Yet this is a universe where humans survive on the margins of society, where they are welcome only in areas of brute labor, violence, and crime. Sasha is only a criminal because it is the only way for him to rise… but he also gives back in the form of funding a local hospital and protecting those he can from the harsh universe.

We don’t see much of Sasha as a criminal, instead, we come to him as he transitions, forced out of his previous life and into a wider world as he shows his true colors by protecting two children and their keeper. The writing is fast-paced and the universe is gritty and everything about it feels like one of the noir crime detective novels.

It is a fantastic read from a great author. I went from hating the main character to giving him a grudging respect that surprised me. Frank Chadwick doesn’t pull any punches, he delves into the darkness of his universe, taking his characters and putting them through the wringer and making it very clear from the beginning that no one – not even the main character – is safe.

I’ll note, this isn’t a book I would read when I’m in a dark mood. It’s gritty and in your face, not a cheerful or inspirational story, but one with a world-weary main character who has almost everything stripped from him.

The exciting debut of a nonstop noir SF from legendary game creator Frank Chadwick.  With one single act of kindness, a tough-as-nails hood with a heart of gold saves two alien children from assassination—and resets the balance of galactic power in the process.

Sasha Naradnyo is a gangster.  He’s a gangster with heart, sure, but Sasha sticks his neck out for no man.  That’s how you stay alive in Crack City, a colony stuffed deep into the crust of the otherwise unlivable planet Peezgtaan.  Alive only—because if you’re human, you don’t prosper, at least not for long.  Sasha is a second generation City native. His parents came to this rock figuring to make it big, only to find that they’d been recruited as an indentured labor force for alien overlords known as the Varoki.

Now a pair of rich young Varoki under the care of a beautiful human nanny are fleeing Peezgtaan, and Sasha is recruited to help.  All things considered, he’d rather leave the little alien lordlings to their fate, but certain considerations—such as Sasha’s own imminent demise if he remains—make it beneficial for him to take on the job.

But Sasha discovers his simple choice has thrust him into the midst of a political battle that could remake the galactic balance of power and save humanity from slow death by servitude.  Now all he has to do is survive and keep his charges alive on a hostile planet undergoing its own revolution.

But it’s the galaxy that had better watch out.  For now the toughest thug in Crack City has gotten his first taste of real freedom. He likes it, and wants more.

The stunning debut of a nonstop science fiction noir thriller from legendary game creator Frank Chadwick.

You can find it here on Amazon

Book Review: A Call to Arms by David Weber and Timothy Zahn

A Call to Arms by David Weber and Timothy Zahn
A Call to Arms by David Weber and Timothy Zahn

While A Call to Duty was something of an introduction to a time before the Star Kingdom of Manticore was a major power, A Call To Arms takes the time to show the reader just how messed up things are.  Politicians spend more time trying to manipulate the system for their own game than they do considering the consequences, pirates and outside influences see Manticore as vulnerable and weak, and even the colonists of Manticore seem to have a low opinion of what they might accomplish.  In all, it sets up a number of nasty repercussions as all of these factors come due.

Travis Uriah Long, the main character from the last book, along with a number of new and old characters, finds himself at the center of those repercussions.  David Weber and Timothy Zahn do an excellent job of weaving several character arcs and stories, some that end with victory, some with barest survival… and a few in tragic death.  While I enjoyed A Call to Duty, I loved reading A Call To Arms.

Overall, the story itself doesn’t explore any new themes to those familiar with either author’s works.  Duty, courage, standing up for what is right, and with a good amount of self-sacrifice thrown in.  Yet where this book really shines is how it approaches these themes with fresh eyes, exploring them from the perspective of someone who doesn’t seem to be cut from the same hero material as Honor Harrington.  Travis is a young man who is just discovering who he is, which makes his efforts and sacrifices all the more impressive.  The Star Kingdom of Manticore, too, is a new nation, just getting their feet under them and developing the first processes that will make it the mighty power later on in the Honorverse.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it and the first book of the series to all fans of military science fiction and space opera.  An excellent book, well worth the read.

