Another rewarding adventure with Kat Falcone and crew as they are ordered to investigate the outer reaches of space for the Commonwealth, seeking out allies and partners in the war against the Theocracy. (The Theocracy has some of the earmarks of the Masadans in the Honor Harrington novels. They are implacable enemies of Kat. She has bested them in all encounters.) This time Kat's former executive officer has been granted his own command. William McElney is to captain his own heavy cruiser, the HMS Uncanny. The cruiser has been dogged by the deaths of two former captains. It is commonly referred to as HMS Unlucky--not a glowing recommendation. Captain McElney is faced with command of a cruiser where the crew are undisciplined, both the crew and the ship are physically and mentally unready for action, and with some crew discontent verging on mutiny. All this as McElney sets forth with Kat and HMS Lightning to the Jorlem Sector, a sector rife with piracy and possible Theocracy intrusion. Kat as usual is an unpredictable counter on the battle chessboard. Not as forceful a novel as previous contributions, although the character of McElney and his place in things, his viewpoint as someone who's come up through the ranks and is not from the elite echelons of the Commonwealth, more than makes up for that. This for me is where the full interest lies of this story--how to break through the circle of power and attitudes of entitlement of the Commonwealth's inner circles that extend to the command structures of the armed forces. This continuing saga of Kat and her people places all in readiness for the next episode in Nuttall's exciting interplanetary space opera.
A NetGalley ARC