Space battles, politics, religion and revolution: final entry in the series following The Unincorporated Woman (2011, etc.).
The premise: On a future Earth and a terraformed Mars—the United Human Federation—people are incorporated, that is, their personal worth is determined by stocks that can be bought and sold by others. They also, secretly, practice mind control. Justin Cord, having put himself into cryogenic suspension to avoid a mortal disease, was thawed out and cured, only to discover he alone was unincorporated. Regarding the whole incorporation system as slavery, and desiring personal freedom, he founded the Outer Alliance, comprising most of the colonies from the asteroid belt outwards. Inevitably, the two sides declared war. Cord was assassinated, but now the freedom fighters continue their struggle under President Sandra O’Toole and their brilliant general, J.D. Black, who continues to win victories and avoid defeat despite the massive odds against her. However, the UHF president, Hektor Sambianco, would rather wipe out the entire Alliance than allow them to secede, and with their huge advantage in manpower and ships commanded by Adm. Samuel Trang (he’s almost as good as J.D. Black), he seems capable of doing so. Problem is, if the Alliance turns as ruthless as their opponents, the human race itself might not survive. And there are complications caused by artificial intelligence avatars who inhabit cyberspace and have an agenda of their own. The Kollin brothers add little that’s innovative to this hoary scenario. Some readers might find an annoying emphasis on religion. And they have little idea of how their science fiction-y toys actually work. Still, the politics and battles are well-handled, with notable emphasis on strongly developed female characters.
A satisfying wrap-up for series fans.