You’re not fighting for abstractions. No one does. Humans pay lip service to that, to big causes and great purposes, but any politician of any skill soon learns that what really motivates people is the small, personal things. Close friends, family, the small area they call home. They wrap those things around ideals and call them precious, but they’re precious for the smallest and closest of reasons. Soldiers may swear to fight for their flag, but they really fight because of the soldiers next to them.
The book continues the odyssey of Alliance fleet, caught behind the hostile Syndic lines. Led by legendary captain Jack Geary, the fleet tries to escape the pursuing Syndic fleet, while a more dangerous enemy shows its presence.
A military hard scifi story, the fourth volume in the series, manages to keep an unpredictable plot, decent writing and adds more depth to the fleet characters. The organic development of the fleet officers’ relations, the way the enemy reacts and the motivations behind every character make the story credible. The consequences of the fleet actions are well thought and no “magic bullet” exists. Mistakes have costs and there is no get-out-in-the-last-moment. That really helps pushing the plot and make the reader understand and appreciate the characters.
No wonder the series expanded to 8 books, followed by spin-offs. It is a highly appreciated series, by a former US military navy captain, pen name Jack Campbell, who really took the time and research to take a military story into a captivating hard scifi odyssey.