For today’s Book Review Wednesday, I’m going to step out of my favorite genre (fantasy), but not too far. It’s just a short skip and a hop to the OTHER speculative fiction genre: Science Fiction. And trust me, it was totally worth it to read this fast-paced, intriguing novel!
Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he’d been fighting for was the wrong one.
Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland.
My Review: 5 Stars
This book definitely read more like space opera than most sci-fi books I’ve read, but I loved every minute of it. A page-turner, with each scene packed with detail, flavor, and life.
The characters were fascinating and unique, yet absolutely real and true to life at the same time. It had the “dark fiction” flavor I love—neither “good” nor “bad”, just people doing what they need to do to survive—and the story was wonderfully gripping.
I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book to delve into the next adventure of the Butcher of Kolthas!
Here’s a Taste:
The sight of the burning starships around me was like a galaxy of new stars lighting up the emptiness of space. Their fuel and energy cells burned without oxygen long after the crews had suffocated in the vacuum of space. Hundreds of dreadnoughts, battleships, carriers, and starfighters exchanged fire in the largest battle of the war.
The Revengeance was taking point in the assault on the enemy flagship Earth’s Successor. We had managed to take out its support craft and casualty ratings were still well within acceptable parameters. Acceptable as long as I didn’t think of Black Squadron-3 as Daniel, Skull Squadron-6 as Rebecca, or Dagger-Squadron-7 as Lisa. They were men and women I’d trained with and called friends, now just particles and gas.
“Focus,” I commanded myself, then spoke into my helmet’s comm. I was sitting in the middle of my tight Engel-fighter cockpit moving at speeds which boggled the mind. While space was largely empty, the tightness of the battle formations meant I needed to fly like I’d never flown before. The slightest misstep would mean not only my death but my entire squadron’s destruction. “Dagger Leader, I need you to bring up your teammates to thin out the ranks of those Crosshairs.”
“Yes, your Excellency,” Dagger Leader, a woman named Arianna Stonebridge, said, referring to me by my noble title rather than rank.
I hated that.
This was a last-ditch assault which Prince Germanicus had planned to blunt the offensive into our territory. The Commonwealth had reclaimed thousands of worlds in their quest to reunite humanity, but they were stretched thin and the Archduchy’s resistance was fierce. If we’d had more allies, we could have repelled them, but the Archduchy of Crius had few friends. In my more reflective moments, I had to wonder how badly we’d abused our neighbors that many had cheered the arrival of the Commonwealth.
The interior of the Engel’s cockpit was a mixture of levers, pedals, and sensor equipment which projected countless images into my cybernetically enhanced mind. I saw close-ups of the sword-shaped Crius destroyers moving to cut off the escape of the massive Earth’s Successor even as enemy reinforcements arrived from jumpspace. The saucer-shaped Commonwealth ships launched several thousand more starfighters to whittle down the shields of our ships, but it made no difference to our battle plan. We had to score a decisive victory here, even if it meant decimating our ranks.
Archangel Squadron’s part in the mission was critical. We had to weaken the Earth’s Successor enough for the Revengeance to blast away at its engines and allow the rest of the fleet to destroy it.
About the Author:
C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on “The United Federation of Charles” (http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/).
He’s the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer’s Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga.
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