We Lead by Christopher G. Nuttall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The war between the allied forces of humanity and the tadpoles continues as the "foxes and cows" threaten systems and edge closer to Tadpole prime and beyond that to the human worlds. On Earth the politics of war so far from home along with the economic issues cause dissent amongst the population despite spacers dying by the hundreds and ships burning in space. Investigations by the best scientists into how the alien FTL communications work is still offering no insights but a surprising nugget of information opens up the potential for creating a gravimetric tramline by design. The power required is beyond anything a starship could generate and the hardware far too big to even consider to be mobile but maybe a complex designed to jump a fleet on a one way mission deep into enemy space could bring the enemy to its knees quickly and with minimal casualties.
HMS Vanguard with a huge multinational fleet including vessels from Russia and India head out on a ultra secret mission, their destination the complex which will fling them to within a couple of star systems of the alien homeworlds. The aliens have shown a pack like mentality which enforces an Alpha style command structure, if the fleet can capture the homeworld and break their fighting spirit it is believed the war will be over.
We Lead may be accused of coming up with a deus ex machina plot element to allow the story to be concluded but when you have opposing forces that are not that unequal in strength there is normally some element that tips the balance. The creation of the FTL jump even in this basic form allows the war to take a major step but thankfully the novel does not lose its core heart and soul, the individuals on board the warships and on the battlegrounds continue to be the most important aspects of the narrative.
This final novel is the trilogy (part of the current nine book series) continues to tell the stories of a handful of characters which we met in the first novel (Vanguard) as well as bringing to the front long established characters. People will die, some heroically and others by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, war is dirty and unfair and unpredictable. Christopher has once again delivered an entertaining finale to this trilogy of novels and a satisfying standalone part of the ongoing Ark Royal series.
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