The first in a series of sci-fi military thrillers finds a crew fighting to stay alive amid mysterious circumstances.
A man awakens in a crashed spaceship on an unknown planet. Both his uniform and the ship’s computer claim he’s an admiral of the Evagardian Empire, but the three young Evagardian recruits on board with him are skeptical, as he neither looks nor acts like an admiral. With the Empire at only tentative peace with the Ganrean Commonwealth, this alleged admiral could be a spy. However, they all soon realize they have far more pressing problems: they are marooned, their ship has been sabotaged, and worst of all, the planet they’re on may harbor hostile life. All four of them must somehow learn to work as a team if there’s any hope of them surviving. Narrated from the perspective of the titular admiral, the plot quickly turns into a one-damn-thing-after-another survival story—the characters formulate a plan, the plan fails, things go from bad to worse, lather, rinse, repeat. While this should be an exciting, breakneck ride, the story too often gets bogged down in graceless worldbuilding. The details of the history between the Evagardian Empire and the Ganrean Commonwealth feel tacked-on and never give readers a reason to care about either side. However, the mystery surrounding who the admiral is (or isn’t) is the story’s biggest flaw, as the charade drags on far too long, aided by the unreliable narrator, until, finally, the secret is laid bare in a clumsy, exposition-laden moment in the book’s final chapter.
A not-very-thrilling thriller dressed up in mediocre sci-fi clothing.