Hickam advances the plot of his war-on-the-moon Western Crater (2012), but not very far in this patchy sequel.
Weary of the war with the Unified Countries of the World that has been dragging on now for three years, Crater Trueblood captures Crescent—a short, mouthy and thoroughly deadly genetically altered superwarrior from Earth. He is then faced with the tall task of keeping her from killing, or being killed by, the vengeful citizens of Moontown. Meanwhile, his estranged sweetheart, Maria, granddaughter of Moontown’s kingpin Col. John High Eagle Medaris, barely blasts her way out of a UCW kidnap attempt. Switching among multiple points of view and genres, the author plunges Crater into a murder investigation after Crescent is framed and then abandons that for a flight through the “big suck” to a new life in Armstrong City. Following that, he reunites his protagonist with Maria in time to help her escape another explosive attack and finally has him guide a wagon train (complete with motorized “chuckwagon”) of Mennonite-like settlers on a trek to Endless Dust, an abandoned lunar outpost rumored (accurately) to be haunted.
A middle volume of entertaining but, at best, loosely knit set pieces; only for confirmed fans of the first. (Science fiction/fantasy. 11-14)