In the midst of recovering from their successful if casualty prone first mission, the crew of the Alliance Space Ship Vorpal Blade are suddenly scrambled back into action. All other priorities take second place as word arrives on earth of a gate colony which has fallen to an unidentified alien assault. As the only space ship currently available to the Human-Adar Alliance, the Vorpal Blade is dispatched to find out what happened to the colony, rescue any survivors and learn the identity of the attackers.
This book is a big improvement over the previous two books. Sure there’s still the faulty science with the Higgs Boson and they are still roaming around the stars in a converted submarine but things are changing…for the better.
The book blurb actually only tells the beginning of the story in this book. It continues the saga of the humans (or at least the US part of them) and their alien allies as they continue to try to understand their mystical warp drive and survive against the Dreen.
Without spoiling the plot (too much) they, of course, runs into the Dreen again as well as some new aliens at the same time. The new aliens, surprise surprise, are in a fight with the Dreen and we all know how the proverb goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so after some initial communications problem the humans got themselves a new ally. John made an interesting twist to this encounter by inventing aliens that didn’t use “normal” vision to perceive the reality around them. How do you explain things, like language, when you cannot even draw a picture?
Naturally there are plenty of dry humor, marine stuff and action, both on the ground, in space and on board spaceships (including on a Dreen one). As usual John Ringo is very good at writing this stuff. The space battles are not at the level of David Weber when he’s at his best but they are still good.
I wasn’t too keen on the “MacGyver stunts” they pulled when cobbling together repairs on their star drive. That part was just plain ridiculous but, thankfully, short. However, then there’s the best of it all. With the help of their new allies they finally get a real spaceship, The Vorpal Blade II, instead of that cobbled together “submarine in space” kludge.
After reading this one I’m quite looking forward to read the next one.