Saturday, May 5, 2018

James Review -- The Lightship Chronicles: Defiant

This week I decided to review The Lightship Chronicles: Defiant by Dave Bara. 

The story begins with Captain Peter Cochrane being present at the death of his father-in-law, Grand Duke Henrik Feilberg, along with his wife Princess Karina and her brother Benn. Before he dies, the Grand Duke reveals that the renegade Prince Arin--who led the attack which severely damaged his homeworld, killed his mother, and inflicted the injuries that eventually killed the grand duke--wasn’t Henrik’s biological son, being the result of artificial insemination done without his mother’s consent. He also asks that Cochrane swear to kill Arin.

The story then shifts to six months later. Peter’s command, the lightship Defiant, is sent to try to reestablish diplomatic relations with the human colony on Sandosa--recently rediscovered after being cut off for centuries due to the civil war that led to the collapse of the old empire. And Cochrane also soon discovers that the diplomatic staff includes his ex-fiance, who has become good friends with his wife, who is a junior officer on the Defiant.  

After discovering that Sandosa’s new government apparently doesn’t contain any descendants of the first wave of colonists, Cochrane decides to investigate one of the planet’s mines and discovers that the descendants of the original colonists are being used as slave labor. With standing orders to liberate any facility using slave labor on sight, Cochrane attacks only to be hit with weaponry far too advanced to be native to Sandosa.

After a Union occupation force arrives, Defiant is assigned to attempt to locate the Lightship Impulse II, commanded by Cochrane’s former lover Dobrina Kierkopf, after contact was lost. Before the mission the Historians of Earth, who supply and control much of the advanced technology used by the Lightships, upgrade many of Defiant’s weapons and unlock her torsion beam, a device capable of destroying anything with a magnetic core, including planets and any human ship or space station. 

After arriving at Drava, the world Impulse II was assigned to investigate, Defiant discovers that the world’s mining colony has used a gravity beam to force Impulse II to crash land before deploying attack robots manufactured in the colony in an attempt to seize the ship. Cochrane personally leads an attack force to assist the Impulse II and after both ships leave the world he uses the torsion beam to destroy Drava, ending the threat posed by the army the colony is building.

I give this book 9 out of 10. There were far fewer clichés that I disliked in this one compared to the first book and I found a lot of the details and the plot, both of the novel and the Historians, interesting. Also I enjoyed the battle sequences in this story a great deal. However, I’m annoyed that the back cover gives some false details in its synopsis of the story. Also, there’s one character from the prior book that I don’t think really benefited the story by appearing in this book, especially since this character is mentioned in the epilogue with an IMO significant change that to me came out of nowhere. But I greatly enjoyed the book and the author is starting another series that is either a sequel or prequel to this one, or perhaps set in an alternate universe of this story and I’m looking forward to it a great deal.

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