This week I decided to review They Also Serve by Mike Moscoe. They Also Serve is the third book in a series which currently has 4 books set in the Jump Universe, which also serves as the setting of the author’s ongoing Kris Longknife series and his upcoming Vicky Peterwald series though the other series are both set decades later. The book opens with the exploration ship Second Chance mis-jumping due to sabotage. The crew finds themselves in an unknown system when they receive a distress call from the Santa Maria, another exploration ship lost to a mis-jump three centuries earlier. Upon investigating the Second Chance finds a colony established by the Santa Maria’s survivors. Soon after landing, however, the Second Chance crew members who travel to the world make contact with an ancient AI network set up buy the races who constructed the Jump Points humanity uses for interstellar travel. While the first AI encountered is friendly, using nano technology to alter the newcomer’s bodies to better adapt to the new world, and to alter their brains to allow communication through dreams. Unfortunately the AI, known as the Gardener, is accidentally killed by the Second Chance’s crew, leading the leaders of the AI network to see humans as a threat. And while they are deciding how to deal with humanity the colonists are divided as the group which has a monopoly on the colony’s copper supply and those who are tired of the monopoly’s prices and tactics clash while the Second Chance seeks a route home.
I give the book a 8 out of 10. There were some great scenes with the discussions between Ray Longknife, leader of the group of Second Chance crew on the planet, and various AIs. However I still feel this author does his best writing when the lasers are blazing and the armor of ships melting. Not only was there no space combat in this book there was little combat of any kind. However I feel there weren’t any places where space combat could have been added without feeling forced, and I feel mostly the same regarding ground combat.