When Earth launches an invasion of the colonized planet of Haven, its people form a militia to fight back in East’s (Base Camp Freedom, 2012) sci-fi thriller.
It’s been 250 years since an American space exploration team discovered Haven, a planet similar to Earth. Since then, the United States has controlled most of Earth’s food supply, but it needs Haven’s rich agriculture. When Haven is less than receptive to the U.S. president’s demands to increase its agricultural production, he authorizes an invasion. Construction worker John Collins is just one of numerous Haven inhabitants drafted into the planet’s militia. He becomes a mechanic assigned to Warrant Officer Helen Ramses, who operates an armored vehicle known as a cheetah. The couple’s initially turbulent relationship soon leads to romance as the Haven Militia struggles to defeat Earth forces. Although the author sets up what could be the start of an epic series, he keeps this story compact by concentrating mainly on John’s story. Readers follow along as John undergoes training, endures the occasional injury, and falls so hard for Helen that marriage and a family could be in their future. John’s problems may pale compared to the ongoing war. However, it’s easy for readers to sympathize with him, even if his obstacle is just an attractive officer testing his loyalty to Helen. Sharing some of the narrative perspective is Lt. Bill Anders on Earth, an indisputable villain who responds to a West Point classmate bumping into him by kidnapping said cadet—an abduction which doesn’t end well. Bill’s part in the story regrettably wanes, however, as Earth’s invasion gets under way, but he more than solidifies his depravity within just a few scenes. His plan to ensnare Haven soldiers, for example, is disconcerting, to say the least. A very short chapter touching on Haven’s spy network on Earth, though, feels like a missed opportunity. That said, East reinforces his tale with plenty of goodies, such as a possible traitor in Haven’s midst and a plot to kidnap a high-ranking Earth officer.
A tight, absorbing story with the potential for a sequel or two.