Deep Space: Star Carrier: Book Four
by Ian Douglas
Cover Artist: Gregory Bridges
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Harper Voyager Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062183804
Date: 30 April 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The war with the Sh'daar was over. There has been peace for two decade. Then it all changes with the destruction of the Confederation research vessels near the Black Rosette and the Slan take a Confederation base. Alexander Koenig forced the peace and now rules the United States of North America. One of the heroes of the battle in the Past against the Sh'daar, Sandy Gray, is now the Captain of the carrier America. The Confederation forces are going to Ophiuchi to retaliate against the Slan invasion.
The Sh'daar clients are often ahead of humanity's military and propulsion technology. But at the speeds they travel, tactics have a role as well. Unfortunately, the Admirals in charge of the fleet run things by the book. On top of using limited tactics, the heads of the Confederation also have another plan. While the most of the USNA fleet is off fighting the Slan, the head of the Confederation Government plans to take USNA territory and resources. Humanity is facing a superior foe without a united front.
There are several points of view for human characters as well as the aliens. The interactions and first contact protocols are some of the most interesting sections of the story. Contact breeds familiarity and a risky ploy may be the only hope for humanity.
I was not expecting another Star Carrier novel. I was skeptical that there was another story to tell. Douglas pulled it off. The introduction of a new player on the galactic scene creates the room needed for continuing adventures. I expect that future novels will continue to expand humanities reach and bring it together as they face new enemies and search for new friends.
I also find interesting the exploration of AI issues. There is potential for humanity to make itself more than it is now, and trying to figure out to what rights a self-aware program is entitled. There are also some very interesting thoughts on how to mesh a huge number of disparate races with very little common references. This is one of the great issues that man may face once it reaches the stars.
Ian Douglas is one of the masters of military science fiction. He has written several space marine series each with a slightly different take. One thing remains constant, when the going gets rough, send in the marines. In truth, this series focuses a little more on space naval action. Some non-American fans may have a little difficulty with the American focus, and I expect some will call it Ameriwank.
Fans of Steven Kent, Jack Campbell, David Sherman, and Graham Sharp Paul should find plenty here to enjoy. Military science fiction has a story pattern, but there are a lot of different ways to get to the end.