This week I decided to review The Lazarus War: Origins by Jamie Sawyer.
When the story begins things are not going well for the Alliance or the Lazarus Legion, a simulant operations unit or one of a number of Alliance units that operate enhanced bodies remotely by linking the controller's mind to the artificial body. It has been six months since the disastrous Damascus operation and the Alliance's conflict with the human Asiatic Directorate continues while the alien Krell have burst out of their Quarantine Zone and overwhelmed a number of systems including the Alliance's largest base.
The book open with the Legion operating behind Directorate lines seeking prisoners taken during the Damascus incident, including one of the legion's members. The prison camp is located but the rescue soon turns into a three-sided battle between the Alliance, the Directorate, and the Krell, which ends with the Directorate nuking their own colony though the Alliance strike team manages to rescue several dozen prisoners. The Legion is then ordered to Calico Base which is the most hated Alliance post of Legion commander Lieutenant Colonel Conrad Harris because it was the last place he saw his lost love Elena Marceau and the launching point for her ship, the Endeavor, flagship of the fleet sent to negotiate an end to the First Krell War a decade before the current conflict. The fleet never returned, but soon after reaching the base Conrad is called to a briefing b the Alliance High Command which reveals that the Endeavor is intact and believed to carry a secret that could defeat the Krell once and for all. But before more details can be given an ex-Alliance simulant ops team that had defected to the Directorate assassinates the high command and a full Directorate invasion of Calico ensues.
Conrad manages to escape on board the Colossus, the only Alliance warship at the base to avoid destruction, and the hunt for the Endeavor is on with the Directorate flagship in pursuit and the Krell lying in wait. The Legion eventually finds the Endeavor and the survivors of it fleet only to discover the horrifying truth behind its mission leading to a desperate battle to prevent the return of an ancient force which would obliterate both humanity and the Krell if given the chance.
The story also includes a few flashbacks to the period when the Endeavor fleet launches and the aftermath of that launch, as well as the incident where Conrad gets his first feeble clue that the Endeavor had a hidden objective..
I give this book 7.5 out of 10. The combat scenes are excellent and the story well-written with many interesting characters, but I wish we had learned more about the various factions in play during the story. Also, having almost the entire tale told from the point of view of one character limits the reader's ability to know what is going on away from the protagonist and makes understanding the motivations and mindsets of any antagonists virtually impossible.