It’s not often that I find a new author that I fall in love with from the first book. In most cases while I enjoy their first novel I tend to leave the effusive words till I’ve read more and can truly comment on their qualities, however in this case I have to be quite vocal. The Empire of Bones by Terry Mixon is an excellent novel, it has everything you could need/want in any Military SciFi book and in fact has quite a bit more that you might not expect!
With the fall of the Terran Empire in a vicious no holds barred rebellion that left trillions dead across the galaxy, the last Emperor’s son fled to a distant planet – Avalon – for succor. Here he and his descendants eventually settled and created a new Terran Empire with the intent of taking back what they had lost and restoring the legacy of Empire to those planets that had been lost to the darkness. However with a significant loss of technology and resources due to the rebellion and its aftermath, the return from the darkness was a long and arduous process and the new Fleet while steeped in the traditions of the valiant old guard has neither the technology, resources or knowledge required to retake what was once lost. The battle to restore the Galactic Empire across all the stars will be long, vicious and violent.
The new Terran Empire however is not without its own problems and issues – primarily in the form of a Royal bastard & his disputes with the existing projeny of the Emperor. While Jared Mertz (the Bastard) is blameless in both his conception and attitude, the prevailing thoughts of his peers in the Fleet and his step-siblings are that he is playing of his royal connections to advance himself. While his step-sister is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – the more so when she learns that his intrusion into royal circles is due to her father’s insistence and not in fact her step-brothers – her own brother is not so lenient and determines that Jared will pay for the slur to the family name.
Jared is a commander in the reborn Terran Imperial Navy and while he is more than capable of a greater and more senior role, because of his family connections (discovered when he joined the force) he’s always been overlooked in perhaps a form of reverse favoritism to ensure that no hint of nepotism is attached to him. However when he’s sent out on a solo command to explore flip points for new technology and signs of Earth, he ends up saddled with his step-sister also. While she’s along as the deputy ambassador on the mission, this role changes quickly into something quite a bit more serious when her mentor and the actual mission ambassador is found murdered in his apartment.
Exploring through a “weak” flip point they find themselves hundreds of light years away from home and without a way back as their maps do not include any information for this sector of space. However when they come across a derelict craft from the old Empire, that is just the start of their true adventure and the real beginning to this story!
What I liked and didn’t like
Overall a really quick and easy read without too much in the way of grandiose world shattering conclusions or ideas. While there are many books that explore brand new terrain, this is not one of them – most of the ideas used here have been used before, but that’s not always a bad thing when its done right and in this case that’s absolutely the case. Jared Mertz and Princess Kelsey are both extremely likable characters and the gradual thawing out in their relationship is very easy to understand and believe.
I didn’t initially understand how a galaxy spanning empire could be taken out so quickly, nor did I grasp how there could be a total loss of information – not only in terms of technology but also maps and other resources. How could only one scion survive and all the other elements of the greatest space navy be destroyed, but as the story progressed this started to make sense and I actually really liked the way Mr. Mixon explained it all. Not only was he able to describe how this could happen he also put into words the pain, fear and agony of this galaxy spanning conflagration and really made me feel it.
While there are definite elements of Lost in Space and other Space Opera here, it flows really well and the enemy is not only ruthless and vicious they are also almost unstoppable. The overall pace of the book is super tight and there is little if any wasted space here. When it gets “real” you really feel for the characters and they are definitely not two dimensional at all. This is one that I have absolutely zero fears in recommending and I only wish I’d read it myself prior to posting about my Top Kindle Unlimited posts as this would have definitely been included on that list!