First contact with a benevolent alien race leads to an all-out war in this sci-fi novel.
Capt. Jake Giard of the U.S. Air Force accompanies Lt. Victor Croft on his F-22 training maneuvers. Each man flies a fighter jet above Nevada’s nighttime desert, near Nellis Air Force Base, prior to upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Then, a dramatically lit UFO rockets past them without appearing on radar, at what they believe to be “Mach four or better.” When the jets lose electricity, their flight paths begin to eerily intersect. Jake eventually regains power and lands safely. Victor does not and crashes. Upon exiting his F-22, Jake is arrested, interrogated, and told to act as if the horrible night never occurred. His girlfriend, Capt. Sandra Fitzpatrick, wants to report the coverup to the Judge Advocate General. Instead, Jake is summoned to Washington, D.C., by his old flight school friend Richard Allison, who remains cryptic, saying, “You’ve stumbled into something bigger than you can imagine.” Deep beneath the Pentagon, Jake is introduced to the reality that humans are not alone in the Milky Way galaxy. Not only that, but there is a transgalactic government ready to aid humanity throughout the next phase of its history. Cole (Retribution: Sector 64, 2016, etc.) tackles the first-contact scenario with bombastic flair, feeding sci-fi action fans one excellent tableau after another. His vibrant prose, whether detailing fighter jet capabilities or the craggy interiors of an alien craft, delivers the high-resolution imagery of a Hollywood blockbuster. The faster-than-light speed, for example, “squeezed the incoming photons streaming from the stars abeam and forward of the fleet into a fish-eyed cluster of light.” Best of all is Cole’s thought-provoking rationale behind humanity's lengthy jump to a star-faring species: readers learn that “if energy trading weren’t such an integral part of [the global economy], we would’ve had a shorter transition.” The second half of the narrative offers an absolute widescreen blowout of conquering ships and slavering, vengeance-obsessed villains, given weight by an endearing set of heroes.
A technologically riveting dream for sci-fi action fans.