Here is my review of the first book, A Call to Duty.

From multiple New York Times best selling author David Weber and #1 New York Times best selling author Timothy Zahn. NEW ENTRY IN BEST-SELLING SERIES. Book #2 in the Manticore Ascendant series, set in David Weber’s Honorverse.

Lieutenant Travis Long of the Royal Manticoran Navy is the sort of person who likes an orderly universe. One where people follow the rules.

Unfortunately, he lives in the real universe.

The good news is that Travis is one of those rare people who may like rules but has a talent for thinking outside them when everything starts coming apart. That talent has stood him—and the Star Kingdom—in good stead in the past, and it’s one reason he’s now a “mustang,” an ex-enlisted man who’s been given a commission as a King’s officer.

The bad news is that two of the best ways of making enemies ever invented are insisting on enforcing the rules . . . and thinking outside them when other people don’t. Travis learned that lesson the hard way as a young volunteer in basic training, and he knows that if he could just keep his head down, turn a blind eye to violations of the rules, and avoid stepping on senior officers’ toes, he’d do just fine. But the one rule Travis Long absolutely can’t break is the one that says an officer in the Royal Navy does his duty, whatever the consequences.

At the moment, there are powerful forces in the young Star Kingdom of Manticore’s Parliament which don’t think they need him. For that matter, they’re pretty sure they don’t need the Royal Manticoran Navy, either. After all, what does a sleepy little single-system star nation on the outer edge of the explored galaxy need with a navy?

Unhappily for them, the edge of the explored galaxy can be a far more dangerous place than they think it is. They’re about to find out why they need the Navy . . . and how very, very fortunate they are that Travis Long is in it.

You can get it from Amazon here.

Book Review: A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn

A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn
A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn

I first read David Weber and Timothy Zahn’s A Call to Duty last year.  I’ve long been a fan of both authors and I purchased the eARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Baen’s eBooks without hesitation.

I’ll say right off that the book is every bit as fantastic as I had hoped.  The characters are fantastic, the setting is great, and the story is very engaging.  I particularly love seeing the great Star Kingdom of Manitcore in its infancy, watching the growing pains as it develops, and seeing it evolve.

The main character, Travis Uriah Long, has his flaws.  He’s got a painfully narrow focus and an inability to keep quiet when he sees something as being wrong… no matter how much trouble it gets him into, along with a social awkwardness that only gradually begins to fade.  To make matters worse, his half-brother dabbles in politics and since Travis is in the military and his brother is in league with the politician swinging against the military, things get a little difficult for poor Travis.

The book comes with all the exploding spaceship goodness that you can expect from a Baen read, along with the above mentioned fantastic characterization and gripping story.  Even though we know where the Star Kingdom will eventually end up, there’s enough tension because we have no idea what will happen to our characters in the process.  While our intrepid hero might well make it through the series, there are no guarantees.

All in all, if you are a fan of anything Weber or Zahn, this book, and the series it begins, is definitely worth a read.  You can find it on Amazon here.

NEW SERIES FROM NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHORS. Book #1 in Manticore Ascendant, a new series set in David Weber’s best-selling Honorverse, from multiple New York Times best seller David Weber and #1 New York Times best-selling author Timothy Zahn. FIRST TIME IN PAPERBACK.

Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order in his life . . . some things his neglectful mother couldn’t or wouldn’t provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he’d finally found the structure he’d always wanted so desperately.

But life in the RMN isn’t exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first ship assignment lax and disorderly; and with the Star Kingdom of Manticore still recovering from a devastating plague, the Navy is possibly on the edge of budgetary extinction.

The Star Kingdom is a minor nation among the worlds of the Diaspora, its closest neighbors weeks or months away, with little in the way of resources. With only modest interstellar trade, no foreign contacts to speak of, a plague-ravaged economy to rebuild, and no enemies looming at the hyper limit, there are factions in Parliament who want nothing more than to scrap the Navy and shift its resources and manpower elsewhere.

But those factions are mistaken. The universe is not a safe place. Travis Long is about to find that out.