Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bug Wars: First Come Traitors...

Review: Legacy Fleet: Invincible (The First Swarm War Book 1) by David Bruns

I often get a suggestion from Mitch Utsy, an SCA maven and reader who shares my taste both in books and Chick-fil-A, to catch a new mil-SF novel I've missed. His latest was an offering from a mutual friend, author Chris Pourteau. Chris' books were the second and third in reading-order in a trilogy, the Legacy Fleet series. I had no choice other than to buy them all and begin reading.

Hooked immediately by Book 1, I found myself thinking of previous series featuring epic-space-battles and strong women with strategic smarts. Honor Harrington, of course; but also Elizabeth Moon's Vatta and Serrano family sagas.

This Kindle Worlds shared-universe series gives us another satisfying helping of women warriors, demonstrating that duty, honor, and strategic thinking are not irrevocably linked to the male sex. It also brings back that classic concept of retro science fiction, alien bugs. (At least, I think it does. The alien opponents are called "Swarm" and operate as if they have a hive mind.)

Invincible has the misfortune to encounter the initial ships of the Swarm during a live-fire exercise. Captain Baltasar is behaving very strangely, micro-managing instead of letting his XO, Addison Halsey, do the whip-and-carrot work with the crew. When Baltasar turns over fleet friend-or-foe ID codes to the oncoming Swarm, Halsey has a choice: watch her world die—or jump ship, recruit an ex-lover-turned space-pirate to aid her, and take on the alien fleet and the Invincible in a battle to save Earth.

The action is easy to follow—not always the case, especially if a novice writes a space battle. Bruns is obviously no neophyte. Politics back on Earth becomes a lot more complex than East vs, West, and even though the future of the soured romance between Halsey and her ex-lover is not hard to foresee, its course cannot follow the cliché. 

In Halsey's re-ordered world, where anyone may be an unsuspected traitor, strategy takes on a whole new aspect, and communication is vital to victory. So, as always, is courage.

Liner Note:

At the time of this review, the novel was available only in ebook format.