Space opera set in the same universe as Christopher’s space-horror yarn The Burning Dark (2014).
Earth is losing its war with gigantic alien machines called Spiders. When the current Fleet Admiral’s plan to use psychic-powered psi-marines to defeat the Spiders ends in disaster, he’s overthrown by hard-liners. Then the deposed Admiral is assassinated, so Cmdr. Laurel Avalon of the Fleet Bureau of Investigation tasks agent Von Kodiak to find out why and by whom—particularly when the Admiral’s usurper is immediately eliminated too. But Kodiak’s prime suspect, psi-marine Sgt. Tyler Smith, was killed in action months ago, at the same time Smith’s sister Cait vanished from the Fleet Academy. Cait, hoodwinked by crazy Samantha Flood’s dissident religious sect Morning Star into agreeing to assassinate the (first) Admiral, knows Tyler isn’t dead because she shares a telepathic bond with him. But before she can carry out her assignment, somebody else kills the Admiral. Confused, she flees, only to be captured by Morning Star agents and conveyed to Jupiter, where the Jovian Mining Corporation maintains vast facilities. Here, Flood intends to plug Cait into the JMC’s AI so as to create, or awaken, her god. But the JMC’s shadowy owner has even more unpleasant plans for Cait. And where is Tyler and the thousands of other supposedly dead psi-marines? The plot just about adds up if you aren’t too fussy and ignore the irrelevant discursions and limited action. A far more serious blemish are the characters, so paper-thin they don’t even qualify as stereotypes, what with an insanely overconfident, chortling supervillain, and a heroine whose accomplishments involve being duped, drugged, beaten up and plugged into a mind-blowing computer system.
Fans of the previous certainly will want to investigate.