Friday, August 13, 2010

[Review] Earth Strike by Ian Douglas (Star Carrier 1)

This is a high octane military space opera set about 300 years into the future. It follows the Star Carrier CVS America and Lieutenant Gray, one of the pilots. Ian Douglas (a pseudonym for William H. Keith) is following a familiar pattern with this new Star Carrier series I recognize from his Star Marine series - Humanity is set against a galactic empire, this time ruled by the elusive and mysterious Sh’daar.

Title: Earth Strike

Series: Star Carrier 1
Author: Ian Douglas
Genre: Military Space Opera
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Eos 2010
Excerpt: page 1-65

Order from: Eos | Amazon US | UK | B&N

Copy: brought by me
Reviewer: Ove Jansson
The first book in the epic saga of humankind’s war of transcendence

There is a milestone in the evolution of every sentient race, a Tech Singularity Event, when the species achieves transcendence through its technological advances. Now the creatures known as humans are near this momentous turning point.

But an armed threat is approaching from deepest space, determined to prevent humankind from crossing over that boundary—by total annihilation if necessary.

To the Sh’daar, the driving technologies of transcendent change are anathema and must be obliterated from the universe—along with those who would employ them. As their great warships destroy everything in their path en route to the Sol system, the human Confederation government falls into dangerous disarray. There is but one hope, and it rests with a rogue Navy Admiral, commander of the kilometer-long star carrier America, as he leads his courageous fighters deep into enemy space towards humankind’s greatest conflict—and quite possibly its last.

The plot is similar to the Star Marine series. Humanity is set against a vast galaxy spanning empire this time with different kinds of alien in it. The war has been going on for some thirty years by the time this story begins. The star carrier CVS America and her task group attack and evacuate a Marine contingent under siege by the Turusch, an alien race subservient to the Sh’daar from a planet thirty-seven light years from earth. The Marines have captured two Turusch soldiers and they are the task forces real objective, since no live Turusch have ever been captured before. It is a nice believable battle and really good introduction to the characters.

After their mission they return to Earth and we get more than a glimpse into life of the twenty-fourth century. World building is good even if Ian’s usual stereotypes shine trough a bit. Politicians and Civilians are stupid and don’t know what to do.

The Turusch launch a surprise attack on earth that America and her crew has to repel.

Characterization in Earth Strike is even better than in Semper Human (The last book in the Star Marines series that came out last summer). Lt Gray has a complex and believable background in the Manhattan swamps, beside him you also gets to follow Rear Admiral Koenig point of view. The alien Turusch are also quite interesting and they have names like Tactician emphatic blossom at dawn and their psychology is also interesting with different minds the Mind Below , the Mind Above and the Mind Here in dialog with each other. The Sh’daar reminds behind the scene so far, but I guess we will learn more about them later in the series.

Earth Strike is a solid uncomplicated military science fiction I would recommend to all readers of military SF. It is also an excellent book to start the with if you haven’t read anything by Ian Douglas before. Characterization and storytelling have never been better in any of his books, the lore part is still second to the first star marine trilogy but we are just starting out in this new universe and not even the humans here know better.

The next Star Carrier book Center of Gravity (EOS | Amazon US | UK | B&N) will be published in February 2011 and might cover a strike at the aliens forward base.

Rating: 8/10

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