A soldier’s first duty, his reason for being, is not to fight. Fighting is the final recourse for any civilized people. His duty is not even to preserve the peace; that is a police officer’s job,” Comdr. Stephen Michaels of the NAC military said by rote, remembering the many long nights of arguments and discussions that had brought this to his mind. “A soldier’s first duty is simply to stand between his nation and any who might wish it harm.
The book follows the voyage of the first interstellar human ship, more of a warship than an explorer. The first star visited outside our solar system triggers a chain reaction driving the ship to new and exciting adventures, discovering new aliens and technologies.
The book is a heavy military scifi, looking at war and fighting from three perspectives: spaceship to spaceship; fighter plane to fighter plane, in space; and futuristic soldiers on new planets. The military theme is heavy throughout the book, the author giving significant thought to what war will look like in several centuries.
From this perspective, the book is a masterpiece, looking deeply of how conflict evolves and the role of the soldier. The world is nicely build around this, creating a believable space saga. From a military perspective, the book is a hard scifi, with an interesting plot and engaging storyline.
On the other hand, the book suffers on the level of personages, which are a bit cliches. They are not truly memorable. We have the wise, heroic and balanced captain; the wacky scientist; the professional and respectful crew; the daring pilots and the merciless aliens. The vocabulary as well could be improved, saying more with less words. The plot has some gaps, it seems unusual for an explorer to go for certain danger without leaving a note from the discoveries. While the author tries to reason the decision taken, it still seems off.
The author, Evan Currie, is a prodigious writer of military scifi and tries hard to create believable and engaging stories with his series of books, the current book (Into The Black) being the first of the series called Odyssey One, which is the name of the exploring ship.
Overall, the book was a relaxing Sunday afternoon reading, which doesn’t pose significant existential questions or substantial moral dilemmas. Nevertheless, for the fans of the genre, it is a an exciting, believable story, with an interesting plot.