Friday, April 8, 2016

James Review -- Alliance

This week I decided to review Alliance, a Linesman novel by S. K. Dunstall. First, though: A little setting data. Lines are the key to a alien technology which humanity has used for a very long time with all of the human-made line ships being cloned from the original lineship humanity discovered. Linesmen are those who can sense and communicate with the lines, and each line has a distinct purpose--though not all of these purposes are known to humanity--with Linesmen being rated by how many lines they can communicate with.
The story opens with Captain Kari Wang on board her namesake vessel awaiting other Gate Union ships before starting a weapons test. But then the Kari Wang’s homeworld of Nova Tahiti has seceded from the Gate Union. Almost three days later, while Captain Wang is taking a spacewalk on the hull of her living ship, the vessel is ambushed by four Gate Union vessels armed with a new weapon of their own which destroys the Kari Wang and maims her captain who is the only survivor of the attack.
And a number of similar attacks leads to the beginning of a war between the Gate Union and the New Alliance of Worlds. Meanwhile, Ean Lambert, one of the few linesmen loyal to the New Alliance, and the discoverer of two new lines aboard an alien fleet found by the New Alliance, is preparing to begin to train potential linesmen, as a desperate hunt for candidates is going on across the alliance. But the Gate Union has sent a top agent to kidnap Ean, while the Linesmen cartel that used to hold his contract is trying to annul its transfer to Michelle, Crown Princess of the Alliance world of Lancia, despite Ean being happy in his new post.
And to make matters worse, an unknown enemy with high connections to Gate Union codes soon begins launching attacks on Ean while the Gate Union begins launching ships set to jump into the alien fleet ignoring the fact that a ship jumping into another triggers a blast capable of destroying worlds.
Captain Wang is eventually appointed captain of the Eleven, the fleet flagship, but her guilt at surviving while her ship and crew died has left her on the verge of suicide. Also, Ean’s mysterious enemies are closing in, making a quest to discover what force is truly behind the war and where their new weapons come from much more dangerous.
I give the book 8 out of 10. It is well-written but there are some areas that I feel should have been clarified better, and I wish there were more and longer action sequences, especially on the space front. Still, I’m curious about just what the discoveries at the end of the book will lead to and hope a third book comes out soon.

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