Paradise by Craig Alanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The third novel in the Expeditionary Force series by Craig Alanson is called "Paradise" and if you've read the series so far then you know that is the world the human military force assigned to the Kristang were deployed too. Cut off from the Earth, unarmed and now reliant on the goodwill of the Ruhar the men and women of Earth are having to learn how to farm and fend for themselves, it's not going well and it is going to get a lot worse.
Meanwhile in orbit around Earth the Flying Dutchman's merry band of pirates are being debriefed and despite saving the planet Joe Bishop is having a hard time, decisions and actions made are being questioned by people who were not out in the void or had the weight of the world and her people on their shoulders. Eventually a new mission is given the green light with some conditions and the Dutchman returns to a contested galaxy to gain intel on the threat to Earth and if possible the condition of the expeditionary force.
As you would expect fun and hijinks abound as Skippy the eons old Elder AI has new monkeys to play around with along with a few of the old crew who may or may not have made it on to his "list". The search continues for a com node for Skippy and an explanation of the events on the planet Newark but they also learn that the Ruhar are looking to trade Paradise for other territory and that would result in every human on the world being executed for treason by the Kristang for not fighting to the death. Joe and his crew have to devise a way to help his comrades without anyone anywhere knowing the Dutchman exists while tensions among the expeditionary force rise as food becomes scarce as Kristang raids on the planet target human settlements.
Skippy the magnificent and Joe "Barney" Bishop along with the merry band of pirates are the only hope thousands of courageous military personnel from nations of the Earth have, oh dear.
Paradise was a very entertaining addition to the series although it took me a little while to really enjoy the Paradise narrative. I'm now invested in both the Dutchman and Paradise which gives the series two fronts to play with, no doubt they will overlap again although it may be tricky to make that storyline work a second time. The upside is that for now Craig as a whole galaxy to play around with and some strings to pull to bring other/new storylines into prominence, it's only going to get better.
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