Review: Avenger (The First Swarm War Book 2) by Chris Pourteau
Pourteau's entry into the Legacy Fleet universe continues the emphasis on Addison Halsey, but gives another strong woman, IDF Captain Samantha Avery, her own place as co-protagonist.
For "Sam" Avery, command of the IDF Avenger comes with downsides, one known (her CAG or Carrier Attack Group commander is one Laz Scollard, ex-pirate), and one unknown, a secretive assassin hidden aboard, determined to kill her. For Halsey, the promotion to captain of IDF Invincible means she must operate under the direction of a decidedly un-strategic station commander.
These issues turn out to be minor when considered against the vastly-expanded Swarm fleet they will be fighting.
As in Book 1, we also see Swarm-infected human traitors, and political maneuvers that may, or may not, be generated by such treachery. The "Integrated Defense Force" of IDF is still in name only, since the ships in the force were all once UEF resources. Perhaps the Russians will eventually step up to help. Maybe the Chinese will throw off their Swarm-generated abstention and send aid.
Meanwhile, Addie and Sam, along with Captain Noah Preble of IDF Independence, and the rehabilitated Laz Scollard, will have their hands full fighting the stolid idiocy of their local commander and the secret treachery of a hidden enemy, as well as the ships of the Swarm. The nail-biting action never lets up, especially when it becomes obvious that the Swarm has learned from their previous battles with Halsey, et. al.
And these bugs are not stupid.
- There is a major undropped shoe in the story. A crisis delayed near the start of the novel is left still resolved at the end of Avenger. But don't let that stop you from reading the book: it will probably be an opening issue in Book 3. Or maybe Book 4.
- The next available book in the series is a prequel named Tarantula, and guessing from a scene in Avenger (plus the afterword from Chris Pourteau, who wrote both books), it concerns Addie and Sam twenty years back, when they were midshipmen cadets. I'm diving into it as soon as I finish writing this!)
- At the time of this review, the novel was available only in ebook format.