My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book two in the series brings its own new concepts and ideas into the fray. For those who didn’t read my last review, I will spend a majority of my comments on the leadership style of the book’s protagonist, Capt. John “Black Jack” Geary. This book spends a lot of the leadership issues surrounding what happens in the case of a mutiny on the part of seasoned leaders, the urges to micromanage, and gross negligence. As a whole the book stands up well next to the previous one. Again, it captures the ideas of hurry up and wait and the need for prolonged gaming of scenarios between engagements. Those who are looking for battle after battle should not read this series. We see Geary, along with so many leaders, struggle with not wanting to wasting time, but also ferreting away the opportunities of rest because of guilt. We also get a few scenes of the process of genuine praise and the process of rewarding a leader with new titles and responsibilities. This one is a solid four out of five and the major battle scenes are well written but seem to be missing some details at times. I’m beginning to see how some would see this as more military than sci-fi. Its missing a lot of the heavy handed science in the explanations of new and invented tech. I’m looking forward to the next one. Spoilers after the break.
Following the mutiny lead by Capts. Falco, Numos, and Farera, Geary struggles to understand the motivation of those who are willing to seek defeat in the prescience of a notable better option. Makign a run for the Alliance border is a suicide mission. Howeer before they make the jump Geary yells out Ilion. He may have been mad as a hell that they left the fleet but if they survived he would be willing to met back-up later on. That is true leadership in the face of decent.
Mutiny and decent can be driven by a lot of factors, in this case with three characters we see three options. Capt. Falco, sees himself as the salvation of the greater cause even though his training and experiences would suggest otherwise. When forced to follow a perceived subordinate he chooses mutiny. We find out later that Falco is mentally unstable but this is always possible in the moment and heat of battle. The commanding office of troops at San Juan Hill in Cuba, 1898 was overwhelmed by a bought of malaria and dysentery that left him hallucinating for two days before dying.
Falco uses his celebrity to enlist the help of two other major leaders of the fleet in Capts. Numos and Farera. These two choose mutiny and the certainty of death because of jealousy. Their growing hatred for Capt. Geary and his notable successes begin to rub them the wrong way. Additionally their coaxing of other ships into an ill-fated pursuit showed they’re selfish need for glory over the well-being of the fleet and its crews. The final choice is made by the captain of the battleship Warrior. He simply chooses apathy and fear over logic. When Falco seeks out a ship this man relinquishes command and hides until they are rescued in the Ilion system.
Additionally in this one, Com. Cerelias really shines as a subbordinate. She volunteers to generate a program that can control the collapse of a hypernet gate and develops and commands major elements of the Sancere System Battle. When Geary awards her for valor and promotes her with a field command, it is not done lightly. It is nice to see the two types of characters juxtapose in one novel Duellos and Cerelias both command with honor and service to the greater good; whereas, Numos and Farera do so out out ill-gotten gain and selfish pride. (hide spoiler)]